Common Workout Mistakes

Hey you guys!

How was your Monday? Was it relaxing at all? I made sure to take several work breaks, walk, and drink lots of water. I felt a lot better at the end of the day than I thought I would, considering the work load I had. Relaxing works, my friends!

I even went on a short walk with this guy:

{pic is from last week though}

So last night I taught Zumba and it just made my heart happy. I sure do love to dance, shake it, and sweat buckets. :)


As I was walking into the gym last night to teach, I noticed several people doing moves that were either incorrect, dangerous, or just plain stupid. It got me thinking about some common workout mistakes that I have engaged in in the past, thinking they were good for me…..

Luckily I’ve made the changes, but that got me thinking, how many people out there THINK they’re doing something right but in actuality they’re really injuring themselves and possibly sabotaging their efforts?!

Now that IS a scary thought.

Common Workout Mistakes


  • Resting on the machines. This is a big no-no because it can compromise your posture & cause injury to the spine. It also reduces the amount of work your legs, abs, and glutes could be doing, which thus lowers the caloric burn.
  • Being obsessed with the numbers on the machine. Most machines will overestimate your caloric burn, unless you strap a heart rate to yourself and input your height and weight. But then still, it is not super accurate. Don’t rely on them (or even worry about them). Focus more on how you FEEL.
  • Using a really low intensity to go faster. You’ve all seen the people who pedal away furiously with no resistance at all….well folks, it’s not doing much. Sure it’s better than sitting on the couch, but it’s not really going to help you reach any fitness goals soon. If you’re going to do a cardio workout or even a ‘light day’ put some resistance on. You can thank me later. 😉


  • Using the same machine every single day. This also will hurt you in the long run. Remember how if you change nothing, nothing will change?! Well, your body gets used to doing things quickly, so if you do the same things over and over, guess what you’re going to get day in and day out? The same seemingly ‘unattainable’ fitness goals. Do yourself a favor and switch it up! Either mix up the machines you use, or change the duration, intensity, or frequency. Besides, you could unknowingly injure yourself if you use the same machine over and over. Goodbye boredom, hello exciting workouts!


  • Lifting TOO heavy at first. Most people who head to the weight room might not have a clue how much they should grab or load up on. Err on the side of lighter to begin with so you don’t injure yourself in the process. You can always add weight to the bar later on, and you can’t do that if you’re sidelined by a silly mistake or injury you caused.
  • Lifting with bad form. This one is self explanatory. Do your research or hire a trainer before trying new moves out! Injuries are NOT fun. And they’re even worse if you know you could’ve avoided them…


  • Not engaging the core in dynamic or static moves. The core is your powerhouse, so it makes sense to keep that engaged and strong while lifting. Pull the abdominals into the spine, and lock ’em in, this helps protect the lower back and encourages more power to be created and used. (If you want to strengthen the core before doing heavier lifting, try the fire up you core workout I designed!)
  • Hogging weights and/or not replacing them on the rack. Be courteous! Use a mirror or a spot that is not right in front of the weights so people can still easily grab them while you’re working. And free weights lying around is dangerous, my friends!
  • Trying new moves or using really heavy weight without a spotter, trainer, or friend. That is just plain dangerous. Once again, be smart about this. You want to increase your fitness, not ruin your body.


  • Not wearing deodorant. This one is just plain gross. I’ve gone to the gym before and forgot to put on deodorant. Let’s just say that after realizing that, I made a pact with myself to never do that again (and I haven’t ever forgotten)! Yes, it is okay to forget 1 or 2 times per lifetime, but otherwise, let’s just wear it, mmmmkay?!

  • Talking on the cell phone loudly while working out. I just don’t get this one?! If you’re there to work out at a semi-hard pace, you should not be able to string entire sentences together anyways. And if you are just doing a lighter workout, grab a magazine or watch TV-it is way less rude. No one wants to hear your conversations. I promise.
  •  Re-wearing gym clothes. Oh wait, I do this sometimes (if they’re not too gross and I know I am going to a different gym). So never mind.  Hehe. :)
  • Going too hard in every workout every day. Yes we all have goals, and some have fitness goals they’re shooting for, however, you’ll actually be doing yourself a disservice if you make every workout hard core, intense, and balls to the walls. It is not good for you (even if someone else does it, listen to YOU). I usually do (and suggest) 2-3 intense workouts per week (depending on your goals and capabilities), and the rest medium to light effort.
  • Not taking a rest day (or two). This is similar to the above comment. TAKE A REST DAY (or two) from your workouts EVERY WEEK. My professor once said, “if you don’t need a rest day every week, you’re not working hard enough the other 5-6 days.” Amen. I know that I gladly take Sunday off (and any other day I feel too sore and am not teaching)!!
  • Being rude to the instructor and/or not following along. This is really just a pet peeve of mine because I teach classes. :) Smile and be kind. It goes a long way! And if you’re wanting to do your own workout and not follow along (unless it’s to do a lower option), high-tail it out of there. It’s annoying, rude, and really exasperating when people bust out their own moves or exercises in the middle of a class!

