Mistake 1 : Not planning your workouts
This is the biggest and most common mistake by far! Too many people just get to the gym at any day they feel like it, or even everyday and pretty much grab any random machines they've become comfortable with or anything that is available without any specific goal or schedule.
Successful people always have a plan!
- Establish a realistic goal with a deadline;
- Write down the method you're going to use to reach your goal;
- Establish what you will change to your daily habits to reach your goal;
- Measure your results (take before and after pics, measure your body fat here)
Planning is easy to do. You can keep a journal where you write down your progress, what you eat and the workouts you do.
Pick up your free printable workout logs to measure your progress during your workouts.
Make sure you target every muscle group during the week when you workout and that you're not working the same muscle group 2 days in a row.
Mistake 2 : Bad Eating Habits
A lot of people seem to think that they can eat whatever they want because they workout, or that their fat will turn into muscles. It's unfortunately far away from the truth! You won't get a perfect dream body only by going to the gym and not paying attention to your diet. People know what is good and bad for them but don't realize how it affects their body. Eating too much sugar will spike your insulin level, make your hungry and tired. It is also said that sugar is as addictive as cocaine and even if you think you could never stop eating them, it's not true. Within 2 weeks of cutting them your cravings will be totally gone. You will have to change your eating habits and stick to it.
- Make sure you eat lean proteins at every meal (calculate how much proteins you need daily with our protein calculator);
- If your carbohydrates are coming from sugars instead of vegetables, oats, sweet potatoes and whole grains you're doing it all wrong!
- Fats are good! You need healthy fats and they will cut your hunger way more than carbohydrates and make you less bloated.
- Drink 1 oz of water per pound of body weight daily and eat healthy fats;
- Count your calories : guide : how to count your calories to burn fat;
- Add supplements to your diet : Multi-Vitamins for overall health, Quality Protein Powder for cutting or building muscles, Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3) and BCAAs (improve performance and reduce muscle breakdown);
- I personally also like pre-workout drinks like the No-Xplode to give me more energy.
Mistake 3 : Bad Form
Not only will lifting too heavy with bad form will get you noticed right away at the gym, you will also end up hurting yourself! If you managed to transform bicep curls into a back workout, you're doing it wrong! Bad form usually occurs when people lift more than they can handle. That happens often with beginners who are embarrassed to lift too light. But leave your ego at home, no one cares and people are usually way too focused on their selves there to notice how much you lift. Keep a look at yourself in the mirror and make sure you use the proper movement. I always include instructions for the form to use in my workouts, so check it out! :)
Examples of bad form :
The Dumbbell Diva
If your weights are feeling like you're lifting a little can of tomato paste and you could win the Guinness record of the biggest amount of reps or you would be able to throw your weights on the other side of the street, you're doing it wrong! If you can't feel your muscles getting tired, there's no point in using weights and you wont see any results.
The Passive Petunia
If you're more into reading your emails on your phone, tweeting or reading your magazine, it's really likely that you aren't getting your hearth rate up enough. If your hearth beat is under 90 bpm, you're not getting much out of your workout. Try one of my motivating workout playlists or watching TV (I used to love running on the treadmill while watching 24! It's like you're running with Jack Bauer to save the world).
Straining the knees
When you're doing squats or lunges make sure you're keeping your knees behind your toes. If you push your knees forward it will put a lot of pressure on the joints and that can lead to painful injuries. Make sure you check the proper form for squats and lunges or have a professional helping you out.
Rounding the back
When you do exercises like barbell squats, dumbbell rows or anything that puts pressure on your back, you NEED to keep your back straight or slightly arched to avoid back injuries. It might not happen right away but it will over time and back pain is horrible!
Mistake 4 : Frequency of your workouts
Not enough rest
You should allow at least 48 hours of rest for a specific muscle group (except for abs and calves). Your muscles need time to repair before the next workout. As an example, if you hit your quadriceps by doing heavy squats on a Monday, you can do it again Wednesday or Thursday. Just listen to your body.
You should also avoid intensive leg cardio after an heavy leg workout as it can drain your reserves for your recovery.
Some people train for 3 weeks in a row, take a 2 weeks break, come back and start back where they left. It just doesn't work that way, consistency with your workout, diet and sleep is key.
Mistake 5 : Doing the same old workout over and over again
First of all, doing the same thing all the time is really boring! You'll probably end up losing interest in working out if you're always doing the same thing or you'll hit a plateau. If you're not lifting heavier anymore, your muscles have no stress to adapt too and your workout is pretty much useless. Work on your weaknesses, try new ways of working out and new exercises or increase the weights, reps and length. Learn the exercises you can do for each body part and try different machines in your gym.
MDS suggests this meal plan :
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