Top 5 Gym Mistakes

Posted On Jul 25, 2013 By Tom Holland

Cycling group class

Having spent more than two decades working in every type of gym and even owning one myself for a few years, the number of people working out incorrectly never ceases to amaze me. Many people fail to see results because they're making one or all of the following most common workout mistakes:

1. DOING THE SAME ROUTINE

When I go to the gym, it’s exactly like the movie Groundhog Day - I see the same people doing the exact same workouts, day in and day out, often for months and even years on end. Their program never changes, and thus their bodies never change either. It’s Exercise Science 101: Our body adapts quickly to any stress we impose upon it. If we do not change that stress frequently, we will fail to see change.

Modifying our routines every four weeks or so will ensure that our bodies receive the stimulus necessary to bring about results. Changing your program is not only good for you physically, but essential mentally as well, helping to prevent boredom and burnout.

2. LIFTING WEIGHTS THAT ARE TOO HEAVY 

Many men lift weights that are far too heavy. They are more concerned about their egos than getting real results. This not only dramatically diminishes their results, but it also greatly increases the chance of injury. Weights that are too heavy, force the exerciser to use momentum that minimizes the muscular time-under-tension or the quality of the movement. By decreasing the weight and slowing the repetition down, results will be increased exponentially.

3. LIFTING WEIGHTS THAT ARE TOO LIGHT 

The unfounded “fear of bulk” prevents countless women from achieving their best bodies. If the weight is not challenging when you reach 10 to 15 repetitions, it is not a great enough stimulus to elicit real changes in your musculature. Women simply do not have the levels of hormones, like testosterone, necessary to truly bulk up, and thus will achieve their best bodies by lifting challenging weight.

4. PERFORMING CARDIO AT TOO LOW AN INTENSITY

When it comes to weight loss it really does comes down to simple math: namely, energy intake and energy expenditure. Far too many people waste time exercising at extremely low intensities on cardio equipment, resulting in caloric expenditure of only a few hundred calories at best. Increasing the intensity by means of faster speed, more resistance, greater incline and interval work will torch significantly more calories than low-intensity steady-state cardio, resulting in much greater weight loss.

5. SPENDING FAR TOO MUCH TIME DOING ABDOMINAL EXERCISES

I have a very simple rule: You should spend no more than 10% of your total workout time performing abdominal exercises. So if you're working out for an hour, you should spend roughly 6 minutes doing crunches, planks, etc. while at the gym. Flat abs are achieved through healthy eating and cardiovascular exercise, not by slogging through hundreds of mindless ab exercises. Your time is much better spent lifting weights and building lean muscle that will raise your metabolism and burn calories 24 hours a day. Take advantage of the equipment at the gym that you paid for. If you want to do additional core exercises, do them at home.