Ditch these exercise habits for better results

Make better use of your gym time by not falling for these workout mishaps.

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Photo, Eric Hood/ Getty Images.

You know who you are — you dutifully head off to the gym three times a week, sometimes four and you put in your 60 minutes or an hour-and-a-half before work, somedays after work, and Saturdays. It’s a pattern you’ve followed for a long time, yet you’re not seeing any changes? Your results are just as static as your routine — and therein lies the problem.

If you want your workout to work out for you then you need to shake things up in the gym on a regular basis, says fitness expert Jennifer Cohen in an article for Time.

Cohen mainly argues for an intelligent strategic approach to working out. In other words, your mind should be as dynamically engaged as your body when it comes to establishing an effective exercise regimen that produces real results.

First thing to do is analyze what you’re doing wrong. Decide what isn’t working, says Cohen, who cites several unproductive standard exercise mistakes that you need to eliminate.  She’s death on the elliptical machine for a start, arguing effectively that there are better ways to spend your valuable gym time. If it’s low-impact you’re after then you’ll get more bang for your buck from the rowing machine.

Cohen also takes issue with the casual approach — if you’re serious about burning away those love handles then ramp it up with a high-intensity surge of activity over 30 minutes. A half-hour of sweating and heart pumping, will pay greater dividends than an hour spent on the treadmill watching Judge Judy as you keep up a steady stroll.

Too many of us opt for cardio as a way to burn calories when strength training not only ups your calorie count, all that lean muscle mass you’re developing will continue to burn calories even when you’re stretched out on the sofa trying to figure out whose torch will be eliminated at tribal council.

While you’re at it, suggests Cohen, don’t make working out a solitary pursuit. Enlist the company of a friend, or even an enemy you can trust to show up on time. When it comes to getting bikini-ready, a little competition never hurt anyone.