There is no doubt, there are far too many people that are very sedentary and don’t get any exercise with the exception of walking from the couch to the refrigerator.  But this article is not about them.  This article is for those who are already participating in some form of exercise program. These are the 5 most common workout mistakes keeping you from getting the body you’ve always wanted?  Find out what the 5 most common workout mistakes are and how to correct them.

Here are 5 common exercise mistakes I see people making all the time….

Mistake #1: Doing too much cardiovascular training

Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, I see the same people tearing it up on the cardiovascular training equipment in the gym.  They’ll spend a good 40-60 minutes a day, sometimes longer,  either on the treadmill, bikes or elliptical machines (never the rower though!!).  Rarely do I see these people in the weight room, and if I do, they don’t put as much time and effort into strength training as they do with their cardiovascular training.

What you should do instead:  
While cardiovascular exercise is beneficial, what it doesn’t do is give your body shape and keep your metabolism revving long after you’ve exercised.

All you’ll need is 30 minutes of cardiovascular training performed 3-5 days a week.  When you are in the gym, spend 30 minutes strength training focusing on a body part and then 30 minutes of high intensity cardiovascular training.  This will get you more results from your time.

You can also do interval training (a popular variant currently espoused is HIIT training) in lieu of traditional steady state cardiovascular training (not wise to do it when you have any injuries!)  HIIT training will not only get your heart rate up, but you will be burning more calories in a shorter period of time over conventional cardiovascular training.

Be sure to add at least 30 minutes of strength training to your workout schedule 3-5 times  or 1 hour of strength training 3-4 times a week.   Strength training is what builds and retains muscle mass and gives your body the shape you’re looking to have.  Without this key piece, all the cardiovascular training in the world will not give you the body you’re striving to achieve.

Mistake #2: Not challenging yourself

More often than not, most of the people I see working out are not challenging themselves, they’ve been doing the same workout for yonks, using the same weight, same amount of sets and reps, yet seem surprised that they have no change in body shape.  This may seem obvious but not changing up your workouts creates the dreaded plateau which keeps your body stuck in a rut.

What you should do instead:
If you’ve been doing the same workout for more than ten weeks, it’s time to change it up. Change your weights (resistance), repetition tempo, sets, rest period and of course number of repetitions.  Try a variety of super sets pushing certain body parts to fatigue  or tri-sets.  A small change can make a big difference. The

Mistake #3:  Using weights that don’t challenge you, aka, lifting too light.

Similar to point #2, but more specific to the exercise intensity, using weights that are too light. This can be true for both men and women, if you can do more than 15-20 reps without any effort, you’re not lifting heavy enough.

What you should do instead:
You should be using a weight that challenges you, that makes you grunt squeezing out the last 2-3 reps, and depending on your goals, should be working somewhere in the 5 – 15 rep range.

Mistake #4: Lifting too heavy

I love lifting heavy and so does my ego.  I love the challenge.  I also make sure that when I lift aggressively, I am lifting with correct form and that I am working the muscles that should be worked.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have watched people in the gym lifting weights they can’t handle.  Their form is so sloppy that they’re not even close to working the muscle that should be worked.  It becomes more about working your ego than your muscles.  Guys, you need to take your ego out of the equation.

If you’re lifting more weight than you can handle and not putting on the muscle you’re looking to gain, you’re simply not fully contracting the muscle(s) you are looking to target.  Not only that, but over the long haul, you can set yourself up for an injury.

What you should do instead:
While you’re lifting, focus on thinking about your muscles and what you are feeling.  Be aware if you are feeling your muscles fully contracting and getting a full range of motion.  If not, drop the weight by 5 pounds and focus on your form and really squeezing your muscles.  I promise you’ll get better results and gain more muscle.

Mistake #5: Not working out with intensity

If you’re spending more time chatting with your friends or chatting on your cell phone or reading while you’re working out, you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing and you’re not working out intensely.  If you think it’s just women who are guilty of this, think again.  I see plenty of men doing this too.

Time and time again, I have watched people in the gym just going through the motions because they’re spending too much socializing in the gym or chatting away on their cell phones.

What you should do instead:

Ask yourself this question..”are your workouts like sex?” Now you certainly don’t want to be going through the motions, reading or talking on your  phone while you’re having sex, so why go through the motions when you’re working out?

Working out is a lot like having sex.  Just as you should be focused on what you are doing and feeling while you are having sex, think of it in the same way while you’re working out.  You should be focusing on your workout.  Are you really squeezing the muscle you are working?  Are you really pushing yourself as hard as you can?  If you answered no to any of these questions, or not sure, you’re not working out with enough intensity and more than probably not getting results. Also, chances are you’re probably not having good sex :lol: …. oh and by the way…. being physically fit can greatly benefit you in the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, lounge…. ;-)