The 10 most common mistakes in the gym that are basically nothing more than common sense issues that find a solution immediately…

No matter how many times the subject of “Common Gym Mistakes” has been discussed. You will almost always hear or read the same themes repeated. Such as poor form, overtraining, not putting on a lot of weight, warming up blah blah blah… In a strangely ironic way though, you’ll rarely hear about common sense errors. Things that, if you start to analyze them, you will see that it is just common sense to avoid them, yet we see them happening again and again. Some you do yourself without even knowing it!

But before we start looking at them one by one, we would like to emphasize that we believe that only 1% of your time should be spent on problems and 99% should be on solutions. So, in that spirit, after bringing every “mistake” to the surface, we’ll also suggest a solution to help you avoid messing around in the gym once and for all.

Mistake 1: Doing whatever…

“Whatever” means you have no goals – written or even imagined, no plan, no calendar, and no method to remember what you have and what you want to do in the gym. You just walk into the room and rush to whatever machine shines or happens to be available, or you just do what you did last week, having lost all sense of progress and improvement.

Common sense: Develop a plan

Successful people always have a plan. Strategic planning is a never-ending process and includes:

a) Assessment (where am I now?)

b) Setting goals (where do I want to go?)

c) Creating a plan (how will I achieve it?)

d) Executing a plan (what action steps do I need to take every day to reach my goal?)

e) Measure results (how will I know if I am moving towards my goal and how can I know when I have reached it?).

Mistake 2: Doing the same exercises without progress

Doing the same exercises without progress

In one sense, repeating the same workout is important – this is called “consistency”. Consistency means that in order to experience an adaptive response (bigger muscles, more strength, fat loss, and all the other good stuff). There has to be a repetition or a certain amount of regularity over a long enough period of time to enable the adaptive response and reap the full benefits of your workouts. This kind of repetition is good.

The mistake is when you do the same exercises, the same reps, with the same weight all the time, every week. Without ever challenging yourself or pushing yourself to do more than you’ve done before. If your muscles could express themselves they would yawn!

Common sense: Be better than yesterday

Muscle growth, strength, and endurance all take place when you place additional challenges on your body above and beyond what it has previously experienced. Your body responds to this progressive overload by becoming stronger in order to handle this type of load in the future.

Your goal in almost every workout should be to surpass the previous workout. If you can’t add more weight, it could be as simple as one more set with the same weight, or the same sets/reps/weights in less time. It could also mean a slimmer more on the bike, a higher level on the Stairmaster, or half a percent more incline on the treadmill.

Mistake 3: Starving yourself to lose fat


A small calorie deficit is the only way to lose body fat. But when calories are cut or kept too low for too long, your body thinks you’re killing it. And sets in motion a series of metabolic and hormonal reactions that ultimately lead to muscle loss, a slow metabolism, and a drop in strength.

Your body is like a power plant or a blast furnace, and when you don’t feed the fire, your “metabolic” flame gets smaller, producing less heat and less energy. That’s why not eating enough and properly is one of the biggest mistakes.

Common sense: By eating more, you burn more

Has it ever occurred to you that if you exercise more, you can eat more (within reason)? And that this is one of the more effective fat loss strategies than eating less and exercising less. To lose body fat, you must create a calorie deficit. The deficit can be created by a higher-intensity exercise, a lower-calorie diet, or – ideally – a combination of the two.

The best combination of all is a small reduction in calories accompanied by a large increase in physical activity. Think of it as an equation: Cutting calories slows your metabolism. Increasing calories increase your metabolism. Physical exercise increases your metabolism. That is: If you eat more and exercise more = a double increase in metabolism. If you eat less and don’t exercise = double the reduction of metabolism. That’s all.

Mistake 4: Skipping workouts

Skipping workouts

The transformation of the body does not happen in a week and not with two or three magic pills. It is the cumulative result of hundreds of successful training sessions. Each workout brings you a small step closer to your goal. Every missed workout takes you a small step back.

Most people underestimate the cumulative power of each small step. They think, “Take it easy… it’s just a workout.” Consider this: If you work out 4 times a week and it’s going to take you, say, 52 weeks to reach your goal, then if you “skip” a day in the week each time. It will still take you 13 weeks (or about 3 extra months) to reach your goal! And that’s a lot!

Common sense: Discipline and consistency

Not only are you going to fall—if not in the first week, certainly in the months to come—far behind your goals when you skip even one more scheduled workout, but perhaps the most devastating effect will be on your mind and character. Every time you successfully complete a planned workout, you build discipline and self-esteem.

