Four things for men to avoid during workouts

When it comes to balancing work, exercise, maintaining a marriage and raising kids, a lot of men tend to drop the ball on their own health and wellness. 

I get it. After all, we have to provide for our families and we have to be there for our kids. But this is dangerous for your health — not just from packing on the pounds but also for your testosterone levels, which is key for maintaining your sex drive, strength and vitality. 

A lot of guys have a hard time getting back into shape or even getting in shape for the first time especially later in life. It gets more difficult especially after settling down into a marriage, career and fatherhood. Strength training can play a huge role in maintaining higher levels of testosterone and it’s without a doubt the best way to shed fat, but chances are you’re probably doing it completely wrong. 

Here are some of the common mistakes I see: (ladies give this to your hubbies)

 Not warming up. Stiff, immobile joints can and will lead to injuries. Most commonly  in men, injuries are seen in the shoulders, neck and back. Taking a good 10- to 15-minute “pre-hab” period before you train can make a world of difference in your performance in the gym and injury rate. Forget stretching before you train. Do some basic calisthenics in addition to neck and rotator cuff exercises to “bullet proof” these sensitive areas.

 Training like a teenager. You can’t expect to jump into the weight room and crank out an hour-long workout session and then be fully recovered to work out again a day or two later. You’ve got to train smartly and do more work in less time. Getting older usually means a reduced work capacity and slower recovery, especially as we get into our 40s (uggh I’m almost there) so train accordingly to stay relatively injury free.

 Training like a bodybuilder. You also can’t expect to crank out a single workout dedicated completely to just one muscle group. That’s going to wipe out your joints. Plus, most of the bodybuilding routines guys pick up in the popular magazines are from steroid-using competitors. All-natural guys should never attempt to train the same way as these people.

 Overemphasizing running. Running is the fastest way to get yourself as far away from your goals as possible. It’s taxing on the joints and increases estrogen (girl hormones) and cortisol (stress hormones) and lowers testosterone (the good stuff), which makes it harder to burn fat. Interval training on the stationary bike, stair mill or Jacobs Ladder are better options and will help you keep more of your hard-earned muscle.

Keep your workouts, short, intense, full-body strength workouts. Utilize your own body weight along with a variety of artificial resistances.

That’s exactly why I train my clients this way — one-on-one, and team training. 

Hit the weights hard two to three times a week, and avoid the mistakes I just shared, and you’ll maximize testosterone levels, get leaner, stronger, and be able to fend off Father Time almost indefinitely.


Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer and co-owner of Home Team Fitness LLC. Go to for more information.





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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