6 Common Mistakes You’re Making at the Gym
Seasoned gym-goers and new workout enthusiasts alike all know the battle of getting motivated to go to the gym. Just showing up is half the battle, and any workout completed is a mission won, isn’t it?
To make sure your time at the gym is being spent wisely, make sure you’re not making one of these common gym mistakes.
Even fitness lovers can find themselves falling into these habits, and it’s important to remember that the best workout is the one done safely and properly.
Correct these gym mistakes and you’ll see better results, faster.
Gym Mistake #1: Skipping a Proper Gym Warmup
Warming up gets your muscles prepped and ready, stretches out your limbs, provides mobility, raises your heart rate, and prepares your body for the work ahead. Going into any workout cold puts your body at risk for injury and actually lowers the results you’re going to achieve.
Even if time is short, commit to a warmup that lasts 5 to 10 minutes. 10 minutes is all you need to run in place, do some lunges, mobilize the hips, prep the shoulders, and get your heart rate increased.
Any gym worker or personal trainer can set you up with a quick routine that you can use every time. (Related reading: our recommendations for creating a quick and easy gym warm up)
Gym Mistake #2: Risking Injury with Bad Technique or Improper Form
24-Hour Gyms are great because you can come in and workout whenever you want. For some people, the solitude they get at the gym during the off hours is the main appeal of going to the gym. The important thing to remember is, you need to check your form, especially if you’re working out alone.
Watching fitness videos on Instagram or even observing other gym-goers does not give a comprehensive overview of what is really happening with a person’s body during their workout. A lot of small motions and engagements go into working out that protect our bodies. Fitness is much more than meets the eye.
If you’re not trained in proper technique, even for simple reps or movements, you could not only be missing out on gains like weight loss and strength increases, but you could be putting your body at risk for injury.
Take a group gym class or do a one-off session with a personal trainer to learn proper form for your favorite workouts.
Gym coaches can help you with your body awareness so you get the proper benefits from your workout, instead of just going through the motions. One class or personal training session will dramatically improve your performance.
Gym Mistake #3: Not Balancing Your Workout Routine is a Common Gym Mistake
This means a balance of strength, cardio, and flexibility training. Chiseled Life personal trainers take fitness in Columbia, MD seriously and always ensure a balanced workout routine for their clients.
No matter what your goal is for visiting the gym — weight loss, strength training, Crossfit — it’s important to have a balance for your body. Do not favor just one side (the “good side”), don’t omit mobility or strength, and remember to workout everything from shoulders to legs on a regular basis.
If balancing your workouts is something you have trouble sticking to, enroll in a gym class that targets weak and problem areas or work with a personal trainer on occasion.
In order for your body to stay healthy and in order to see results from your workouts, you need to make sure your body is balanced for long-term sustainability.
Gym Mistake #4: Falling Into the Same Workout Pattern
This is a common gym mistake that happens to everyone, even at the best gyms in Maryland. You’ve made it to the gym, you’ve found the workout routine you like, and you stick with it. Time after time, with no changes.
While having a reliable workout routine can help you feel motivated, what happens is that our minds become comfortable and checked out, and our bodies, too.
Once you’re familiar with your workout routine you may stop engaging critical muscles that make results happen. You may also find you stop making muscle gains or losing weight — this is because your body has adjusted to the workout, too.
You don’t need to change your entire workout to break out of a pattern. Change one or two reps, adjust the timing, mix up the order, and have two days a week where you change your focus. This not only balances your body but makes your workout fresh, reigniting your gains.
Gym Mistake #5: Failing to Stretch and Cooldown
Once your heart rate and body temp have increased for a sustained period of time, you need to gently adjust your body back to normal. Cooldowns slow your activity and gently lower your heart rate.
The best thing about a cooldown is you can add in light stretching. Even if flexibility isn’t a goal, increased mobility will help you in your workouts and day-to-day life.
When it’s time for your cooldown, switch out your music. Something calmer will help you change your activity and you only need about 5-10 minutes to have an effective cooldown. This can be easily worked into even your thirty-minute cardio visit.
Gym Mistake #6: Avoiding Rest Days
Forgetting rest days can really harm your progress and can even put you at risky of injury, no matter how good you feel.
Pushing your body every day can cause discomfort, strain muscles and tendons, and even harm mobility. You put yourself at risk for injury if you do not allow your body gentle rest days to heal. Find a day or two a week where you can slow or pause your workouts so you can come back refreshed and ready.
People often think a “rest day” means they lie on the couch and do nothing. This isn’t true!
If you’re an active person, a rest day can be taking a long walk instead of hitting the gym; it can mean a gentle yoga class instead of a Crossfit routine. You can still be active but do not push yourself during these days -- stay well within your comfort zone and let sore areas heal.