Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Wellness Wednesday: Gym Routines Dos and Don'ts

Welcome back, fellow fitness junkies! This week on #wellnesswednesday, it's going to be a short sharing of my take on gym routine's dos and don'ts. 
However, disclaimer first, I'm no expert when it comes to fitness related matters or gym routines. These are just my own opinions and please share with me your dos and don'ts in the comments down below. :)

Let's start with my top 5 to dos for gym routines.

1. Do write up a set of fitness goals.
You have to know what you wish to achieve in order do know what you need to do. Do you have thunder thighs that's in desperate need of some toning up? Do you have butterfly wings (flabby arms) that's keeping you from waving goodbye to your friends? Do you have a flabby tummy so big, commuters are fighting to give up their seats for you on public transports, mistaking you as a heavily pregnant lady? Does your BMI and body fat percentage tally to OBESITY? Or do you have so little muscle mass that you're practically skin, bones and fats? 
Know your body, analyse out your problematic areas, and find out what action plan (fitness goals) you need to undertake to bid them goodbye in the most sensible and practical time frame. 

2. Do start small.
If you're just starting out on a new fitness plan for a healthy lifestyle, please remember. BABY STEPS! Be it with weights, or cardio, start small. Your current muscle mass and heart might not be able to take it if you kick start your first day at gym with an hour's running on the treadmill. Aim for perhaps, just 15 to 20 minutes if you're just starting out. 

3. Do find a gym buddy, and make sure it's a good one. 
It's a good form of motivation boost, and he or she will be the main pulling force on days you feel just plain lazy and plans to skip the gym. But please, find the correct buddy who will motivate you and not one who's even lazier than you. If that's the case, it's better you work up the independence and go buddy-less. 

4. Do diversify your routines. 
Especially true for ladies, whom I realised are the ones who tend to skip weights training to NOT build up any muscles (I shall touch on this further under don'ts). By sticking to the same old routine day in day out, not only will it tire or bore you out quickly, making you more prone to giving up or skipping gym, it may also give you unbalanced and unsatisfactory results in the long run. 

5. Do hydrate yourself!
Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and especially during and after your workouts. For myself, I will not drink water right before my workout, nor chug on too much water during my workout, as it tend to give me stitches. I'll usually chug down minimal 500 to 800ml one-shot after I'm out of the showers at the gym, and make sure I'll hit at least 2L of water intake on a daily basis. 

And now, for my top 5 don'ts for gym routines.

1. Don't skip your warm ups and cool down stretches.
Every week at the gym there bound to be some people coming in late (skipping warm ups despite instructors' repeated reminder that nobody shall join in after class commences) and leaving early (skipping cool downs) for group-x classes. And I really wonder, just how badly their body will ache the next morning. Or perhaps, they just do not work out as hard as they should be to not bear any dire consequences after?

2. Don't believe in spot reduction routines. 
I tend to hear people asking on how to cut down the fats from a specific area of their body without losing fats at other *erhm* important areas (yes, ladies tend to wish for spot reduction). Sorry ladies, you can't. When you work out, even if you think you're focusing only on a specific area, you're burning fats from all over your body. You can better spot-train to build muscle and tone up certain areas, but not to lose fats specifically from them. 

3. Don't associate perspiring with burning of calories.
Sweating like a horse actually just means you have a more active sweat glands, nothing else. Or at most, it can also mean you've purged out more toxins from your body. Sweating is all about water weight and that 0.2kg you've lost from sweating like a horse in that 55 minutes of "intensive" spinning will come back to you with a snap of the finger once you re-hydrated yourself. 
To lose weight, you need to focus on the intensity. How hard is your heart beating? At the fat-burning zone of 70%? That's not good enough if you have more to lose. Slowly work your way up and push for more. 
The point is simple. The harder you push yourself (but please first make sure your heart can take it! Baby steps, remember?), the more you burn. And no, you need not necessarily sweat like a pig. 

4. Don't get obsessed with losing weight. 
Do you know, muscle tissue burns roughly around 7 to 10 calories per lb per day, which is about 3 times more for fats, at merely 2 to 3 calories per lb per day? 
So, what does this tells you? Lose FATS, not WEIGHT. 
And while the saying that muscles weigh more than fats is just a big fat lie, adding in the magical phrase 'by volume' will make it right again. 
So what does that mean again? It simply means that if you do not have a scale tipping body fat content in the first place and really just need to tone up and build up some leanness, focusing your attention solely on decreasing the weighing scale reading will probably mean a further loss in your muscle mass and not necessary an actual fat loss. 

