When it comes to achieving your fitness goals, mistakes can be costly. I’ve been a trainer and in the fitness realm for a decade now. I’ve made many of these common fitness mistakes myself and continue to see them far too often.
In this blog post, I’ll discuss the top five workout mistakes that could impede your progress and offer tips on how to avoid them. Read on to learn what the biggest fitness mistakes are so you can stay on track to meet your fitness goals!
1) Not warming up properly
Not warming up properly before physical activity is a common mistake that can increase the risk of injury and impact the quality of your workouts. The purpose of a warm up is to increase blood flow to the muscles, raise body temperature, and improve flexibility and range of motion.
In my early fitness days I rarely did a proper warm up. I paid the price with annoying injuries and sometimes less than optimal workouts. Don’t make the same mistake!
There are many different ways to warm up, and the specific activities you choose will depend on the type of exercise you are about to do. Some options include light cardio (such as jogging or walking), dynamic stretches (such as leg swings or arm circles), and specific movements that mimic the activity you will be doing (such as bodyweight squats before adding heavier weights).
A warm-up should last for at least 5-10 minutes and gradually increase in intensity. Skipping the warm-up or doing a brief or insufficient warm-up can leave the muscles unprepared for the demands of the workout and increase the risk of injury.
2) Not challenging yourself
Not challenging yourself during physical activity is a common fitness mistake beginners make that can slow or stall your fitness progress.
Many clients and friends I’ve trained often assume they are weaker than they really are or that a certain exercise was too challenging without even trying it out. I’m not suggesting you overwork yourself or push past your limits. But don’t sell yourself short!
In order to continue to improve and get stronger, it is important to gradually increase the difficulty of your workouts. Here are some other ways you can continue to challenge yourself and see progress.
- Increasing the weight or resistance used: As your muscles get stronger, it’s important to gradually increase the weight or resistance you use to continue challenging them.
- Increasing the number of reps or sets: As you get stronger, you may be able to complete more reps or sets of an exercise. Gradually increasing the number of reps or sets can help continue to challenge your muscles.
- Adding variety to your workouts: Mixing up your workouts now and then and trying new activities can help keep things interesting, prevent boredom, and help you continue to see progress.
- Incorporating more intense exercises: As you get stronger, you may be able to add more intense exercises to your workouts, such as plyometrics, lifting heavier weights, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
By gradually increasing the intensity or difficulty of your workouts, you can continue to challenge your muscles and see progress in your fitness!
3) Not using proper form
Using proper form during physical activity is important for maximizing the effectiveness of your workouts and minimizing the risk of injury. Proper form refers to the alignment and movement of the body during exercise. It can vary depending on the specific activity you are doing, but in general, proper form involves:
- Maintaining good posture: Keep your shoulders back, chest lifted, and core engaged to maintain good alignment and balance.
- Using full range of motion: Don’t cut corners or cheat on reps! Use the full range of motion for each exercise to get the most out of your workouts.
- Keeping joints in proper alignment: Pay attention to the position of your joints during exercises. For example, when doing bicep and tricep exercises focus on keeping your elbow and arm at 90 degrees and not swinging the weight.
- Using controlled movements: Avoid using momentum or swinging motions to lift or move weights. Instead, use controlled movements to engage the muscles effectively.
Understanding and using proper form often comes with practice. Use mirrors to check your form often. If you have questions, seek a professional for help or find free educational videos on YouTube.
4) Not cooling down
Not cooling down after physical activity is another common fitness mistake that can lead to muscle soreness and stiffness. It can help reduce muscle fatigue, flush out waste products from the muscles, and lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Like a warm-up, there are many different ways to cool down, and the specific activities you choose will depend on the type of exercise you have just completed. Some options include light cardio (such as walking or cycling), static stretches (such as holding a stretch for a longer amount of time), and foam rolling or other types of self-massage.
A cool-down should last for at least 5-10 minutes and gradually decrease in intensity. Skipping the cool-down or doing a brief or insufficient cool-down can leave the muscles fatigued and increase the risk of muscle soreness and stiffness.
5) Not recovering properly
Rest and recovery are essential for optimal physical performance and overall health. Skipping rest days , not getting enough sleep, or overtraining can lead to burnout and actually slow your progress.
Take it from me- in my early 20s I rarely took rest days and probably over-exercised most days- doing multiple difficult workouts a day. As a result I actually held onto excess weight and often felt sore and run down.
Don’t get me wrong- it’s good to move your body often and avoid sitting on your butt all day. But you don’t need to spend hours upon hours at the gym or do multiple intense workouts every day.
Some of my favorite ways to recover are hydrating with water and minerals, taking epsom baths, using my portable infrared sauna, walking outside, gentle stretching, and getting shoulder massages from my hubby.
I hope you learn from my mistakes and my experience and avoid these common fitness mistakes! Which one do you need to work on the most? If you like this post be sure to share it on Pinterest!