Health & Fitness

Fitness mistakes making it hard to get in shape

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Jotham Kusienya of Muscle Health demonstrates the wrong way of doing a barbell chest press. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

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Summary

  • Many people fail to lose weight or even gain muscle while exercising.
  • Some end up quitting the gym after a certain period, frustrated for having not achieved what they had set out to or having picked up injuries along the way.
  • Fitness trainer Jotham Kusienya of Muscle Health and Fitness Centre in Nairobi, says this is due to the mistakes the people make while exercising that lead to frustrations as one will not attain their fitness goals.

Many people fail to lose weight or even gain muscle while exercising.

Some end up quitting the gym after a certain period, frustrated for having not achieved what they had set out to or having picked up injuries along the way.

But have you ever wondered why you did not achieve your goal or gotten injuries that drove you out of your training?

Fitness trainer Jotham Kusienya of Muscle Health and Fitness Centre in Nairobi, says this is due to the mistakes the people make while exercising that lead to frustrations as one will not attain their fitness goals.

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Jotham Kusienya of Muscle Health demonstrates the right way of doing a bicep curl. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

Women are the main casualties, he points out, because they hurriedly want to lose weight, forgetting that it is a gradual process that needs perseverance and strict adherence to different exercises. When they are not seeing changes fast, they stop taking instructions from trainers and they lose morale.

“For men, they end with injuries as they feed their ego by lifting heavy weights while trying to show off,” says Jotham.

If you have stagnated in your fitness journey, these are the workout mistakes you are making.

Poor exercise selection

Doing random exercises will not shape your body. Opt for supervised exercise programmes, says Jotham. Challenge your body by doing different exercises and varying the weight that you lift, he adds.

Be consistent and follow the trainer’s instructions to achieve the desired results.

“Have a training plan showing what exercise you will do each day to avoid random jumps and skips which will not achieve anything. If you are told to do six reps of four sets, do so. But also gauge your body to see what kind of exercises seem to be working and those that don’t work.”

Warm-ups

At every start of any exercise, do warm-ups for the body muscles to adjust. This helps one avoid minor injuries while doing strenuous exercises such as lifting weights.

“This is the first mistake most people do while training. Start with cardiovascular exercises such as running on a treadmill to warm up your body to make your muscles ready for heavy exercises,” says Jotham.

Weights

Start with light weights as you progress to heavier ones especially when your fitness level is still low. This will help you maintain the right posture, which if not sustained can lead to injuries.

Do not lift dumbbells weighing the same kilos year in year out. The body will get used to it leading to no change is also another mistake.

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Jotham Kusienya of Muscle Health demonstrates the right way of doing a barbell chest press. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

Treadmill

For a beginner, set the treadmill at a low speed as you progress by adding speed and inclination. Let the trainer set the speed for you.

“Every button on the treadmill has its function and pressing a wrong one can lead to injuries or even death,” he says.

Posture

Lifting weights, especially heavy ones, in a wrong posture leads to lower back, spinal, and shoulder injuries that keep people away from the gym.

To avoid the injuries, start by lifting light weights until you know how to maintain the right posture.

Squats

While squatting, make sure your back is straight and the knees and toes are in a straight line.

If not, you are susceptible to injuries.

“Start with doing squats with light weights as you build your fitness levels and right posture before progressing to using heavy weights,” Jotham says.

Deadlift

Always arc your back and do not hump it like a camel’s back. Not getting the right posture will lead to spinal or lower back injuries.

Kettlebell squats

Make sure the legs are apart, hold the kettlebell with both hands, with the hands kept straight while moving. The knees and the toes should be in a straight line.

Roller

Jotham advises against roller exercises as they can cause long term injuries by straining the lower back muscles.

But if you have to use a roller, the hand should be straight as well as the spinal cord. Also, while using the roller, listen to your body in order not to overstretch your muscles.

“Unless you are fit enough to do it, do not do it for more than three times a week. The exercise stretches the lower back muscles and therefore can cause permanent injuries.”

Biceps curl

Stop swinging or bending your back while lifting the weights but instead stand straight and lift the weight towards your chest by letting only your biceps move. Failure to which you will cause injuries to your lower back.

Breathing

As simple as it may sound, a wrong breathing pattern can also interfere with one’s fitness goals.

Jotham points out that an individual should inhale through the nose but exhale through the mouth and not vice versa. This will help open up your chest capacity.

“When you inhale through the nose, the air goes up to the diaphragm as opposed to the mouth where it does not reach that far,”he says.