4 Totally avoidable gym mistakes

Trainers tell us that even the most experienced gym-goers quit because of a mistake that sent them to the doctor′s office

Once you′re hooked to gymming, the adrenaline rush will probably keep you coming back. But it may push you to make some completely avoidable mistakes. Here, trainers weigh in on how to avoid injury and achieve your target.

Mistake #1

Sticking just to the gym for

overall goals

"Overall wellness should be the entire objective of going to the gym," says Mustafa Ahmed, fitness trainer and co-founder of AKRO in Mumbai. He adds, "Don′t be driven by the aesthetics of the gym. Go into the outdoors ? that′s what our body was created to do. We need to make our body work as a machine and not on a machine. Ask yourself how you feel and not how you look. I know people who have great abs but can′t perform a simple task of strength. They are like a house of cards; they have zero stamina."

Mistake #2

Not asking the right questions

Ahmed urges gym-goers, especially first-timers, to ask a lot of questions about the exercises the trainer is pushing them to do and their impact on the body. Additionally, he says, "People need to start talking about the nutritional requirement of the body and the right choice of food for them. But, before you begin your training, check the certification and experience of the trainer you′ll be trusting your body with."

Mistake #3

Treating your body as parts

"We join the gym to get fit and that′s a mistake. Have you ever thought about whether you are fit enough to join a gym itself? Is your body ready to start with even a beginner′s regimen?" asks Neha Kumar, a physiotherapist at Prohealth Asia, in Delhi. She suggests, "Start with walking, cycling, breathing exercises. These are small movements that will make you more aware of your body and help you identify problem areas." It is easier to make an assessment this way without having to visit the doctor later on. Even the simplest of exercises, such as walking on the treadmill, if done incorrectly, can lead to tibial stress syndrome, shoulder injuries, back spasms, muscle pulls, ankle sprains and a twisted back and knee. She adds, "Set a short-term goal and a long-term goal for yourself. Ask yourself whether you want to lose weight, become a runner or a swimmer?" Don′t tell yourself you want a flat stomach ? the body doesn′t work like that.

Mistake #4

Going by appearances

"Emulating the best-looking person in the gym and indulging in unsupervised gymming are the most common gymming mistakes that I see," says Dr Raju Easwaran, a joint replacement surgeon in Delhi. "A lot of people only do crunches to get a desirable upper body or only work out their legs. They forget about the back, which eventually leads to back pain. A faulty body posture can lead to joint issues in the long run." If you work on a good form, your chances of injuries are reduced considerably. Dr Easwaran advises, "Rome wasn′t built in a day, so one needs to remember that it will take time to get where you want to get."

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