The at-home fitness industry has had an explosive year. Dumbells are sold out at major retailers, fitness streaming apps are reporting record memberships, and luxe gyms are sailing on troubled waters. All signs indicate that yoga mats on living room floors could be a mainstay for a new wave of fitness enthusiasts finding their groove during the pandemic.
Taking the matter of personal fitness into your own hands is certainly more cost effective—and these days, poses a lower risk of COVID-19 exposure than venturing into your gym. But if you’ve recently had your first foray into home fitness, there’s also a bit of a learning curve. Certain mistakes can inhibit or prolong results, cause muscle strain, or even lead to injury. So ahead, two group fitness instructors from Obé Fitness—Walter Kemp and Alex Scolari—share the most common at-home fitness mistakes they see among trainees.
Failure to Devise a Consistent (and Varied) Workout Schedule
Both trainers agree that consistency is key. In order to optimize results, you should devise a workout schedule that features a variety of workout types and targeted muscle groups—then stick to it. “Don’t let your body get too comfortable; challenge yourself and mix things up,” says Scolari. “Varying workouts will help you target your full body.” If you’re on a five workouts per week schedule, Kemp recommends scheduling in three full body classes, plus two classes that target specific muscle groups. For example, you might complete a 30 minute HIIT class three days a week, then a targeted arms class one day and a targeted abs class another day.
Skipping Rest Days
Recovery is an often overlooked part of a balanced fitness routine. “Recovery is a key aspect of training. I’d say it’s the key aspect of training,” says Kemp. “You aren’t gaining muscle or losing fat in the gym or after all your grueling at home workouts. It [happens during] your recovery process. Proper sleep and adequate protein, water, mineral, and vitamin intake are vital for not only changing one’s physique but keeping your body strong and resilient.” Scolari echoes this sentiment, but notes that a rest day doesn’t mean spending the day on the couch. Scolari works out five days a week, then uses the remaining two days to take a restorative yoga class or long walk as her recovery days.
While it can be tempting to indulge after a tough workout, Kemp underscores the importance of fueling your body properly in conjunction with your fitness routine. “Movement and effort is great, but follow that up with general lethargy and a poor diet after every workout and you have a recipe for not achieving your goals,” he says.
Skipping a Warm-Up to Save Time
According to Kemp, skipping a warm-up is one of the most common home fitness mistakes that leads to injury. “You have to get the blood flowing to the areas of your body that are about to endure the stress you’re going to give to your body during movement,” he says. “ A poor warm-up is akin to not revving up your engine before you drive. Get it running nice and warm before you take off.”
Going For Quantity Over Quality
In general, fewer high-quality workouts that you can complete from start to finish with proper form tend to do more for your body than more lower-quality workouts. Rushing through workouts in order to fit more in per week can result in poor form, which consequently leads to injury. “I don’t think there is a certain type of workout where people get the most injured; I think injuries mostly come from over-doing workouts and not focusing enough on form,” says Scolari. “Quality over quantity—instead of doing the most burpees you can, focus on the form first, and don’t worry about tempo or the amount of reps.”