(HealthDay)—Are you sabotaging your exercise goals? Avoid these common mistakes.
Mistake No. 1: Not keeping an exercise chart or journal. A record tells you how far you've come and when it's time to go to the next level. Noting improvements in your heart rate will also provide motivation. Check it 15 to 60 minutes after exercising—you'll see a decrease in this number as your heart gets stronger.
Mistake No. 2: Not writing down goals. Studies show that people who chart short- and long-term goals accomplish more of them.
Mistake No. 3: Strength-training the same muscles on consecutive days. This prevents proper recovery and growth. Allow one to two days before working the same muscle groups.
Mistake No. 4: Holding your breath. Proper breathing is almost as important as proper form. Exhale as you lift, and inhale as you lower.
Mistake No. 5: Not eating enough protein. To lose weight and tone up, your plan should include cardio, strength training and a lower-calorie diet that's high in protein—about three-quarters of a gram per pound of your ideal body weight. More protein enhances the effects of exercise and decreases fat without muscle loss.
Mistake No. 6: Being distracted during workouts. Reading or watching a complex TV show can actually slow your pace. Instead, listen to energetic music or try a sitcom (just be sure to place the screen at eye level for better performance).
Mistake No. 7: Ignoring flexibility and balance training. Both are key to overall fitness.
Explore further: Exercise guidelines: how much is enough?
The American College of Sports Medicine has 10 do's to get your exercise routine on track.