Going to the gym is sacred to most. The way the iron feels in your hands, the way it smells, and the way it feels when you're pushing yourself to the point of failure.
The burning sensations feel oddly great, thinking about smashing a protein shake soon is appealing, and ooh hottie at the squat rack.
To those that are new to the gym or haven't made it past the "occasional gym-goer" status, going to the gym can be confusing. You play around on the treadmill for about 40 minutes like the person next to you, go play with some medicine balls and hit a couple random isolation machines.
While this little bit of exercise may help, if you really want to make progress in the gym, you're going to have to step it up a bit. Below are a few of the most common workout mistakes you should try to avoid.
7 Workout Mistakes and Quick Fixes
Tip #1 - You Don't Follow a Program
Going to the gym and not following a program is kind of like going to work just to be busy and not accomplish anything.
You put a lot of effort into your lifts and you just aren't making any progress... What gives? While trying to emulate whatever workout that jacked person in the corner is doing isn't a bad idea, it isn't going to help you.
Doing random exercises with poor form eventually leads you to bad habits and injury.
- Check out some of our workouts and run with it. Completely sell out to this program and stick to it like a fat kid on cake.
- While hiring a trainer to get some of the basics down, there is plenty of information here at Tiger Fitness to help you achieve your fitness goals.
- Once you find a suitable workout program, take time to warm up before working out. Spending 10 minutes preparing your muscles and nervous system for lifting is important if you want to maintain a pain-free body.
- Log and maintain records of your lifts. Use them as motivation and to keep track of your progress.
- Strive to add weight to the bar every week.
- Stick to the program.
Tip #2 - You're in It for the Six-Pack
Mirror muscles are great. They command attention and they let people know you lift.
But what about those legs and other lagging body parts you skip?
Spending time doing thousands of crunches and posing in front of the mirror isn't healthy physically or mentally. No judgments here.
Instead of focusing on your glamour muscles, look at the bigger picture. Those crunches are not as effective at creating a healthy set of abs as heavy deadlifts, heavy squats, and planks.
Seriously, doing too many crunches and ab work will create an unbalanced physique which will eventually cause injury due to over-development. This is why people who bench all of the time have huge front delts and shoulder problems.
Focus on big and heavy compound lifts first. Once you finish your sets of those, go ahead and finish off the muscles with some isolation movements.
You're just spinning your wheels if you aren't doing compound lifts.
Tip #3 - You Change Routines Frequently
Consistency and progressively overloading how much you lift are the keys to making progress in your fitness journey. Program hopping and other "muscle shocking" methods sound good on paper, but they don't work as well as you think.
Many programs including Madcow 5x5 and other strength-based routines rely on time for you to develop and get stronger. Cutting these programs short only slows progress and makes hitting goals harder.
Spend at least 8 to 12 weeks on a routine before you make the decision to switch or not.
If it ain't broken, don't fix it.
Tip #4 - You Expect Instant Change
It took many years to build the physique you have now, fad diets and things that offer immediate drastic changes do nothing but strip your water weight and make you develop bad eating habits.
The fitness models you are trying to look like have spent years and years on their physique. They've learned what works for them and how to manipulate their macros for their goals.
Unless you can slow your roll and tell yourself this is a lifelong process of being fit and improving your lifestyle, you're going to burn out. Fast.
Tip #5 - You Think Working Out Sucks AnywaysGetting to the gym and throwing some weight around is only half of your battle to getting fit. Maintaining the right mindset and determination is what sets you apart from the average gym goer.
If going to the gym makes you cringe, find other ways to get in shape. Try hiking or finding a sport you can participate in.
If you want to lift but don't have the drive or self-esteem to go by yourself, find a training partner. Bring your partner, your friend, or even your siblings. Whatever it takes to get you into the gym and confidently workout, do it.
Tip #6 - You Don't Warm Up
I used to think warming up was stupid until I tweaked a shoulder. Once I started warming up, I noticed a huge jump in my work output and I noticed many of these small pains I had seemed to go away.
A proper warm-up will get your body temperature up, get some blood flowing, improve mobility, and primes your nervous system to go beast mode.
Take 10 minutes at the start of your session to do some active mobility and aerobic work.
Get your body temperature up and get moving before you start lifting.
Tip #7 - You Use All of Your Energy on Cardio Before You Even Lift
Jumping on the treadmill for 45 minutes before you lift does help you warm up, but it zaps your energy. The goal for pre-workout cardio is to get blood flowing and body temperature up.
Injuries and other careless mistakes can be had when you do your cardio before you lift.
A simple 5-minute brisk walk is plenty before lifting.
Everyone makes mistakes. All of these were things I've personally done and fixing them is easier than you may think.
Pound into your head that consistency and progressively overloading is the key to success. This isn't an overnight process.
Ineffective workouts and spinning your wheels suck. Spend the time to find a decent workout and know exactly why you are doing each movement.
Patience and persistence equal progress. You can't just take a magical pill to get rid of that extra weight.