10 Workout Mistakes to Avoid
Jun 15, 2015
1. Icing Won’t Eliminate DOMS
Ice is often recommended for treating acute injuries, but this does not apply to DOMS. Ice works for injuries because it narrows your blood vessels, which helps prevent blood from accumulating at the site of injury, which will add to inflammation and swelling.
However, this will also delay healing and muscle repair, which means the DOMS may ultimately feel worse and last longer. To be
2. Popping Pain Pills Like Candy
Popping painkillers like ibuprofen work by blocking inflammation. However, ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) delay healing of acute ligament, muscle, and tendon injuries.
Many athletes take NSAIDs routinely before workouts or events because they believe they will lessen pain. But research shows no difference in pain levels during or after physical activity among those who had taking ibuprofen and those who had not. And it’s not simply a matter of not helping either. NSAIDs have the potential to cause harm, including:
• Adverse gastrointestinal and cardiovascular effects
• Inhibiting the production of collagen, which is essential for healing tissue and bone injuries
• Reduced tissue adaptation to exercise, which could increase your risk of injury
3. Not Foam Rolling
Foam rollers are often used by therapists and athletes to mimic myofascial release treatments, which are typically used to help reduce muscle immobility and pain.
Its benefits are often compared to getting a massage, because as you roll on it, fibrous tissue is broken down and circulation is boosted, helping to relieve tension and pain. Using a foam roller has been shown to help reduce muscle soreness when used for 20 minutes following a strength-training workout.
While foam rolling can be done both before and after a workout, pre-workout sessions should focus on problem areas whereas post-workout sessions can focus on all of the muscle groups worked that day.
You can actually use a foam roller daily (even if it's for just a few minutes) to help prevent trouble spots in your muscles from occurring. The actual foam rolling should feel mildly uncomfortable but not painful. If you use too much pressure, you can cause your muscles to tense up instead of relax.
4. Compression Aids Healing
Compression helps healing by minimizing swelling and fluid build-up that can delay healing. Pneumatic compression are inflatable sleeves that can be worn on your arms or legs. They apply pulsating pressure that may help clear blood lactate as well as reduce swelling, pain, stiffness, and DOMS.
5. Warm-Up Mistakes
It’s important to warm-up before an intense workout, and it’s best to do so gradually. Those who warmed up by walking on an inclined treadmill for 10 minutes prior to a workout had less delayed-onset muscle soreness. However, cooling down afterward did not seem to have an effect.
Your warm-up should include low-level cardiovascular activity, such as power walking, jumping jacks, jump rope, martial art kicks, squat thrusts, or any full-body calisthenic type exercise.
Static stretching, the kind where you hold each stretch for 60 seconds or more, is not recommended. Prolonged static stretching actually decreases the blood flow within your tissue creating localized ischemia (a restriction in blood supply) and lactic acid buildup. This can potentially cause irritation or injury of local muscular, tendinous, lymphatic, as well as neural tissues.
Dynamic stretching, however, is an active form (such as what occurs when you perform lunges, squats, or arm circles), and this type of stretching can be integrated into your warm-up as it helps improve your power, speed, agility, endurance, flexibility, and strength.
6. Not Drinking Enough Water
Dehydration can contribute to post-workout fatigue, so it’s important to drink plenty of water when you’re exercising.
The reality is you don’t need to be told when and how much to drink. We have a 300 million year developed system that tells you with exquisite accuracy how much you need to drink and when you need to drink. It’s called thirst. If you rely on thirst you won’t ever become dehydrated, and you won’t also ever become overhydrated.”
Overhydrating will actually worsen athletic performance, not improve it. As you begin to consume too much water, your cells will start to swell, leading to such symptoms as gastrointestinal upset, dizziness, soreness, and others. In severe cases, the sodium levels in your blood may drop to dangerously low levels, causing hyponatremia -- a condition in which your cells swell with too much water.
So while you will need more water if you’re exercising intensely, your body will tell you when it's time to replenish your water supply, because once your body has lost between one to two percent of its total water, your thirst mechanism lets you know that it's time to drink some water!
