Gemma McCaw's 5 rookie mistakes to avoid when working out

It's all about hard work, consistency and patience, because results take time.

By Gemma McCaw
As a performance coach, I speak to many women about their health and fitness goals. For the most part, we want to look good, feel good, have more energy, get fitter, stronger and more confident, and live longer.
While quick fixes would be handy, most often they don't work. It's all about hard work, consistency and patience, as results take time. The truth is, getting in shape is a marathon, not a sprint. Good nutrition, sleep and managing stress all play a part as well.
But if you're struggling to get results, there are some common mistakes you might be making without realising when it comes to your fitness.

Change up your routine

Try not to fall into the trap of doing the same workout every time. As your fitness increases and the workout becomes easier, your body will expend less energy and reach a plateau. So introduce some changes to your routine – add a cardio element to your strength training or go for a jog one day and a gym class the next.
Keep your body on its toes!

Get enough rest

If you really want to improve your fitness, you must have rest days. Our bodies need time to recover and regenerate. Overworking your muscles without giving them the chance to repair will work against your fitness goals and leave you at risk of real injury. If you're feeling sore or worn out, listen to your body and take a few days off exercise.

Be consistent with the amount of exercise you do

It's easy to fall into the all-or-nothing trap. But cramming in a big session in the weekend to make up for the week doesn't work and it can lead to injury. It's not what you do occasionally, it's what you do every day that counts. Aim to exercise four days a week, with anything else being a bonus. Realistic goal-setting leads to success in the long run.

Stay hydrated!

You lose fluid and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) by sweating when you exercise, so drinking plenty of water is essential to avoid dehydration. Fluids also help cushion your joints, and stabilise blood pressure and heart rate. Aim for six to eight glasses of water a day, or more if you're exercising.

Keep eating

Don't fall into the trap of skipping meals in a bid to lose weight. While going without a post-workout meal or snack may save you calories in the short term, you risk overeating once hunger kicks in. Listen to your body and fuel it with healthy, nutritious choices. Make sure your day includes nuts, grains, proteins and plenty of veges, and avoid so-called energy bars and snacks, which are often loaded with sugar and other nasties.

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