If you’re feeling guilty right about now….it’s okay! Let’s be honest, most everyone probably is too. 😉 We’ve all been there and we all make mistakes.

My goal today was to help fix some of the misconceptions and build a desire to take your workouts to a better level so YOU can reach your fitness goals that you all have.

Have a GREAT day!

I am off to bust out some quick running (literally), workworkwork, and then teach BodyPUMP and Zumba back-to-back tonight. Can’t wait for today–it’s going to be a good one, don’t you think?! :)

What are some common workout mistakes YOU’ve seen and/or engaged in?! :) What one thing did YOU learn is not so great to do?? Workout plans for YOU today??

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  1. Thanks for all these great tips! I especially like “If you change nothing, nothing will change!” Good reminder to change it up!!

  2. “Being rude to the instructor and/or not following along.”

    That is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves!! Followed up by the cell phone one.

    I use to go to classes during lunch ALL the time at my old job. There were a two people that I can remember who NEVER followed the instructor and it drove me insane. Why even go if you won’t follow along?!

    • I know! I’m like “why are you here then?!” It doesn’t just drive me bonkers, it just totally confuses me?! Hah.

      • Megan @ Fiterature says:

        I feel the same way! Maybe they just like having people around? But seriously, follow along or keep it moving elsewhere! It’s so distracting and takes up space for someone else.

  3. AMEN to all of this!! great post! :)

  4. caroline says:

    Thanks for the tips- when I lift weights I ask myself “what would Annette’s form look like?”

    Sometimes when I am done with my workout, I go on the treadmill to walk and call a friend. Guess I am on your no-no list!

  5. I totally agree with all these! One of my other pet peeves is women who wear really strong perfume to the gym. It gives me such a headache!

    I’m guilty of rewearing gym clothes for sure though. 😛

  6. Jennifer K says:

    Great information. Lots of “insane” people at the gym. (You know, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result).

    I will have to say there are some people who should not re-wear stuff to the gym. A guy at my gym, who I swear wears the same thing (and does the same thing) every day nearly made me vomit when he got on the treadmill next to me. Stale sweat and bad b.o.- bad combo. I go out of my way to avoid him. (There is a difference between “clean sweat” and re-sweating into old, unbreathable clothes that haven’t seen a washing machine since the Carter administration). He must have no sense of smell. I wish there was some way to tell him he smells awful. Never an easy subject. Ugh. But I digress.

    That being said, I do re-wear stuff to the gym, but I ensure the following:
    -They are good, breathable outfits (Under Armour, Lululemon, Nike Dry Fit, etc).
    – I hang them to air dry after I workout (hubby put a nice clothes rack in the bathroom I use)
    – I have found a Febreze sport product that I like, so I spray anything I might re-wear before hanging it up. (I have to resist the urge to spray down “stinky man” with it at the gym. LOL!)
    – If something is really stinky and I want to re-wear it before my weekly load of workout clothes laundry, I will either hand wash it or just run a load of wash or wear something else.(I do like Tide plus febreze sport for my workout clothes. Takes the stink out and leaves a nice fresh scent that holds up pretty well).

    Just my 2 cents.

    • Very true! I love Febreze! And let’s be honest, when I say I re-wear clothes, it is always dried out, and I wear tons of deodorant. I just have a few favorite pieces that sometimes I MUST wear again that week (At a different gym of course). hah :)

  7. The one that bothers me the most is lack of deodorant. The other one that makes me nutty is that people either do cardio or they do weights. Hardly anyone does both.

  8. PERFECT! You covered them all. Love this post.

  9. About the resistance–is it bad to do lighter resistance? I just can’t MOVE with heavy resistance on the elliptical or bike!

    • It is totally fine to do lighter resistance, but oftentimes I see the same people doing NO resistance over and over again. You don’t have to go crazy, but adding a bit on can help with fitness goals. Just a suggestion! And once again, everyone is different–so go with how YOU feel :)


  10. Great post – thanks for all of the tips and reminders! I am most guilty of getting in a habit and doing the same machines and exercises over and over. I do what I am comfortable with and best at and I don’t try new things and push myself…thanks for the reminder to change it up!

  11. great tips! I’ve definitely fallen into a cardio machine rut – I always go to my favorite elliptical! I need to get back into mixing it up!

  12. This are some great advices, I love your blog!! I hate when people talk on th ecell phone loud in the gym!!! I plan on going to a spin class today and doing a workout dvd!

  13. Just found your blog. Love it. Love this post. The other day a girl on the elliptical next to me talked on her cell phone for her entire 45 workout. I swear I learned her entire life story.


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