The color of your urine will also help you determine whether or not you might need to drink more. Your urine should be a very light-colored yellow. If it is a deep, dark yellow then you are likely not drinking enough water. If your urine is scant or if you haven't urinated in many hours, that too is an indication that you're not drinking enough. (Based on the results from a few different studies, a healthy person urinates on average about seven or eight times a day.)
7. Protein to Fuel Your Muscles
Your post-workout meal can support or inhibit the health benefits of exercise. Previous research has shown that eating fewer carbohydrates after exercise more effectively enhances your insulin sensitivity, compared to calorie restriction, for instance. Consuming protein immediately prior to sleep, after strength training late at night, effectively stimulates muscle protein synthesis and improves whole-body protein balance during overnight recovery. Generally speaking, after exercise your body is nitrogen-poor and your muscles have been broken down.
Providing your body with the correct nutrients after your workout is therefore crucial to stop the catabolic process in your muscle and shift the recycling process toward repair and growth. If you fail to feed your muscle at the right time after exercise, the catabolic process will go too far and can potentially damage your muscle. Amino acids from high-quality animal proteins, along with carbohydrates from vegetables (not grains) are essential for this process. Good sources of animal protein include:
• Whey protein (minimally processed, and derived from organic, grass-fed, non-hormonally treated cows)
• Humanely raised, free-range chicken
• Organic eggs from pastured hens
• Grass-fed beef
Beneficial sources of carbohydrates include:
• Virtually any vegetable (limiting carrots and beets, which are high in sugar)
• Dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, or Swiss chard
• Low-fructose fruits like lemon, limes, passion fruit, apricots, plums, cantaloupe, and raspberries. Avoid high-fructose fruits like apples, watermelons, and pears
8. Not Refueling Fast Enough
Whey protein is considered the gold standard of protein by many, and is one of the best types of foods you can consume before and after exercise. One of the reasons whey protein works so well is that it assimilates very quickly, so the protein will get to your muscles within 10-15 minutes of swallowing it, supplying them with the right food at the right time.
Another study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise showed the amino acids found in high-quality whey protein also activate certain cellular mechanisms, including a mechanism called mTORC-1, which in turn promote muscle protein synthesis, boost thyroid, and also protect against declining testosterone levels after exercise.
Whey protein earns its title as the perfect "fitness food" as it contains not only high-quality protein, but also extremely high amounts of leucine, which is particularly important for muscle growth and repair. It’s best to consume your whey protein smoothie (or other high-quality protein/carb snack) within one hour of your workout.
9. Sitting on the Couch
Do you rest on the couch when DOMS hits? You might be better off going for a brisk walk instead. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found exercise to be as effective as massage in relieving those post-workout aches and pains. Not to mention, most Americans sit far too many hours in a day, which increases your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer, along with premature death.
Plus, research shows that maintaining a regular fitness regimen cannot counteract the accumulated ill effects of sitting eight to 12 hours a day in between bouts of exercise. This is very strong evidence to seriously consider eliminating as much sitting as you can. You can install a standing workstation at the office, and try to keep moving. I suggest aiming for 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day, over and above any exercise regimen you may have. A fitness tracker or pedometer can help you keep track of your steps and motivate you to reach your goal.
10. Too Many Cocktails
Heavy drinking may impair your muscle repair and recovery, so you might want to think twice before working out intensely and then heading out for an alcohol-infused night on the town. Heavy drinking (six drinks in three hours) was found to decrease muscle protein synthesis by 37 percent, and researchers noted, “acute alcohol consumption, at the levels often consumed by athletes, may negatively alter normal immunoendocrine function, blood flow and protein synthesis so that recovery from skeletal muscle injury may be impaired.”
If you choose to drink alcohol after exercise, be sure to keep it to a minimum amount. The researchers concluded: “…if athletes are to consume alcohol after sport/exercise, a dose of approximately 0.5 g/kg body weight is unlikely to impact most aspects of recovery and may therefore be recommended if alcohol is to be consumed during this period.”