I see a lot of mistakes in the gym, hard to narrow it down to just 5 (I try to mind my own business but……I sometimes get distracted). The gym is a very busy place this time of year. The flood gates open after the new year and the gym is empty again in March. Why? I think a lot of it is because people are intimidated, don’t know what to do or who to ask to learn, so eventually they get bored of doing the same old crap and they quit. So here are a few pointers in case you are interested.
- Don’t Play it safe-
Ego has no place in the gym. When we are afraid to look stupid we don’t try new things and when we don’t try new things we don’t progress. Nobody is judging you, They are all too busy worrying about themselves. I try 2 or 3 new things a week just to challenge myself. That being said, I wouldn’t go out and try something without reading about it first, so look some stuff up. Remove your own apprehension, it won’t kill you I promise. Important to note that if you don’t change it up and keep your body guessing you limit your results. Personally, I want to get better all the time, I want to keep progressing, I always want to have fun so I try new things all the time. Some I keep and some I throw out but I try a lot of stuff on for size.
- Talking too much-
The gym is a social place and that’s good, that helps us stay motivated to get there but, there is a time and a place for everything. Most people find their way to the gym because they want to change either their performance or their appearance. We need to put in some work, get our heart rates up and get the muscles moving. We can’t get our heart rates up by working our jaws. We need to move and get our muscles warm and once they are warm, keep them warm. The blood needs to stay in the muscle to make it all work. Rest times are as important as the actual exercise. Watch the clock! Talk while you are stretching or foam rolling not while you are working out.
- Cardio first (and Primarily)-
I see this all the time. The cardio part of the gym is always full. Why? I think it’s easier and not intimidating, you turn on a machine and off you go into the land of mind numbing steady state cardio. Doing 15 minutes of strength after all that cardio won’t get you where you want to be. Strength exercises really should be done first as they require more energy. Cardio is best done afterwards as it helps with recovery.
3.5- On the cardio tip BTW, don’t overdo the cardio. People overdo cardio because the thought is to “burn calories” I prefer to think of using the calories, they fuel a good workout. I don’t want to burn them off, I want to use them. I see people overdo cardio all the time or not understanding the role of cardio as part of a complete program. Overdoing cardio makes us burn muscle as well as fat which gives us a “skinny fat” appearance instead of a toned appearance. I have yet to meet someone who said that they would prefer a skinny fat appearance to a toned body.
- Short Range of Motion–
I call this the comfort zone. It’s better to decrease the weight you are using and go for a full range of motion than to use a short range of motion with a heavy weight. I seriously try not to watch too much of what others are doing in the gym because really, I am there for myself. But, sometimes I can’t help but notice. I think the reason I notice this mistake more than others is because it is such an easy one for me to make. If I am not careful I can start to go through the motions on an exercise without really getting my brain involved. I have to consciously focus on what muscles I am using. I think of the stretch, the contraction, the insertion point of the muscle. Focusing on those things help me work a good range of motion and then I get the most out of each exercise.
5. Expecting results yesterday, IMPATIENCE-
Unfortunately, the fitness industry lies to us and makes us believe that fitness is about looking like the person on the videos they are trying to sell us. Then when we try for a month and we don’t look like the person on the video we quit, we never even give ourselves a chance to evolve and really get into the fun part of fitness. Fitness IS NOT about getting a perfect body it’s a process. I have worked with so many people over the years who think that results can happen overnight if we do what they say. IT CANT! The best part of working out is the feeling you get when you realize that you are getting stronger, the feeling you get when you see new muscle definition, that feeling you get when you are finally able to do that exercise that you always saw that dude in the gym do and you never thought you could do it. This is a process. We have to work on it, have fun with it. Yes it takes time, a lot of time but what’s the rush? Life has no finish line we are meant to continually evolve.