7 mistakes you may be making in and outside the gym

Women sitting on yoga mat reaching for her toes
Women sitting on yoga mat reaching for her toes

7 mistakes you may be making in and outside the gym

by Elizabeth Jones
Stripes Europe

You’ve been committed to the gym for a while now and yet you still feel as if you’ve made little to no progress. While there are different variables that may be at fault, here are seven common mistakes people make in and outside the gym that you might also be making.


Winging every workout

It’s good to have a solid plan once you step foot in the gym. You can get your workout done in a timely manner by not taking long breaks in between exercises to figure out where you’re going next. Most of the time when you don’t have a program to follow, whether it is self-made or through a trainer, you may not progress as quickly as you’d like. No matter your goal — strength, fat loss or muscle gain, there needs to be some sort of progression goal each week for you to truly see results.

Socializing too much

It’s nice to see familiar faces at the gym, but chatting for too long may add an extra 15 to 30 minutes to your workout. Or, you look at the clock and skip out on the remaining exercises because you simply ran out of time. Either wave and move on to your next workout or chat briefly in between sets. The gym is a place to workout and build your best self, not socialize. 

Bad form

This may be the most common mistake people make that holds them back from reaching their health goals. If you’ve been squatting or deadlifting with bad form but you’re able to work up in weight, there will come a point where you either injure yourself or things start to plateau and you have to drop weight to learn proper form. Even with classic bodyweight exercises such as the push-up, bad form can lead to injury or lack of strength progression. Learn proper form at the very start, even if that means doing lightweight or only busting out a short amount of reps.

Being faithful to exercises you see Instagram #fitspos do

It’s important to note that not all fitness influencers on Instagram are uncertified. What may have worked for them, may possibly work for you too. While there is nothing wrong with trying new exercises, if you find that you’re still not growing muscle or losing weight like you want to, it may be because you’re not allowing time for the basic, compound exercises. There is no need to do absurd looking exercises at the gym, and if you’re a total beginner, those exercises are more likely to leave you in pain than help you achieve your goals.


Not fueling up before or replenishing well enough after

It’s important to consume a healthy snack an hour or less before and after a workout to prevent a loss of energy and to aid in muscle repair. If you’re not doing so, this may be the reason why your workouts feel impossible to complete or why your muscles feel insanely sore for days. There are loads of pre- and post-workout snacks and meals out there so don’t restrict yourself to the same ones or the boring ones!

Not resting enough

Exercising your body is just as important as resting it. Only you know where to draw the line between truly needing a break and being lazy and calling it a “rest day.” You should rest at least 1-2 days a week and that doesn’t mean that there is no activity involved. “Active rest days” mean taking your dog on a long walk, swimming for fun, light yoga, or even running errands all day! For the days you are feeling super sore, take a warm bubble bath with Epsom salt, foam roll and make time to really stretch!

High expectations

There are no “get skinny quick” or “build major muscles in a week” programs that really work. Goals take time, some slower than others, and many elements outside the gym can also affect your progress — nutrition, stress, and sleep to name a few. It’s important to be patient and understand that this is a lifestyle. Once you knock out your first round of goals, make new ones and work towards those. It’s a journey filled with many ups and downs, and the reason many people fall off their gym regimens is the lack of understanding that simple concept.

Avoid these common mistakes made in and outside the gym as you embark on your fitness journey so you can knock out your goals one by one! If you still feel at a loss with your progress, consider hiring a certified personal trainer to coach you at the gym and hold you accountable outside of it. At the end of the day, be proud that you’re taking strides towards creating a happier and healthier you!

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