By Flow Coach, Mackennon Klink, B.S, CSCS, Pn1

As you begin to move more, you will make many mistakes on your journey. And you know what? Good. This is totally normal. Every mistake you can possible make hasbeen done a thousand times before. However, ifwedon’t learn from our past or history, we are doomed to repeat those same mistakes over and over. To make progress, there are mistakes that can easily be avoided. Let’s bring to light a few common gym mistakes that will derail your training and bring your gains to a halt.

  1. Not Using a Training Log

“What gets measured, gets managed.”Peter Drucker
This is a cardinal sin within the gym. How do you know if you are making progress if you are unsure what you did last week orat which weight? To make continuous progress, write your workouts down. Track your weights, reps, sets, and even how you’re feeling pre/post workout. Stop making this cardinal mistake. Write down your damn workout!

2) Working out without a Goal or Vision

Not planning your workouts in advance (also known as programming) always leads to mediocre results because there is no direction or focus. Regularly strolling into the gym and then using whatever machine and/or weights are available will usually lead to a less than stellar workout and not be an efficient use of your most valuable asset. TIME! Plan and know what each workout will consist of, so you can be mentally prepared and take the guess work out of the equation.

3) Program Hopping

Ignore the latest fitness trend or fad. Discard the “flashy” exercises and stick to the essential movement patterns: hip hinge, squat, lunge, push, pull, and carries. Just because you saw an exercise on Instagram doesn’t mean you should do it. As a rule, you should stay on the same program anywhere between 6-12 weeks before changing it up. Stay on course, be patient, be consistent, and you will get great results.

4) Ignoring Progressive Overload

To improve mobility, increase strength, and make gains in your overall conditioning, you must force change. You need to push your body to work harder than it is used to, otherwise it will not adapt. Progressive overload is the most basic training principle and goes hand in hand with using a training log (See # 1). Your training should be challenging yet allow enough recovery between workouts, so you can continue to increase your level of intensity.

5) Resting too much (or too little)

Rest periods are integral and have a huge influence on overall progress. Unfortunately, most people don’t know if they are spending either 45 seconds or 5 minutes between sets. To build strength, you’ll need to“earn your rest”by feeling stimulated, not annihilated while being specific to your goals. We recommended having a stop watch with you while you train. Here are some guidelines to determining rest periods based on your goals :

  • 0 – 30 seconds for circuit and metabolic conditioning •30 seconds – 2 minutes for muscle building (hypertrophy)
  • 2 – 3 minutes for strength training
  • 3 – 5 minutes for power training
  • 5 – 10 minutes for maximal intensity strength and/or power training

6) Sacrificing technique for Weights

While it is important to track your weights, beat personal records and add weight to the bar, it is more important to improve the quality of each rep. Focus on perfecting technique and mastering mechanics. If unsure, go to one of our Strength Camps sessions or hire a personal trainer.

7) Doing Everything at Once

No one can completely overhaul their life overnight. You cannot go from 0 to 100 with your fitness aspirations without causing a complete burnout. Instead, take one small step. Do something more than you were yesterday.

This is not the end all, be all list of gym mistakes. There are hundreds of thousands of different mistakes individuals make within the gym, both beginners and veterans. However, the biggest difference between beginners and veterans are beginners are discouraged by their mistakes, while the veterans use their previous experience and the wisdom of other coaches to get better. Within the fitness world, there is very little black and white, only shades of grey.