With summer in full swing, loads of us are attempting to amp up our fitness game (hello, bikini season). But whilst you might think you’re smashing it at the gym, eating all the right things and squatting your way to a Jessica Alba booty, you could be getting it very wrong.
Which is why we caught up with Callum Melly, one of the UK’s leading Personal Trainers and Founder of BodyIn8, to get the lowdown on the most common gym mistakes people are making. Over to your new fitness guru…
Read: Best Abs Exercises…
1. You can’t out-train a bad diet. Many people think they can ‘eat what they like’ once they’ve been to the gym, but it has to be a balance of a healthy diet to support your workout.
2. Make sure you’re burning the right calories. People get really hot and sweaty on the treadmill and watch the calories rack up, but they’re more likely to be burning carbohydrates (stored glycogen) or proteins (muscle) rather than stored body fats. So, instead, try 2 HIIT sessions and 3 LISS session per week (either first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything or after a weight/resistance workout.)
3. Mix it up. Instead of just doing cario, make sure you include compound exercises in your workouts, too – these are exercises that use multiple muscles and therefore can encourage more lean muscle growth and will burn more calories, promoting fat loss eg. Squats, deadlifts, barbell military press, barbell bench press. They’ll help you to maximise your time in the gym.
4. Eat fruit before your workout. Before you hit the gym, fuel your workouts with fruit – fructose, which is naturally occurring sugars from fruit, are practically an immediate source of natural energy and become readily available in the bloodstream within 15 minutes. After you work out, eat proteins and starchy carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores (that you lose during your workout). A combination of lean quality protein and starchy carbohydrates are essential for lean muscle recovery, growth and repair.
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5. Don’t forget those abs. If you want to shape and tone your stomach, a variety of core exercises will help to tone and shape your upper and lower abs and obliques. My top four are: Plank, medicine ball twists.TRX knee tucks and cable woodman chops.
6. Training once a week isn’t enough. Your body needs regular external stimulation to encourage change. It is as simple as: use it, or lose it. If you really want to see results, you really need to be training 3-5 times a week in order to encourage change. Try a resistance and weight based workout for 45-60 minutes, followed by either a HIIT sprint workout for 20 minutes, twice a week, or 30 minutes of LISS 3 x per week.
7. Body fat is lost in the kitchen. You are what you eat, and when it comes to reducing body fat, it’s essential that you create a healthy calorie deficit of up to 600 calories less per day that will equate to over 1-2lbs of fat loss in a week. Combine this with a balanced resistance/weights workout and a fat burn specific cardio programme like www.bodyin8.com and you will promote a toned, shaped and leaner looking body.
8. Peachy bums aren’t just born from squats. Try a variety of gluteus based exercises (for 8-12 reps) to promote lean muscle growth and get you that shaped, toned and peachy bum. Barbell squats, gluteus kickbacks, kettlebell swings and barbell hip thrusts and all brilliant bum moves.
9. You can’t change a lifetime of bad habits overnight. It takes work and perseverance to reverse a lifetime of bad habits, particularly to begin with, and results are never instant. But, with a structured and balanced exercise regime combined with a healthy and nutritious diet, you can certainly get into incredible shape and transform your lifestyle in as little as eight weeks (the Body in 8 programme is designed to do just this).
10. Eating pasta is a-okay. There are so many ‘no carb’ diets around, and carbohydrates have always been given a really bad rep, but carbs, starchy carbs in particular, are actually essential for supporting muscle recovery, growth and repair. They are needed to support your muscles and are ideal along with protein after your workout.
For more of Callum’s top tips, check out his website!