Whether you’re a newb or a card-carrying Gym Junkie, there are countless temptations around the gym that will cause you to mess up your progress toward your fitness goals.
Making sure you avoid these following mistakes will be what gets you the muscle, fat loss, and performance gains you’re shooting for. Some of these are more common with beginners (#2) and others are almost exclusively the experienced folk (#3).
See where you fit in this list and what you need to dial in to get fit fast.
The Top 6 Mistakes that Will Cripple Your Workouts
#1 Not Stretching After… (Or at All)
Anytime you hit a big fitness goal, everything inside you wants to chill… not stretch.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve just finished a big race, or you’ve hit a new bench press max, or if you were able to finish an Insanity DVD without breaking form once.
The problem is that this is the time where you need stretching the most. Ideally, you would do a quick warm-up, then stretch, then after your workout, stretch again… but this isn’t always realistic. At least save 5 minutes to stretch and/or cool down when you finish. After a workout, your muscles are warm and this is the best time to increase their flexibility and prevent unnecessary soreness or injury.
If you find yourself taking unexpected days off at all because of soreness, then this is the first thing you need to correct.
#2 Modeling the Buff People
It’s an unfair fact of life that you don’t always see the full picture when you meet someone who looks like they’re doing everything right.
If someone looks like they have 3% body fat and a rack of muscles that would make 1992’s Marky Mark jealous, it’s easy to assume this is the person to go to for advice.
The fact is that this person might just have good genetics…
Or be using steroids…
Or have major back problems from his exercise regimen.
Steroids are a lot more common in gyms than you might think… even among non-competitors. And of course, they’re unlikely to admit this when you ask “What’s your secret?”
And you really never know how someone’s workout will work with your own body. The truth is that some physiques are more forgiving for bad form, and others grow bigger with less intensity or variety for whatever reason.
You need to find an expert who has trained people with your body type to success instead of looking for who has the best build.
As an analogy, you wouldn’t necessarily go to a guy with a Ferrari for financial advice. The person could have inherited a lot of money or could be in debt up to his damn neck. The car is just a clue that this person might be worth talking to, nothing more.
#3 Being Social
There are few activities better at bonding males than sharing a bench and shooting the shit.
If you go with friends, you’ll want to talk about your week with an anecdotal story for each set you do.
If you go by yourself, you may find yourself seeing familiar faces and going up to say hi.
This can cut your workout efficiency by 85% or more.
Making friends is fine (and a necessary part of human wellness) but you have to stay rigidly committed to completing your workout even if you have to blow some people off. All you have to say is “Gotta get back to my set,” and they’ll understand.
#4 Not Tracking Progress
If you don’t track how much you’re lifting week to week, you’re unlikely to make any real progress.
This is because you’ll always err toward your comfort zone by default. You’ll do what’s comfortable and not push yourself unless it’s staring you in the face that you have only gone up five pounds on lat pulldown in the past eight months.
This is made harder because not all gyms use the same measurements. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to set the cross cables for 80lbs and seeing the plates are labeled A through P instead.
You still have to do your best and write down how many letters you can pull if you plan on returning to that gym.
Remember that today there are tons of apps for your phone to track your exercises if using a clipboard is inconvenient.
#5 Ignoring Your Core
Your core is what will dictate how effective you are at every exercise you do, both in how much you can lift and how proper your form will be. To act like it’s unimportant would be like trying to create the world’s best nutrition plan while refusing to hydrate yourself.
It’s because of this that a lot of personal trainers sometimes start you out with only core exercises when you begin… so every other exercise they give you will be more effective an easier to learn.
Now you don’t have to necessarily plan a core-only workout routine. It can be enough to make sure your core is engaged with every exercise you do. Cable exercises can be great for this because even light weights can require you to keep your core completely firm in order to balance yourself.
And when you’re doing cardio, keeping your stomach tight during knee-highs will strengthen your core while you’re burning fat and strengthening your hip flexors.
You just never want to be the guy with built arms but a loosey-goosey back and hanging stomach.
In fact, tightening your core will actually make you look a lot slimmer than you are anyway so there’s no reason not to do it.
#6 Improper Form
I almost didn’t want to include this one because it’s so obvious. However, for every 1,000 Gym Junkies who know their form is critical, there’s always that one who will look at a list like this and say “No mention of form! I guess bad technique is allowed like butter and whole eggs now!”
So yeah… make sure you do your exercises correctly and don’t sacrifice form for anything. Not for time, certainly not for higher weight, and not to impress anybody. While you want to be aggressive with your goals, you want to be just as aggressive with your form compliance. Keep both of those strong and you’ll be in amazing shape in no time.
Latest posts by Terry (see all)
- How Important Are Net Carbs For Building Huge Muscle? - Apr 28, 2017
- The Matt Damon Workout Explained - Apr 27, 2017
- Watercress – Benefits And The Best Way To Consume It - Apr 26, 2017