When your self-esteem increases, it makes you feel great, and this stimulates a positive self-feeding cycle of even greater discipline, confidence, and energy. Everything you do helps or hurts a piece. That’s why every workout counts, even a moderate one.

Also read: First day at the gym | 11 Pro tips

Mistake 5: Neglecting your weaknesses

Most people have a favorite body part or a favorite exercise. But playing with your favorite spots or the ones you feel strongest can lead to big problems. An unbalanced, asymmetrical physique is one of them. And if the asymmetry continues it can lead to poor posture, muscle dysfunction, pulls, cramps, and bruises.

Common sense: Train for both aesthetics and functionality

“Symmetry” serves more than elegance and beauty. Training for functional balance, avoiding injury, and maintaining optimal muscle function is of utmost importance for any athlete or bodybuilder.

Every movement, every range, and every angle should be trained with the same intensity: Flexors should be balanced with extensors. Pull-ups and push-ups. Principal, as well as antagonist and stabilizer muscles, should be strengthened in balance. And if you see that you are not improving in one area, don’t ignore it. Make it hurt!

Mistake 6: Using only machines

Okay, so you sign up at the gym and on day one go hit those shiny hi-tech machines with the weird handles and pulleys, far… far away from the bars, dumbbells, and uprights for an easy and safe workout.

Common sense: The only effective exercises are those performed with free weights

You already know that. Why don’t you? Have you seen any beast toiling on the shoulder machine? If so, then it would be for warm-up or at the end of his training. Do you want to become beasts? Lift heavy weights. Free weights. Do you think the machines are safe? Learn how machines don’t train stabilizer muscles. This means that they do not develop any functional force. This means that in the long run, they are not safe. How much more, efficient? Machines, pulleys, and general isolation exercises are great when done at the end of a workout for a little extra burn.

Mistake 7: No psychological preparation

This mistake goes hand-in-hand with the #1 mistake, as failing to develop a serious training plan is the same as psychological preparation. It is not only the creation of a program that will help you achieve your goals, but also the psychological background that will help you visualize each time what your training will be like.

Common sense: Do the whole workout in your head

Athletes such as Arnold Schwarzenneger, Jack Nicklaus, and Andre Agassi have written and spoken extensively about the daily use of visualizing their training. You don’t need any special training to do it. Just “plan” all the training you have to do, in your mind. Think about what exercises and how many sets you have to perform and imagine yourself doing them. The process of visualization alone will lift your spirits and give you extra motivation to give your best.

Mistake 8: No food after training

Not eating right after your workout (or letting 2 and 3 hours pass) because a) you haven’t prepared anything, b) you don’t feel like eating, or c) you’ve heard that it will make you lose weight, is one of the worst mistakes you can make.

Common sense: The post-workout meal is probably the most important meal of the day

Much ink has been spilled regarding post-workout nutrition. Some say that we should consume a lot of carbohydrates to replenish blood glycogen levels, while others argue that fast-absorbing protein sources are more important. And while the appropriate percentages vary from person to person and from goal to goal (and from research to research…), the best thing to do is to get a balanced amount of protein and carbohydrates because both are equally important for protein synthesis, controlling cortisol, replenishing glycogen and improving the body’s recovery rate.

Mistake 9: Comparing yourself to others

There is nothing worse than compulsive comparison. It is the surest path to low self-esteem and a constant feeling of unsatisfiedness that in the end there is nothing for one to do but give up.

Common sense: So what?

It is a law that wherever you look you will see someone better than you. But that doesn’t mean anything. Consider that for some you are the object of comparison. The only person you will compete to become will always be the person you see in the mirror every day. This is the “monster” you will have to defeat.

Mistake 10: Excuses

Too many people blame others when they don’t see the results they want. “The diet they suggested isn’t good”, “my family doesn’t support me”, “my friends beat me up”, “the chick dumped me”, “the boss is a jerk”, “I don’t even have time to h* *oh”, “doesn’t matter”, “f**k my DNA”, “it’s too cold”, “no, now it’s too hot”, “no, now too humid”. The problem of justification is rooted in a lack of will.

Common sense: Take 100% responsibility for what happens to you

It’s the secret of every successful person – and not just in the gym. Responsibility and will are the two elements that will help you achieve your goals without complaints and excuses. Once you realize that you and only you are in control of your life and actions, you will understand that there is no room for excuses, only for more effort.


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