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Kelly Musovic

6 workout mistakes that sabotage results

How to fix these common mistakes made in the gym
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4 min
Too often, the best-laid workout and nutrition plans get sidetracked after only the first few weeks. Or worse, you put in the time at the gym and watch what you eat but stop seeing results.

You might be making mistakes that are sabotaging your fitness goals. Here are 6 workout mistakes you could be making that are preventing you from getting the results you want.

Skipping warmups
Although it saves time, dodging the pre-workout warmup means your muscles are cold, your joints are stiff and your mindset isn't ready. Skipping the warmup puts you at risk of injury.

The Fix
Design a regular warmup with bodyweight exercises like lunges, squats, push-ups and jumping jacks to elevate your heart rate before you move to weight training.

Not planning your routine
Walking into the gym without a plan is like grocery shopping without a list. You'll end up wandering from machine to machine, spending way more time than necessary.

The Fix
Plan your workout in advance. Include the exercises, sets and reps, as well as the order you want to do them in so you can plan your route around the strength training area.

Doing the same workout every day
The more you follow the same routine, the more your body builds a tolerance for it. As your workout gets easier, your body doesn't require as much energy to do it, which means you're not burning as many calories and improving your fitness level. Your body adapts to an exercise after it has done it six workouts in a row.

The Fix
Add intervals to your cardio routine. For example, do 30 seconds to a minute or more at a high intensity, followed by the same amount of time at an easier pace. For strength training you want to look at cycling through different reps, sets and resistance. For example, you can keep the weight the same and add reps, or you can increase the weight and lower the reps. In both cases, make sure your form and technique are on point.

Focusing on quantity rather than quality
Many people push themselves too hard and add more reps to their programs thinking it will help them achieve results sooner. But neglecting form can have the opposite effect, causing you to use the wrong muscles, slowing progress and inviting injury. The same is true of functional exercises, where body form is everything.

The Fix
Ask a fitness professional to demonstrate the exercises, emphasizing common pitfalls and things to check when you're doing the move. For strength training, it's a good idea to start with compound exercises like squats, deadlifts or pressing movements before working on smaller isolation exercises like bicep curls. Always have a workout buddy to spot you so you can maintain proper form.

Taking on too much too soon
It can be tempting to jump into a high intensity routine, or lift too much too quickly, without building up to the task. While it looks good at first and you feel invincible, it's asking for trouble when it comes to injury, exhaustion and sore muscles.

The Fix
If you're ready for a more aggressive program, have a qualified trainer or coach do an assessment on you first, then start on a progressive program that begins at your current fitness level. If you want to join a group workout, tell the instructor that you're new to the camp or the class and they can offer modifications for any exercises you may have trouble with.

Overtraining
The ideal length of a workout is 45 to 60 minutes. After 60 minutes the body produces catabolic hormones and the nervous system experiences stress. When you train hard, you also break down your muscles and they need downtime to repair themselves. When overtraining begins to set in, the first things to falter will be your strength and muscle endurance. Overtraining is usually related to inadequate recovery -- meaning poor nutrition, sleep and stress levels.

The Fix
Allow time for proper recovery and you don't need to worry as much about overtraining. Depending on the workout, full recovery can take one to three days for specific muscles used. With proper recovery time for each workout you should notice an improvement in your strength and energy levels.

Try not to get caught in these workout traps. Set some goals, build a program and start working out with a new focus. With patience and dedication, plus some support from a fitness professional, you’ll be on your way to fitness results in no time.

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