5. Don't avoid weights training for fear of building up muscles.
This is for all the cardio bunnies out there. Cardio is your monthly salary, but weights is like an investment. If you've gone through pointer number 4 above, you'll be able to understand why I'm saying this. 
You can focus more on doing cardio (I am, too), but do not omit weights/toning exercises totally to avoid 'bulking up' and putting on weight (for 'muscles are heavier than fats'). 
Remember, for every lb of muscle you developed, you'll burn more calories at rest everyday. 

So, what are your gym routine dos and don'ts? 

Till then,
Mia Foo


  1. Can I say I love you?! Hahaha but seriously tho, so many of us get it wrong due to misconceptions. Most people are so focus on loosing weights and spot reductions (look at weight loss commercials? Shudder!) Ever since I found out that fat loss is the way to go, I barely weigh myself. I go with measuring tape measurement and of course body fat caliper :D Although I have gained a lot of body fat in the past year due to my own setbacks and self discipline, your post reminds me what I need to remember and focus on.

    Thank you so much for linking up with us!

    See you again next week, Mia :)

  2. PS: The weight training?! Yes, yes, yes! I feel miserable so miserable when I can't lift any weights :D

  3. Some great points here! Water is a big yes..! It's amazing how just drinking water and no carbonated drinks makes you feel so much better almost immediately! Sim @ x

  4. You hit the nail over the hammer girlfriend. Go ahead and give yourself credit where credit it due. While your Dos and Donts may not be expert opinion, they are true and very usual information. Happy Wellness Wednesday #gowellness

  5. I agree with all of these. Except the gym buddy one, for me personally. I prefer to get in my zone when I work out and don't want to talk to someone or worry about what they are doing. I do occasionally like to go with my husband though so he can make sure I am lifting correctly, but even that I couldn't do every time. Thanks for sharing and glad I found you at the Wellness Wednesday link-up.
    -Miranda at

  6. I'm don't do most of what you suggest and I do most of what you don't suggest. I probably needed this post! hahaha. I personally don't stretch when going to the gym, I don't plan my routine (probably a result of being in the varsity team for quite a while), and I don't have a gym buddy (it's a pain to do bench press without one though.

    Otherwise, great tips! It's a sign that I need to work out right starting now.

  7. I agree, except I prefer working out by myself in the gym, I love using weights and the biggest tip is don't restrict or over-analyse (speaking from recent experience) baby steps is key and don't compare

  8. I can't agree more with half of the points... Particularly keeping hydrated and not getting obsessed about weight!

  9. great advice, I think stretching is hugely important, it helps so much!
    Mackenzie Glanville (

  10. Women should follow your fitness routines because this is the best. Fitness program and healthy eating should go hand-in-hand.

  11. Great tips and reminders for us all. I prefer to workout at home but I also create a plan based on what my goal is. Hydrating is very important and I'm working on that. Visiting from Wellness Wednesday. Have a great week!

  12. I don't go gym currently but if I going in future, this will be a great guide for me!

  13. Thanks for the tips! This will come in handy when I finally get the motivation to stay fit

  14. Great advice for people starting out at the gym! Thanks for sharing :)

  15. It's really important to start with a goal. Then it's also important to be patient and allow yourself to progress through workouts. Usually, our body can only take in 10% increase in workout volume per week.

  16. i always do weight training. helps me burn more fat

  17. All good tips for building an exercise routine. I'll only add that it's important to learn the proper form for each exercise or weight routine.

  18. I love weight training. I love building some muscle here and there, but not to a point of ppl around me complaining I'm bulking up. LOL

  19. These are helpful tips especially for me who doesn't have any experience or knowledge about going to the gym. I plan to sign up but I'm still looking for a better gym to go to. I'll definitely look back at these tips to guide me through my fitness journey :)

  20. Definitely have to find a gym and workout buddy so bad! I guess it's also wise to keep on track of everything, so a Workout/Fitness Journal would be a great tool!

  21. Now this is genuine! This is something women whose in fitness programs should read. I guess you've earned my applause for this post. One informative, and very useful to those who's thinking so much on weight loss. Functional Fitness is better than weight loss. :D

  22. Hmm.. Just the perfect post for women who are newbies in the gym. These tips will definitely guide those 'weight loss' women.

  23. Awesome guides Mia..I always love to have gym buddy, it makes the exercise routine feels lighter and so much fun.

  24. All the best ya! I never tried all these before... Because my coach trained me since young... So maybe I have no feeling about it >.<


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