5 ways you’re sabotaging your workout — and what to do about it


This post is brought to you in partnership with Novant Health. All opinions are our own.

Remember that “get healthier” New Year’s vow? Now it’s May. 

You’ve built up some sweat equity. But have you really maximized the investment? C5 talked to fitness expert Danny Olszowy, a performance specialist for Novant Health Sports & Performance Medicine powered by EXOS. He and his team design fitness plans and host one-on-one and group sessions for youth, high school and collegiate athletes, as well as fitness-focused adults. Groups training at the highest level with Novant Health’s EXOS specialists work to achieve a wide range of health goals and challenges – from wanting to simply touch your toes to training for a marathon. 

Are roadblocks getting in the way of achieving the results you want? Here are 5 tips from Olszowy to consider:

Tip 1: Stop making it up as you go

Build a consistent routine and commit to it. Working with a performance specialist or another group of exercise professionals will make the most of your workout time by tailoring a program based off the results you want to see. 

“A lot of people show up to the gym and go, OK, I’ll just do this, and they make something up on the fly,” said Olszowy. It’s hardly a recipe for success. “We write a program based off the needs of individuals or an individualized group or class.” 

Taking the guesswork out of fitness will reduce the frustration that could lead you to slack off or quit.

Tip 2: Don’t give up. It’s supposed to be hard. 

Patience and perseverance go hand in hand. Olszowy and his team know results happen a baby step at a time.

“It doesn’t just happen overnight. Just keep chipping away at it,” he said. “Exercise should be hard. It should stretch you out of your comfort zone, because that is going to elicit the response from the body that we are looking for.”

The EXOS team offers encouragement while keeping the workouts challenging.

Tip 3: Sleep and diet matter. A lot.

If you feel like you are shredding it in the gym but still not seeing results in the mirror, your lack of sleep, water and food could be a reason. Mess up any of these and things are going to be more difficult. 

“When we get sleep (the six to eight hours recommended) it helps us recover from our workouts. Not enough sleep means we aren’t fully recovering,” said Olszowy.  

Novant Health Sports & Performance Medicine powered by EXOS offers support from registered dietitians who help clients craft a diet with nutrition-specific-to-age and health goals. 

Ah, water. Did you bring your full water bottle to work this morning and lug it home without much progress? Olszowy said you should drink half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water. 

“Hydration helps muscles recover from workouts and promotes better sleeping habits, because it has the ability to curb the appetite,” he said. And this: If you’re thirsty, chances are you are already dehydrated, he said.

Tip 4: Gym machines are not the answer. 

Is your gym life mirroring your real life? Olszowy encouraged a workout regimen made up of fundamental movement patterns you do every day — squatting, pushing, pulling, hinging over, stretching, etc. 

“Functional training is going to help people when they do life things like gardening, playing with the kids and picking stuff up,” he said. 

When things become easier with everyday tasks, it helps keep the momentum going. 

Tip 5: Going solo may not work. Try a free class.

The singular fist pump can get you psyched up, but a dedicated trainer and room with people ready to cheer you on can make a big difference. 

If you are looking for a group exercise environment, try out a few different performance training centers. Novant Health Sports & Performance Medicine powered by EXOS offers two free classes, including a strength-based class so you can see if it is a good fit. It’s important to figure out if you mesh well with the performance specialist team, as well as the other class members, Olszowy said. 

Lastly, celebrate “small” victories. 

“Most adults are training for life, and it’s a journey,” he said. He recalled a person in his class who finally touched her toes, which hadn’t happened since high school. What may seem like a small thing for one person can be a milestone for others. 

Interested in taking your work out to the next level? Click here to find the nearest Novant Health and Sports & Performance Medicine powered by EXOS near you.


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