Have you ever gave it a thought that your exercise routine may not be as perfect as you think it is and you just might be THAT girl in the gym? It is easy to make and repeat the mistakes in your routine, if nobody corrects them, so today we are bringing you 10 most common gym mistakes and how to avoid them.

MISTAKE 1: Too Much Cardio

Doing steady state cardio on machines like the elliptical or the bike is easy, long and boring – exactly what your workout should NOT be. While scientific evidence shows that steady state cardio promotes texting

and reading skills, it fails to demonstrate any evidence of promoting a good looking body (if that’s ALL you do for your workouts).

When your entire workout routine consists of lingering sessions of light jogs, your body is more likely to burn through the muscle. With the reduced muscle mass you are burning less calories and you fat loss suffers.

How to Fix It:

  • Increase your workout intensity, but lower your duration.
  • Try something fun and new (kickboxing, bootcamp class, sprints, or play a new sport like soccer) and continue to switch things up to keep your body guessing.
  • Instead of 45min+ steady state (cardio at a steady pace) elliptical workout try 20mins of interval training such as the following routine:

Pick the one of the following stair master, jump rope or treadmill:

  1. 2 min warm up at a light pace
  2. 1 min moderate pace
  3. 30 secs as hard as you possible can (sprints, high knee skipping or literally running on the steps of the stair master)
  4. Repeat #2 and 3 six times
  5. Finish with another 2 mins at a light pace for a cool down

MISTAKE #2: Weight Training

This is probably the biggest mistake you can make if you want your body composition to change.  Weight training, makes your body tight and firm, builds lean muscle which makes you appear smaller as muscle takes up less space than fat in your body.  And don’t worry ladies, you will not “bulk up” and look like Popeye.

So, plan your workout to do your weight training first, when you are feeling fresh and strong.  Pick up the maximum amount of weight that you can do for 10 to 15 reps. Beginners should start and aim for 15 reps, and more advanced individuals for 8 to 10 reps. The last two reps should feel almost impossible to perform.  Your heart rate should be up, because you are pushing that hard. Rest and repeat for 2-3 more sets (beginners should do 2 sets more advanced 3-4 sets).

How to Fix It:

MISTAKE #3: Timing – Cardio before weight training

Doing your cardio session before weights will tire you out and you will not have sufficient energy to do an intense weight training workout.

How to Fix It:
Always plan to do your weight training first, or do your cardio sessions on a separate day.

MISTAKE #4 Order of your exercises
Always train your biggest muscles first. Bigger muscle groups require more energy and burn more calories. Exercising them at the beginning of your workout will ensure that you burn the most amount of calories.

How to Fix It

Focus on training big muscles like back, chest and legs using compound exercises first (lat pulldown, chest press, squats), before smaller muscle groups like biceps, triceps, shoulders, or using isolated exercises like leg extension, bicep curls, tricep press etc)

MISTAKE #5 Not having a plan

Walking into a gym without a clue what you will be doing that day equals wasted time. You never heard about a diet that tells you to eat whatever you want, right? You must have a plan, for the week, for the month and how you will change things up going forward.

How to Fix It:

Keep track of your weights and reps preformed and change them weekly. For example if you did bicep curls with 8lbs dumbbells for 15 reps this week, aim to use 10lbs the following week even if you do only 8reps. The next week use 10lbs again and aim for 9 reps, and every week like that until you get to 15 reps then increase the weight again.

MISTAKE #6 – Working the “machine circuit”

A few gyms now have it. It’s a number of machines in a row or a circle type set up and we see people hopping from one machine to another. Here is a secret: most personal trainers chuckle at this one.

How to Fix It:

Try and get away from the machines, while they come in handy time to time, nothing beats reshaping your body than using free weights. We know it’s intimidating at first, the “boy” section, but go with a friend or ask a trainer to help you.

MISTAKE #7 Bad form

This one can truly make it or break it for you. Not using the machines or the weight properly can not only result in injury, it can truly be a time waster. With every single rep you should engage the correct muscle and have precise tempo count. This is why you often see personal trainers touch a client, it helps activate the correct muscle.

For example when you are using the lateral pull down machine, you should be pulling with your back (your lats) and if you feel it only in your arms, then you are doing something wrong. You should also not be racing through your reps, there is a specific count on the way up and on the way down for each exercise (and this changes as you progress, and for different goals).

How to Fix It:

Books, magazines, and video exercise programs are great, but most people have very poor joint awareness, coordination and do not know their own body. Working with a knowledgeable personal trainer is one of the best investments you can make. We are adamant about form, both in our group classes and when working with clients one on one. If it’s not feasible for you to hire a personal trainer, try a group class like our Body Beautiful Bootcamps for Women, and make sure you do your research as most fitness classes are taught by “fitness instructors” who are more about the cardio and coordination and do know necessary have the training of a certified personal trainer who must understand the anatomy of the body.

To learn about our personal training programs downtown Toronto click here

MISTAKE #8 Doing the same old workout over and over again

When you do the same workout over and over again, the body has no reason to change. To see results you MUST change things up. We see people with a workout they found or someone gave them and they literally do it for years! Just like consistently changing your weights and reps you must change your workouts.

How to Fix It:

Aim to change your program every 4-6 weeks or so, cycling between endurance training, muscle building, strength training and fat burning.

MISTAKE #9 Working out for more than an hour

More is not better. Hard and intense is important, and this is why if you work at a high intensity there should be no reason or energy for you to be there for more than an hour, including warm up and stretching.

How to Fix It:

Too much training is counter-productive to your results because you will be putting your body in a poor hormonal state and you will be taxing yourself mentally as well. Stick to shorter and more intense workouts to burn fat and build lean muscle.

MISTAKE #10 – Bad eating habits

Here is a sad fact: YOU CAN NOT OUT TRAIN YOUR DIET. To get a lean, fit physique or to lose weight, your diet needs to be on the dot.

How to Fix It:

Start eating 5-6 small meals a day, consisting of natural and whole foods. You may want to check out some meal plans too, as they will provide structure for your eating habits.

Need help with your diet? Check out our Body Beautiful Diets for women

Our Tip: To get the best results consider working with someone to customize your training regimen. He or she will take the guesswork out of the equation, create a personalized plan tailored to your specific needs, make sure you’re doing your workout correctly and even give you tips on proper diet – an even bigger piece of the weight loss puzzle. If you stick with it, you’ll finally start to see those pounds disappear.

Do you work or live downtown Toronto? Let BMBB help you reach your fitness goals. We offer a variety of services for women of all fitness levels, shapes and sizes from personal training programs, fitness boot camp classes, as well as nutrition programs for women.

Contact Us today and lets discuss your goals!

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