Starting a new fitness regime or continuing an existing one? Stephen McLean advises how to avoid the five common mistakes to see double the results in half the time

TIME and time again I see people committing the same mistakes in the gym every January and I’ve been in the fitness industry for nearly 15 years.

New gym goers and experienced gym goers all commit the same fitness crimes in hope of shedding the Christmas and New Year weight gain without really thinking about what they’re doing.

Not only do these mistakes lead to boredom but they ultimately lead to fitness failure due to the lack of impact these common mistakes produce.

The good news is by avoiding these five errors you can get a head start with your weight loss journey or reboot a stagnating one.

1.Too much cardio can be a bad thing

CARDIO is vital to aiding weight loss but it’s not the only method you should use. If you spend more than 50 per cent of your workouts doing cardio you’re wasting valuable time.

To really improve your shape, weight training is the way forward, even if you’re female. Weight training will help build lean muscle to shape your body where as cardio alone will not.

Also, weight training first will help deplete your glycogen stores, paving the way for a more fat burning cardio session post weights. Aim for 15-20 minutes after a 30-40 minute intense weight session.

2.Hiding at the back in exercise classes

INSTRUCTORS have long known that the people in the back of the class go there to hide for fear of being spoken to by the person leading it.

By hiding you’re missing out on valuable technique correction, especially if the class involves weight training.

Group exercise is undoubtedly fun and that’s why most of our coaching at Paragon is done in small groups.

Our small groups have seen a huge rise in results compared to our one to one coaching and we put it down to the social aspect – just don’t hide away.

3.Don’t rely on fixed machines

FIXED machines are there to aid with rehabilitation work or for those who are struggling with mobility issues.

The problem with fixed resistance machines is they generally only move one body part and don’t require any core stabilisation.

By swapping the machines for dumbbells or barbell work you can instantly use more muscle per exercise providing a bigger calorie burn.

To go one step further, perform the dumbbell or barbell work in a series of exercises with minimal rest to create a circuit style workout. These have been proven by science to give a bigger fat burning response than performing one exercise at a time.

4.Don’t forget about what’s behind you

MOST people, especially men, tend to train what they can see in the mirrors.

This can lead to muscle imbalances and eventually injuries. Posterior Chain training, or back, bums and leg training, can be the key to improving your strength levels.

After all, strength is the underlying principle to any successful training regime. The stronger you are, the faster you can run, bike and row.

The stronger you are the more benefits you’ll find in every day life from your training. So don’t be like one of those guys who only train their chest, biceps and abdominals. Train smart.

5.Train with your goals in mind

IT’S vital to have an end goal in sight. This year I’ll have all my coaching clients at Paragon write down three goals that they want to achieve and then we go through the action steps to make them reality.

By writing down your goals and the action steps science tells us you’re more likely to see them achieved. I do it for my fitness, my business and believe it or not to learn French so I can speak to my nieces and nephews.

I’m currently working on all three because they’re in my mind after writing them down.

  • Stephen McLean is managing director of Paragon performance centre, a specialist strength and conditioning facility in Darlington