Gym Mistakes? Yes, We all make them. Even I made them and now I wish I knew these common workout mistakes before. But wait, No one’s perfect. Shit happens, we learn from it and proceed ahead!
To be very honest, Many of the workout mistakes go unnoticed because we feel what we are doing is completely right.
“I know it all attitude” doesn’t make you grow even in life.
Making exercise mistakes is a quite common thing inside the gym. Here I’ll be addressing 20 gym mistakes which people often make unknowingly (EVEN SOME OF THE ADVANCE LIFTERS do these!!) and educate you in terms of avoiding them so that you don’t make them!
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #1 Not Warming Up
No, just walking on the treadmill for some minutes isn’t a warm-up for your muscles! It will just help you heating up your body, rushing up your blood flow, and increase your heart-beat.
But an ideal warmup before starting any of the weight training exercises should be particularly warming up of the muscles which you gonna be working on.
You can take a 5-minute walk on the treadmill followed by some easy stretching and lightweight sets of the exercise which you gonna be performing.
This way you’re preparing the muscles to take the load and stimulus on them by increasing its mobility. Nothing can be as good as WARM UPs before a killer workout to decrease the friction between the joints and loosening them!
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #2 Doing Cardio before Weight Training
You can skip this point if you are one of those who bash on “Never do cardio, you will lose muscles”.
Now answer me logically,
“Will you be able to lift as hard as you can after a cardio session when your energy stores are already utilized? When you’re already exhausted and used up all your fuel”?
Even you know the answer!
Your strength will definitely be knocked out leaving you all fatigued by the time you proceed to the weight training. If you haven’t tried this out yet, try it on your own and you will yourself feel the difference.
Prioritize weight training over cardio. Also doing cardio after a killer weight training session would burn more fat comparatively. Typically your glycogen stores get utilized as a fuel when you weight-train and it makes much sense doing it post-workout.
This way your body would tap on your “fat stores” much quickly and burn it as a fuel. So you can amazingly use post-workout cardio as a tool to speed up and assist your fat loss journey (considering you’re on a calorie deficit). And NO, you don’t lose muscle if you do cardio postworkout – BS !!
Your weight-training won’t take a toll on your cardio session as much as a cardio-session on your WT session.
The only exception to this would be “endurance athletes” those who mainly train for endurance or are preparing for a marathon event. They can do it before their weight training session or allot a seperate day /time for the cardio session.
Bottom Line: It all actually depends on the GOAL you’re training for. But for the majority of the public those who train for muscle growth or fat loss, it’s always better doing it post-workout or allotting a different day/time for it.
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #3 Not having any GOAL and training as per it
“Moving to the gym without a goal is like driving a car without knowing the destination. You would just be driving wasting all of your fuel without specifically achieving anything”.
Sensibly, before stepping in the gym, even keeping 2 goals at a time is like keeping both your feet on different boats.
One of the training principles i.e Principle of “Specificity” concludes that the training should be as per your goal. It states that,
“The change in the body is specific to the type of training undertaken”. In simple words, the results follow particularly in terms of your training GOAL.
If you are training particularly for strength, obviously you would increase mainly your strength, not endurance.
Working on your biceps wouldn’t result in the growth of your chest muscles, that’s common sense!
Bottom Line: Whether its muscle growth, preserving the muscles & strength, or fat loss, have a definite goal which gives you a clear picture of the way you’re heading to.
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #4 No Progression Overload
I have already made an article on Progression Overload and how it is the most important thing in terms of getting results at the gym.
Your body doesn’t know whether you are doing a bench press, shoulder press, or any XYZ workout. It just feels the tension/stimulus placed upon it.
This stress you gradually need to increase it in terms of getting consistent results.
If you keep progressing ahead by putting more stress and load on the muscles, the body compensates by making them stronger and bigger over time. It keeps progressing in order to break the adaptation.
Bottom Line: Irrespective of your goal, you gotta strive for progression every time you workout.
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #5 Mind to Muscle Connection
You gotta put and engage your mind on the muscle that you’re working on. Swinging weights like a piece of cake and simultaneously talking to people means you ain’t focussed and serious enough!
You don’t want to move the weights just for getting the reps done. Instead, you gotta feel every single rep with squeeze and contraction. This is the basic key every bodybuilder follows.
