From absolute gym beginners to seasoned workout experts, we all make mistakes sometimes. And while some errors can be forgiven, others could actually counteract your workout or leave you at risk of injury.
We’ve taken a look at some of the most common gym mistakes that could impact your workout goals or put them at risk of potential harm.
From neglecting the warm up to fueling incorrectly, here’s what you need to avoid when you’re working out…
Skipping your gym induction
You might be a gym regular, but skipping your gym induction if you’re starting a new gym is a big mistake. The induction will help you with the basics of the machines and explain what they’re used for. As well as this, you’ll be offered key advice and knowledge from fully-trained staff, who can answer any questions you might have.
They can also give you a breakdown of the different classes available and which ones will be best to help you reach your fitness goals. Trust us - it’s an invaluable session that will help you on your journey.
Fitness First members can also get help and advice all throughout their membership - not just at the beginning. So whether you need some guidance on how to use a machine or you’re looking for a smarter way to workout, a member of our team will be happy to help you.
Neglecting your warm-up
We know how tempting it is to jump straight into it when it comes to a workout, but skipping your warm-up is one of the most damaging things you can do at the gym. The right type of warm-up will work wonders for your workout routine as it will greatly reduce your risk of injury, increase blood flow, aid your flexibility and prepare you mentally for what’s ahead.
A good warmup only takes five to 10-minutes and will improve the overall quality of your workout. Concentrate on cardio and range-of-motion exercises like jumping jacks and lunges, or a light jog and stretches.
Going in too hard
We know it’s tempting to try and match those around you and everyone wants a quick win, but loading the bar with more plates than you can handle is a recipe for disaster.
Attempting to lift more than you can handle can result in bad form and can lead to injury. Maximal training is a form of weightlifting that can help you gain results, but doing it in every session on every set will just result in over-exhaustion which will lead to inconsistent progress.
Remember, it’s not about how heavy you can lift or how many reps you can do. It’s about performing with a full range of motion to work the muscles fully, which means you’ll end up with much better results.
Too much aerobic activity
Many people at the gym fall into the trap of hitting cardio hard and neglecting strength training when their goal is to lose weight or slim down. If you want to shed the pounds, your first instinct may be to jump on the treadmill. This will, of course, help you burn calories, but you may not see the results you want.
Lifting weights will help you tone up become leaner and healthier. Among women, there is sometimes a fear of “bulking up” with weightlifting and strength training. In reality, women do not have the same body composition as men and don’t possess enough testosterone to “bulk up” in the way they fear.
So grab a barbell and get involved in some strength training classes if you want to lose weight and you’re looking for a place to start.
Not tracking your workouts properly
So, you’re ensuring you’re warming up properly, not lifting too heavy, and doing a healthy mix of cardio and strength training. So why aren't you seeing results?
One of the biggest mistakes we see people make is not tracking their workouts properly. If you’re not keeping track of your weights, reps, sets and exercises, you’ll end up with an inconsistent training plan and won’t be able to track what’s giving you the results you want.
Keep track of what you’re doing so you can increase your volume or repetition each week. Forgetting to keep track will simply result in you blindly increasing, which will lead to inconsistent results.
Expecting results too soon
We make the decision to start at the gym or increase our workout because we want to see results. We want to make a change, whether that’s losing weight, building muscle or getting leaner.
Once we’ve made the decision to make a change, it’s easy to start dreaming about the results. When they don’t happen straight away, it’s so easy to get demotivated. However, it can take about four weeks of regular, consistent workout to build strength, and around six weeks to actually see changes in your appearance.
This can feel like a long time, but it’s important not to lose motivation and give up. Trust the process and stick with your plan and you will begin to see changes, on top of feeling stronger and healthier.
Finally, you can do absolutely everything right in the gym, from pacing to measurement, but if you don’t fuel your workouts correctly, you won’t see results as quick or as strong as you could do.
Ensure you eat a balanced and healthy diet including carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats day-to-day. Take a look at our nutrition page for some inspiration. You can also aid your fitness journey with dedicated sports nutrition such as pre-working supplements, whey protein and mass gainers.
If you’re looking to get started on your fitness journey why not try out one of our Fitness First gyms for free with a three-day guest pass? Or if you’re already a member and looking to improve your fitness, speak to one of our brilliant personal trainers who can create a detailed, bespoke workout plan to help you reach your goals.