Openfit Trainers Reveal the 5 Worst Fitness Habits
Whether you’re just starting on a training path or you’ve been working out for decades, it’s always good to make sure you’re forming good fitness habits. You know, exercising in a way that’s helping you build strength, flexibility, endurance, and mobility — not increasing your risk of injury. We asked three Openfit trainers to share their most prominent sources of workout sabotage, so you can keep moving toward your goals.
Here are Openfit Trainers’ five worst habits that hinder results.
1. Using Static Stretches to Warm Up
Forget those old gym class moments of long-hold stretches before you start an exercise, urges Openfit Trainer Medwin Mina. Recent studies have shown these can actually decrease athletic performance and cause injury, he says. That’s because stretching “cold” muscles causes them to elongate, and you lose power when working out.
Perform dynamic stretches instead, moving as you stretch, and often replicating the motion you’ll be doing in a workout. For example, a dynamic warmup for running can be an easy-paced jog and some walking lunges.
2. Overtraining and Under-Resting
If some exercise is good, that means more is always better, right? That’s a significant mindset to avoid, suggests Medwin.
“Sometimes, we get ultra-motivated and start doing class after class of intense training,” he says. “There’s a point where it’s great to put in work, but then you end up doing too much and taxing the same muscles, to the point where you injure yourself.”
This is usually done in conjunction with not resting enough, he adds, which means you skip recovery days. But keep in mind that rest is essential to results.
When people are overtraining and under-resting, they tend to get into the habit of doing lots of classes or training sessions with only so-so effort, says Medwin. A better strategy is to do just a few classes that you can take on with focus and energy.
3. Saving Your Form for Workouts
When it comes to your workout, you’re hyper-aware of how you position yourself, how you’re moving, and the ways that alignment matters. But just an hour later, you’re slumped over your desk or standing with shoulders slouched and hips jutting forward. This is a common bad habit that’s worth putting effort into changing, according to Openfit trainer Ritvik Aithal.
“People are able to hold good form in a workout, but once it ends, they disengage,” he says. “The fix to this is to work just hard enough in the workout to where you will still be able to hold good form outside of class.”
For example, aim for about 70 to 80 percent intensity, he suggests, so that for the rest of the day, the remainder of your energy is applied to other daily living activities. That gives you enough energy for maintaining your form:
- Sitting tall when doing computer work
- Dropping shoulders back and down when driving
- Standing at your kitchen counter during meal prep, with a firm grounding in the feet
“Doing these little integrative behaviors allows for the mind to ‘imprint’ the muscular engagement onto the body at various points in the day, thereby effectively establishing good posture with repetition,” says Aithal.
4. Working Out for the Wrong Reasons
Exercise is beneficial in so many ways that it can be easy to skip the “Why am I doing this?” question and assume that you’re pursuing workouts for the right reasons. But that’s not always the case, says Openfit trainer Sarah Brannon. For example, if you want to feel stronger, more capable, more balanced, and healthier, those are all excellent reasons. But if you work out so you can look like your favorite fitspo influencer? Not so great.
“If you’re working out because you’re comparing your body to someone else and you want to look like that, it can be very damaging and unhealthy,” she says. “Instead, get to know and understand your own body and love it for what it is. Make the best version of your body you can, without trying to look like someone else.”
5. Doing the Wrong Workouts
One of the best aspects of Openfit is the breadth of workout options available, including:
That type of variety isn’t just to keep workouts feeling fresh, but also because not every kind of exercise is a good fit for every person, says Brannon. In addition, doing the same type of workout over and over can put you at risk for overuse issues.
“You need to find the right workouts for your body,” she suggests. “If you have hypermobile joints, for example, and all you do is yoga, that’s probably not the best thing for your body because you’ll want to build more strength around those joints. You want to find the right combinations of workouts for your body type.”
The best tactic, she advises, is to do a combination of classes and workouts, so you can understand what you enjoy and what works best.