That’s why they say, “Put your mind on the muscle boy”
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #6 Not Tracking Your Progress
Nowadays instead of focussing on such basic fundamentals, people are too focussed on unnecessary things.
Even I never tracked my progress, neither focussed on progression overload most of my life. The results were obviously never shown. It was just like me going to the gym, moving some weights, and coming back!
Keeping a log of the weights/sets/reps of an exercise you lifted doesn’t take much time to save it on your phone’s notes. Tracking your progress even includes progress of your own body in terms of weight, measurements, checking out your physique in the mirror, etc.
This will let you know where you stand and about your strengths & weaknesses which is must for improvement.
Suppose you lifted a plate of 25 kgs for 10 reps last week, now you know that you gotta strive for lifting more than 25kgs this week if you have kept a record.
Clicking before & after pics is also a very good way to keep improvising ahead. Aspire to become a better version of yourself every time and work on it.
For keeping a watch on my weight, I have personally kept a weighing scale at home. I have also developed a habit of checking my body in the mirror every day.
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #7 Changing Your Workouts too Often (Shock the Muscles right?)
Even I was one of those who did this same mistake of jumping on new workouts every time.
And guess what? I missed out on the most important aspect of making gains “Progressive Overload”. Yes, about which I just mentioned above. I gotta mention this again and again as that’s how the whole of your results are based upon!
How would you progress in a particular exercise if you keep adding the new ones again and again? Also, there are thousands of exercises and tons of variations of every single muscle you can apply. Will you keep changing trains every now and then to reach your destination?
By changing your workouts too often, you won’t be able to keep a record of certain exercises which you have been doing and progressively improving on.
What about adaptation but? The body adapts to the exercises we do right?
In order to not let your body adapt to the same weights/rep ranges/sets which you do, you just need to follow the progressive overload principle.
The shocking concepts (including TUT training) come into the play when you’re an advanced lifter, been doing the traditional workouts since years, and now your body has plateaued.
Plateau is the stage where your body has become stagnant and no more responding with the results.
Remember that the plateau occurs if you stop challenging the muscles following the progressive overload principle.
Adding different fancy workouts just to grab the attention of the gym-bros and to stand out in the crowd doesn’t make sense!!!
Bottom Line: Changes in the workouts should always be done when needed (depending upon goal).
You can surely periodize and incorporate your workouts, but the primary aim should be progressively overloading considering your goal in the mind.
As long as you’re following the progressive overload principle, you’re good to go with!
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #8 Not Carrying Your Napkin
Not carrying your napkin? Basic gym etiquette bro. FUNNY but maintaining hygiene is the most basic thing which many fail to follow.
They use the machines/benches and just go away when they’re done. When you come over to use it, all you see is the splash of SWEAT running over the bench!
It’s a TURN-OFF (even for the girls).
Imagine you using the bench without a napkin, all sweaty, and a HOT CHICK arrives to use it after you. Yeah go ahead, you will absolutely impress her sweeping it with your hands!!
Take this as a bro tip and don’t mess it up. Thank me later. This thing is disgusting not only for you but also for the rest of the members at the gym.
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #9 Not Carrying Your Water Bottle
Walking to the water-filter after hitting a set every time doesn’t really go well. Be smart enough to carry your own water bottle and keep it along with you while working out.
This would save your inter-set time making you check your phones and also doing other unnecessary stuff.
I always find some of the gymbros walking towards the water-filter and getting indulged in chitchatting & birdwatching. This is a big time-waster between the sets:)
Not staying hydrated enough can result in fatigue, headache, and severe muscle cramps! Also, your focus will take a dip.
Carry your own water bottle and keep sipping water after every set.
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #10 Ego Lifting – Heavy Heavy Baby !!
What’s the point of using weights which you can’t command? Definition of heavy may vary for everyone. My heaviest lift could be easier for you and not as heavy. This is because of the individual difference. We all are different.
Let yourself lift the weights, not your EGO.
If you’re going heavy beyond a point where it comprises your workout form with those wobbly reps – you are EGO LIFTING.
This kills all the purpose of engaging/hitting that particular working muscle. Nothing can be dangerous than ego lifting. Absolute chances of injuries increases.
Even the advance lifters take certain precautions for their safety whether it’s in the terms of keeping
a spotter along with them or using safety straps & belts. This brings me to the mistake no. 9.
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #11 Not using Spotter/Gym trainer during HEAVY ASS SETS!
