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There’s nothing worse than diligently committing to your workout routine only to see… zero results. Maybe you’re showing up to the gym day-in and day-out, or pushing your body to its max every single time, only to wonder why you’re not feeling stronger or constantly suffering from a tweaked muscle. So what gives? Well, it probably comes down to bad habits. With that said, here are some of the bad habits that are ruining your workout and may be contributing to a plateau.

Having Poor Form

Whether from a lack of proper guidance, not asking for advice, or being new to the gym, many people don’t realize the importance of good form when exercising (but it’s super important to master, especially with moves like squats and lunges). Exercising with poor form can be dangerous to your joints and muscles, and even minimize the effect of your workout. Make sure you learn the right form from a certified instructor or expert from the get-go. Bad exercise habits can be difficult to get rid of later in the game.

Often Exercising On an Empty Stomach

While there’s a debate about whether or not you should work out without eating beforehand, it’s usually a good idea to fuel your body before you start exercising. And while fasted cardio, for example—doing cardio on an empty stomach in the morning—can be both good and bad for your body, it’s not the most sustainable thing.

It’s best getting in your glucose before starting your workout. That’s because when your blood sugar is too low, your body extracts glycogen from the muscle tissues once it runs out. What does that mean, exactly? You start losing muscle instead of building it. Not to mention low blood sugar can also cause dizziness and weakness during training, so eat a banana or berries before working out to skip those negative side effects.

Living By Cardio

Cardio can burn a lot of calories, but overdoing it can minimize strength, cause muscle atrophy, and even lead to fat-loss plateaus. If you’re on a strict diet plan and combine it with an overdose of cardio? It can take even more of a toll on your muscles. To maintain strength, few 15-minute HIIT or conditioning sessions a week should be enough.

Not Getting Enough Protein

Protein is essential to help your body recover from training and helps repair sore muscles. A protein-rich diet helps to increase the fat metabolism in your body since you burn more calories while digesting and protein takes longer to break down. Science backs it up: The body burns up to 30 percent of the calories consumed from protein during the digestion process, so load up in every meal—even breakfast.

Not Sleeping Enough

Adequate sleep allows your muscles to recover. Without it, you can’t exercise at full intensity and muscles feel sore from yesterday’s gym sesh because they couldn’t repair themselves. (After all, some experts believe that sleep is the most important thing for a better body.) Not to mention sleep helps mitigate stress, which in turn reduces cortisol levels that are responsible for balancing hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH). All that’s to say that you should aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.

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