top 5 workout mistakes

Top 5 Workout Mistakes in the Gym

Are there times where you are in the gym and you see someone swinging the weights or doing an exercise with really bad form? Welcome to my world! And I’m not saying I always have perfect form because I definitely acknowledge that I don’t but at least I try and always be very conscious of my body in space and time when performing an exercise.

What we want to get our of this article is a reminder of the top mistakes that we all make in the gym and how to fix them so we get the best results from our workouts. The benefits are huge and will include: more definition, quicker strength gains, less chance of injury, more energy, and less body fat!

Let’s not waste time and get right into the top 5 mistakes:

Workout Mistake 1: Inadequate Nutrition & Hydration

You’ll know for the most part when you have inadequate nutrition and hydration when you’re working out because it’s those times when you feel light headed and losing energy and motivation to be in the gym. Of course this can also be lack-of-sleep related but for the most part it’s because you didn’t have some high quality carbohydrates (like fruit, oatmeal, yams) and at least 2 glasses of water an hour before your workout.

Hydration and nutrition are key to keeping your energy high during your workout and allowing you to progress through each day you’re in the gym. Stop thinking that limiting your food intake before your workout means more fat loss as your body will also break down muscle in this process so it’s not only fat you’re losing!

Workout Mistake 2: Inadequate Warm Up

I can’t count the amount of times I see someone walk right into the gym and pick up some moderately heavy dumbbells and begin their workout. This is an injury waiting to happen because you haven’t given your muscles enough time to warm up and you haven’t given your lungs the preparation they need to be able to expand more and provide oxygen to your entire endo-muscular system.

Stop being lazy and prevent serious injuries from happening by warming up for at least 5 minutes on a cardio machine or doing something with low impact that really warms you up.

Workout Mistake 3: Improper Form

How good are you at checking your form? Are you aware of your posture, your core muscles and the placement of your feet when doing exercises? Do you check your form in the mirror or have a friend/trainer giving you feedback at least once every couple of weeks?

Don’t worry about being vain in this situation. Looking in the mirror to check your form is very important because the better form you have the more you will get from performing those exercises. Actually the amount of mirrors a gym has is a good indication of the quality of the gym!

Workout Mistake 4: Resting Too Long

How long are you resting between your sets? Are you listening to music and spacing out, or talking to friends for unmeasured lengths of time? This is not only a bad habit which upsets others in the gym wanting to use the same equipment but also a detriment to your workout. You should have rest periods no longer than 30-60 seconds maximum as your muscles will begin to cool down and leave them culpable to injury. (The only exception is if you’re training for some strength competition then longer rest periods are possible as long as you’re keeping your body moving).

I try and keep rest periods to 30 seconds because I’ve found this makes a more intense workout and greater toning and definition is the killer result!

Workout Mistake 5: No Flexibility Training

You’d think by now that most would have caught on but 9/10 people in the gym are not doing any kind of flexibility training (or some of you may call it stretching). I’ve spoken about the benefits of flexibility in many articles on this site (most recently in the article Weight Training Plateau) but to reiterate leaving 10 minutes at the end of your workout for flexibility training allows your muscles to recover quicker because it allows your muscles to get proper blood flow going again and having the waste products removed.

Leave 10-15 minutes at the end of your workout for flexibility training and use this time to think about your workout and how you can improve it next time around all the while relaxing. This is your time for your body so if you can provide a little more focus by joining a yoga class then even better.


I hope you enjoyed this article and reference it from time to time to refocus and bring energy back into your training program. I’ll take my own medicine and practice this with my clients and myself but if you have any other feedback or questions please leave a comment below so we can all benefit from it.