Just like me, you may one of those training alone without a partner. When you’re pushing through your limits with all of those loads getting that extra rep, supervision is much needed!
Having someone beside you to give you that support when necessary is always a smart move.
Also, he will motivate you during the set helping you to push more and get those last extra reps. Use them as encouragement.
Not using a spotter/gym trainer especially during your heaviest lifts could turn into a tragedic ‘gym fails’. Who knows you would be all over the internet being a meme material then?
Bottom Line: Keep your ego aside and ask someone to stand next to you. Using a spotter or asking someone for help won’t decrease the size of your guns!!
In fact assistance and the desired touch during the set may help you to achieve greater gains.
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #12 Neglecting Proper Form
Doing partial reps on purpose is a different story and it has its own place.
But just swinging the weights neglecting the proper form and range of motion is a BIG NO!
I have seen many of them just moving & bouncing their knees on a leg press machine. I’m like bro, What the ef? I’m still waiting for that 1st rep to happen.
Bottom Line: Use proper form and range of motion. Focus on the contraction and SQUEEZE of the movement.
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #13 Always Using Light Weights
Well, heavy and lightweights both have their own place in training. They both specifically target different muscle fiber types. You can check out about the types of muscle growth and muscle fibers in one of my article.
But using lighter weights in which you can go berserk doing super high-reps ignoring heavy lifts won’t do much if your aim is to achieve an awesome physique naturally.
Emphasize more on heavy lifting – remember progression overload?
Unless your goal is ENDURANCE, you shouldn’t aim at going super high on the reps every time using lighter weights.
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #14 Ignoring Weight Training (Cardio Baby)
Stop being a lazy bum! No matter whether your goal is to gain muscle or lose body fat, Never ignore weight training.
In fact, you should be prioritizing weight training over cardio.
Weight training has shown to increase your metabolism even when you have finished your workout. Your metabolism is elevated up to 48 hours. It is due to the EPOC effect which stands for Excess Post-Oxygen Consumption.
Yes, you will be burning more calories even while sitting at home or sleeping.
Also, More the muscles = higher the calories you burn.
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #15 Ignoring Free-Weights
Whether it is doing squats or chest presses, using machines every time is not the answer! No doubt machines are indeed amazing for the beginners to develop that foundation.
But it’s all you and your muscles getting the load and stimulus in free weights, whereas it’s not the case while using machines. A little bit of ease and assistant is always provided by the machine making the exercise little easier comparatively.
Free Weights = Higher Recruitment of Muscle Fibers
Do what’s right for the body, not what is easy!
Why not get the best of both worlds? Using a combination of both is a smart approach to make. Ignoring free weights over machines isn’t.
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #16 Doing hundreds of CRUNCHES for Abs
Have you come across a saying called,
“Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym”.
This is 100% true. In fact, any muscle is made and sculpted in the kitchen. At the gym, we just tear them down.
Nutrition PART should be on point.
First of all, you need to know that spot reduction is not possible but yes you can definitely emphasize more on that particular muscle. But if you are doing it to reduce your belly/body fat, you are wasting your time brother.
I have said this hundred of times and let me say this again, CALORIE DEFICIT.
A calorie deficit diet will help you to do that reducing the overall fat of your body including the belly fat which sadly takes more time comparatively.
That’s the reason they call it stubborn fat. You can definitely use those ab workouts in conjunction with a calorie deficit diet!
Also how would be those abs muscles be visible when they are covered with a chunk of flab?
If you fall into this category, then definitely lowering down your body fat levels should be the goal.
But being a couch potato chugging on those cokes and fries and daily sweating on those hundreds of crunches is the most fooling thing one can do!
Everything single thing works in synergy!
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #17 Copying Anyone’s Workout/Diet
Copying your favorite person’s workout whose physique you admire the most doesn’t work.
Remember about the individual difference which I told in mistake no.9 (Ego Lifting)?
In simple words every individual out there is different. His goal may be different. His body weight, age, metabolism, height, hormones, etc. would all be different than yours.
And this mistake people even do outside the gym→ For God sake stop asking diet charts to the people or copying it from the internet.
Now imagine you trying to follow PHIL HEALTH’S diet – will you get that big? No need to answer it, we all know. Imitating professionals or any other person is foolishness. Could also turn into a disaster.
One size doesn’t fit all.
