March 04, 2016

Winter is quickly turning into spring, and we all know what's after that. If you've been thinking about getting healthy but aren't sure how to do so, don't fret. We have you covered.

Before you begin working out, talk to a nutritionist and your doctor. You may even consult a personal trainer. These professionals can help you develop a great dietary plan and workout regimen. Then, once you've done so, avoid these six workout mistakes.

1. Drinking coffee instead of tea

Do you normally drink coffee before you workout? Stop! While some studies have indicated that coffee may not be unhealthy prior to working out, there is strong evidence that suggests otherwise. A 2006 study by the American College of Cardiology indicated that just two cups of coffee actually restricts blood flow to the heart while exercising. The problem with this is that blood must flow freely to the heart for the body to obtain its required amount of oxygen and nutrients.

Instead, drink tea to lose weightand stay in shape. Not only will tea keep your blood flowing normally during workouts, but it has more nutritional benefits than coffee. For example, green tea may protect against stroke, while black tea may prevent osteoporosis.

2. Not getting enough sleep

The amount of sleep people need depends on their age. In general, experts say adults need to sleep between seven and nine hours each night. The younger a person is, the more they need to sleep. Not sleeping long enough each night leaves us at risk for serious medical conditions, including obesity and diabetes. It can also cause us to feel fatigued, leaving us less alert during their workout and, consequently, more at risk to being injured.

"The amount of sleep
people need depends on their age."
Here are some more ways to help you sleep better:

  1. Don't eat food or drink caffeine before you go to bed. Nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off, while alcohol can disrupt your sleep later in the night.
  2. Create a consistent bedtime schedule and stick to it. A schedule might look like this: showering an hour before you go to bed and reading a book. Make sure to also shut off the lights at the same time every night.
  3. Avoid naps during the day. While the National Sleep Foundation states that a nap of "20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance," they can also cause us to stay up later at night. This, in turn, disrupts our sleep cycle.

3. Taking painkillers

First and foremost, painkillers are extremely dangerous and should only be used when prescribed by, and under the instruction of, a doctor. Unfortunately, many athletes and exercise enthusiasts turn to these drugs to overcome pain and prolong their workouts.

Painkillers cause us to forget we're hurt and, thus, work out longer or harder than we normally would and should. Pain is our body's way of telling us that we're injured and need to take a break to recover. According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, we can contribute three-fourths of the problem with prescription drug abuse with misusing painkillers.

4. Working out too much

Some people love to work out. That's a given. But many of these workout experts not only workout correctly, they know when to take breaks. They understand when to let their bodies heal and why it's important to do so. Unfortunately, many rookie enthusiasts don't know how often they need to rest their bodies, so they just keep exercising.

When a person works out, they create little tears in their muscle fibers. When fibers repair themselves and build up, a person begins to see positive changes in his or her body and increased strength. When these fibers aren't allowed to repair, people don't see significant change.

Working out too much can also cause newbies to feel guilty about resting. They're so used to working out all the time that one day of rest causes them to think they're going to gain a significant amount of weight. This, of course, is not true. The end result often leaves them depressed and more likely to stop working out.

5. Only doing one kind of workout

Previously we mentioned that not changing your workout routine could hinder your ability to meet your health goals. Now, let's look at why it's important to change up your routine.

Doing cardio is great. It increases your heart rate, gets your blood flowing, burns calories, improves heart health and increases metabolism. And that's only the beginning. However, don't perform cardio at the expense of strength training. The latter can boost productivity and strengthen bones, which will actually go a long way to improving your cardio regimen.

6. Giving into dessert

You worked so hard today to burn off all of those calories. Don't put them all back by feasting on dessert. Having a "cheat day" every once in a while is perfectly fine, but instead of that day consisting of sweets, opt for healthier desserts.

If you're a sweet lover and we lost you at this entry, don't go away yet. Did you know you could actually bake peanut butter chocolate bars that contain natural peanut butter and Greek yogurt? Or, have a Lemony Yogurt Pound Cake, which is rich in olive oil and Greek yogurt. These ingredients replace butter. See, you can have dessert after all!

These are only some of the mistakes you need to avoid making. If you're still not completely comfortable working out on your own, there are a few things you can do. First, ask a friend to work out with you, preferably someone who has experience working out. He or she can teach you how to use the workout machines, how to eat and drink healthy and how to live a generally healthy lifestyle. Second, if you have some extra cash laying around and want to invest in a personal trainer, do so! These trainers will offer you a much more strict plan to stick to than your friend certainly could. They'll not only be able to teach you how to use the machines and eat and drink healthy, but also provide you with an array of extracurricular resources to further your workout. These could be in the form of videos, magazines or books.

Remember, staying healthy while working out is just as important as getting your body fit and lean.