As an independent personal trainer I spend many hours each week in different gyms. No matter where I go, I see people making the same mistakes. They don’t realize it, but these mistakes are holding them back from reaching their goals—and are easily fixable! Here is a list of the top five common mistakes I see people make over and over.
- Doing endless crunches hoping for a six-pack. The problem in most cases is that their body fat is too high to show any muscle in this area. Their time in the gym would be much better spent doing compound moves such as squats, bent over rows, deadlifts, and regular cardio. Also, following a diet that will help you strip away the fat and reveal the muscle underneath is CRUCIAL.
- Doing cardio only and no resistance training. Cardio alone is going to basically give you a smaller version of your current physique. With resistance training you are able to actually change your proportions and how your physique looks. A combination of both cardio and resistance training in the gym will deliver excellent results when combined with a proper diet.
- Being afraid to lift heavy weights. People, women especially, are afraid to lift heavy weights because they want to “tone” and not get bulky. What “tone” actually means is to have low body fat over the muscle. This is achieved by following a nutritional plan, performing cardio regularly and of course resistance training. You will not get bulky by adding resistance training to a regimen that includes a proper diet and cardio.
- Using your workouts as an excuse to overeat. You can spend all day in the gym slaving away doing cardio and lifting weights but the results won’t be there if your diet isn’t supporting your goals. You can work out daily and still gain weight if you are not eating right. A one or even two-hour workout is not going to erase a day of eating junk food. You simply can’t out train a bad diet.
- Doing random workouts. I highly recommend that people new to the gym go there with a set program so they know exactly what to do and which day to do it. This way they will be set up for success and see results. Someone with little experience or knowledge in the gym should not be going in and winging it. They will not know which exercises work which body parts or how to design training splits for proper recovery times. Then, when their results don’t reflect their efforts, they are more likely to lose motivation and quit altogether.