Instead of doing trial and errors, rather hire a coach/mentor who will customize your nutrition and workout plans as per your body goals and requirements!
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #18 Taking too longer Rest Periods between Sets
Rest periods between the sets are one of the important over-looked variables.
Interset rest periods are crucial to promote performance for the next set, use them wisely. This doesn’t justify taking long breaks between the sets.
Scrolling Instagram and Facebook feeds mid sets won’t give If you sweeter results. Maintain discipline and remember the purpose of what you are there for!
Rest periods between the sets depends upon the goal you’re training for and the type of exercise you’re doing (Heavy compound lifts or isolation ones).
Without going too deeper scientifically let me be cut to the chase,
Longer rest periods (around 4-5 minutes) would only do good to you if you are mainly training for explosive STRENGTH gains or you’re a powerlifter.
A study showed that longer- moderate (around 3 minutes) interset rest periods showed greater strength and muscle gains compared to shorter (45secs-1minute) rest periods. This was because the people who took longer-moderate rest periods achieved more total work i.e the overall work on the muscles.
Shorter rest periods around 30secs-1minute creates more metabolic stress and burn in the muscles which is one of the variables of muscle growth. Also if you’re looking out for some massive pumps and increased vascularity, you can try shorter rest periods.
But whether the PUMP builds muscle or not is whole of a different story which you can read it in this article
(could be better if your goal is only and only FAT LOSS). You can do this you are not training very heavy focusing on muscle growth.
Taking breaks longer than 5 minutes will cause your body to cool down which won’t be a desiring thing in terms of lifting heavy ass weights and it will also increase the chances of injury.
This is no hard and fast rule of taking exactly 3 minutes of rest every set.
But generally around 2mins interset rest periods for single-joint isolation exercises and around 3 minutes for multi-joint compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, etc. are sufficient and good to go with.
Also, moderate rest periods would help in progression overload achieving greater overall work done as you would be able to lift more weight for more sets/reps.
You can even periodize incorporating shorter rest periods (around 45-1min) for the single joint exercises which are less taxing for that “increased metabolic stress” having a greater pump and muscle burn.
Work specifically as per your goal and what works best for you.
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #19 Skipping Post-Workout Stretching
Post workout stretching = Quicker recovery = MORE GAINS !!!!
Whether it is the beginning of a workout or the ending, STRETCHING is the most important and neglected part of a workout. It never feels like a mistake so we often make it.
Working out the muscles develop lactic acid in them and even fatigue them which causes a burning sensation in the body and the muscles.
The best advantage of stretching post-workout is that it decreases the soreness the next day to a very great extent and YOU RECOVER very soon comparatively.
You need to cool down your body in order of tapering off your workout session. 5 minutes of slow walking on the treadmill followed by a 5 minutes static stretching is a good way to go. Basically, try stretching out the muscle for holding it 10 to 30secs. Foam rolling after the workout is also very beneficial.
This relaxes your CNS and also helps you slowly getting back your heartbeat to the normal.
It will allow them to repair quicker making them ready for the next workout session!
Formation of lactic acid is the major factor responsible for that muscular pain and inflammation of the muscles you get next day!
Gym Mistakes You Must Avoid #20 Stop Spreading BS!!
‘BS’ we all know it stands for bro-science and bullshit. This one is the much-needed mistake to avoid.
As soon as they get to know something new, they start believing it and throwing it on others spreading misinformation. Without even knowing the facts they become the sheep in the herd.
Instead of doing that, rather try studying things and acquiring knowledge on your own.
People say it’s INTERNET KNOWLEDGE, well it is absolutely fine as long as you’re getting that knowledge from reliable & authentic sources. Knowledge is knowledge no matter whether you get it from a book or over the internet, its source matters.
Every so-called guruji at the gym would come up with their own theories & beliefs, but FACTS remain FACTS! I agree that everyone has their own approach, but this doesn’t justify spreading the wrong information.
Your trusted source should be ‘SCIENCE’ which keeps evolving instead of any tom, dick and harry at the gym. Yeah, don’t trust me either, but trust the science.
Such misinformation and BS was the major reason for me to come out with this fitness blog in India.
Real Science✔ over
It’s an initiative to educate you as much I can with whatever scientific knowledge I acquire and possess, in a simplified way. Let’s EDUCATE, GROW, and EMPOWER!
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