After spending over a decade speaking to women about their fitness goals, I’ve learned some common mistakes that are made in the gym that may prevent those goals from being achieved:

Not spending enough time in the weight room

"Cardio" (cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory) training is meant for conditioning the heart and lungs. If that's your only goal, traditional cardio on a bike, elliptical machine or treadmill will do; but if your goal is fat loss or strength gain, the best approach comes from a higher volume and intensity of resistance training (to build muscle that boosts your metabolism), getting enough of the right nutrients and managing levels of stress and sleep.

Poor technique

The attention to detail here on every single rep, feeling the muscle, compounded over consistent workouts throughout a year will yield greater results compared to only going through the motions for multiple years. For example, often when someone is looking to work on the glutes and perform hip extensions, they are actually doing back extensions. 

Not doing big and heavy lifts

Big lifts (compound movements like squats, deadlifts, presses and pulls) executed well, give us big returns on our time at the gym. Big lifts use multiple muscle groups at one time and require effort from your entire body and more energy expenditure. Big lifts are transferable movements in our everyday life and improve the quality of our lives by making us stronger. Think of strength as your ceiling. Getting stronger increases your ability to do more volume and handle more intensity and break the plateaus that everyone complains about! 

Doing the same workout for months or years

Nothing changes in your comfort zone. Changes happen when you challenge your norm. Executing movements well while changing your training variables that you don’t usually adjust is challenging. Your body is an incredible organism that is made for survival. When you put it into an environment that challenges it to make physical changes to deal with that environment, it will actually change in order to handle the environment!

Not eating enough of the right foods to fuel the workout and the recovery

Not eating enough can show in someone's level of energy throughout the day or workout, lack of training progress and difficulty losing fat. Increasing activity and decreasing calories is good for you, right? Not necessarily. Food is fuel, but you also need the right fuel and at the right time to achieve your goals AND feel good. You need protein for retention and growth of muscle, fat for organ function and cognitive ability and carbs for performance. Remember, a calorie reduced diet is also a nutrient reduced diet!

Focusing on the number on the scale and not how you feel and what you can do

If you looked in the mirror and loved what you saw, loved how you felt and were amazed at what your body could do, would you still care about what the scale shows? If you weren’t happy with how you felt and looked, would you be happy that your scale showed you at a specific weight? Unless you are an athlete looking to fit into a weight class, the scale shouldn’t matter.

Focusing too much on the outcome without finding satisfaction in the process

Don't get me wrong, outcomes are what we work towards, but finding your "mini wins" in the process of achieving your goals keeps your morale high and motivation revving!