If you are one of the millions of people who head to the gym on a regular basis, chances are, you have a strong commitment to improving your health and fitness.

The gym can be a great place to work out –you have access to sophisticated equipment, you are in a group environment and you do not have the distractions present at home. However, chances are there are several things that you can do differently to improve your experience and results. Read on for the top 5 mistakes you are making at the gym.

1) ❎ Not Enough Water

One of the most common mistakes that people make when going to the gym is not drinking enough water.Ideally, you should consume water before, during and after your workout at the gym. Havingenough water is essential. After all, your body is made up mostly of water. Leave those sports drinks and sodas alone, and opt for a bottle of cool, clear water.

2) ❎ Lack of Stretching

While exercise is essential to burning fat and building muscle, it can also cause serious harm to your body if you are ill prepared for the rigors of your workout. It is essential that you stretch sufficiently before you begin your exertions for the day. You should also take time to stretch during your workout, as this will help you avoid injuries. Take just a few moments to stretch your muscles throughout your regimen and your body will thank you for it.

3) ❎ Lack of Intensity

Chances are good that you think that prolonged physical exercise is all that you need to do to burn fat and build muscle. You might even use a cardio regimen exclusively to help increase your fitness. This is very bad decision. You need high intensity options to help tell your body to burn fat, but build muscle. If you are only doing cardio workouts, then you might be burning off both fat and muscle. The result is weight loss, but not the kind that you want.

4) ❎ Not Cooling Down

In addition to warming up with stretches and light aerobic activity, you need to cool down after strenuous physical activity. Use aerobics, walk or jog lightly to help your body slowly cool down.

5) ❎ Energy Bars

Adding calories to a diet is important if you are building muscle. However, those “fitness” or “energy” bars might not be the right way to go about this. Loaded with sugars and extra carbs, they really do you no favors in the world of fitness and weight loss.

Stop making these common mistakes at the gym and it will dramatically improve your workouts. Did I miss any other common mistakes you see people making at the gym?

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