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Some people go on an exercise routine and start feeling and looking great. Probably more people go on an exercise routine and don't see any positive changes.
If working out isn't working out for you, there may be some aspect of your routine that needs change. Here are the four most common ways well-intentioned exercise fans sabotage their results.



1. You aren't working out hard enough.

Slow, easy, repetitive motions help improve muscle endurance. You'll be able to go longer if your exercise routine includes lots of easy motions with limited resistance or low weight.

Building up muscle strength, however, requires a training effect. You only train your muscles by working them to their limits. You only need two to six repetitions of an exercise, but those repetitions need to be at the very limits of that muscle's ability to flex. Anything less won't break down fibers in the muscle, making room for new muscle to form.

2. You are working out too hard.

At the opposite end of the exercise spectrum, some newbies to regular fitness routines work out too hard. This is more likely to be a problem for people who are over 50 than it is for people who are in their teens and twenties.

Muscles need to pushed to their limits so that fibers break down. That same muscle, however, needs at least 48 hours (if you are relatively young) to as much as 72 hours (if you are a more senior exercise fan) to rebuild itself. If you work out each and every day, your muscles never get the recovery period they need to bulk out and become stronger. You can actually decrease your fitness by working the same muscles to their limit each and every day. Take a break between muscle workouts. Either work different muscles, or focus on other kinds of fitness—such as exercises for cardiovascular fitness, balance, or coordination.

3. You're not getting the right kind of post-workout nourishment.

The purveyors of workout drinks have brainwashed millions of athletes into feeling they absolutely must get protein and carb during and immediately after their workouts. Actually, your muscles can begin recovery even if you are fasting—but they absolutely have to be hydrated. Even more important that post-workout nutrition is post-workout hydration. You simply must have enough fluid in your body for your bloodstream to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tired muscles.

The best workout drink at least contains water and electrolytes—although sugar and caffeine aren't beneficial. (They aren't poisonous, either. They just aren't beneficial.) But if you are eating protein at your regular mealtimes, your body has enough amino acids in various buffers to get your muscles started on the rebuilding process. It's primarily elite athletes who respond to carefully balanced post-workout meals of just enough carb and just enough complete protein.

4. You're having your way with whey.

Many fitness fans use whey powder for their muscle-building shakes and smoothies. That's fine for fitness, assuming you aren't using one of the cheaper brands that contains both whey and casein. Many people are sensitive to casein and develop bloating, gas, and swollen muscles—none of which helps anyone attain fitness goals.

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