12 Mistakes to Avoid in the Gym


Here are 12 workout mistakes that are easy to make, but easier to avoid:

Not warming up

It may sound trivial, but not warming up your muscles is a dangerous mistake to make. You may think that skipping the warm up will save valuable time, but in reality, it can significantly increase your chances of injury. The best way to get the most out of your workout is to do a couple of lighter sets first to get the blood flowing and preparing your body for the serious gains which are about to take place.

Forgetting to stretch after training

Be sure to allow some time for adequate stretching after a workout. Your muscles will be warm and responsive to the stretches and a study found that this increases flexibility. It helps keep you supple and can provide benefits in other areas of your regime.

women stretching in gym

Doing the same routine each time you train

For getting the most out of your workout, variation is key. Whilst sticking to one kind of exercise regime will improve cardiovascular health and help lose weight, without change your body will adapt. You can eventually hit a plateau where gains will decrease without changing up your workouts. Rather than sticking to one set exercise regime, mixing it up and throwing in some new exercises and techniques will give you better results.

Also you should alternate between the amount of reps, length of rest periods and sets. This way you can reduce the possibility of injury by not always lifting heavy, giving your muscles and joints a break.

Not timing your rest periods

Time can fly when you’re resting between sets. To be efficient in your regime, use your smartphone to keep an eye on resting times.

Getting to the gym without a plan

There are two elements to this, both planning for the exercise and planning which exercise to do. By simply taking you gym bag to work with you or leaving it in your car is the closest thing some people have to a workout plan!

Planning which exercises to do beforehand will help you to maximise the efficiency of your workouts. Whether it be fat burning or building muscle, a strategy will help to get the most out of your time in the gym, allowing for you to see faster results on average than someone who doesn’t really plan.

Having a workout book can really help you to write down reps, sets and exercises as this allows you to track your progress, keeping that self-competitive nature of trying to be the best version of yourself that you can be.


Tight schedule? Avoid peak times

We’ve all done it, entering a gym at 6.20pm, spending double the amount of time you would usually spend because of queues like at an amusement park.

You will end up feeling frustrated if you stroll down to the gym with a solid exercise plan in mind and mentally prepared, only to have it thrown off course by waiting too long in between exercises/sets.

It can be hard for people who finish work and want to go before it get’s too late, however waking up a bit earlier and going for a morning session can really bring some efficiency to your daily routine.

If this isn’t an option and you MUST go within peak times, try doing alternative exercises for the same muscle groups which can drastically decrease waiting time but allows you to achieve the same result. Speaking to a personal trainer or researching yourself can go a long way in regards to finding unconventional, less known exercises.

Eating the wrong foods before exercising

What you eat before you exercise can really impact your performance. Within 2-3 hours before your workout, avoid eating too much fat and instead devote a larger percentage of your meal to carbohydrates and protein.

Not sleeping enough

Even if you are strapped for time you don’t need to get up at the crack of dawn. Research have shown that high intensity interval training is more effective at burning calories than steady endurance ones. High intensity interval training gives you great health benefits all in a short 10-20 minute burst, so you don’t have to wake up too early if you haven’t had the best sleep.

Consistent sleep deprivation can mess with your hormones which regulate sleep, stress and muscle recovery.

Not challenging yourself

By this I do not mean over-working past your capabilities.

When exercise feels too easy, it means your body has adapted or you are not pushing enough weight, doing enough reps or sets. The gym should feel challenging for you to see an increase in muscle mass or fat loss.

The sweet, golden spot is when you can leave the gym injury-free with a feeling of achievement, knowing that you pushed yourself.

Doing cardio at the wrong time

Cardio is essential for any exercise plan, but timing it wrong can lower lifting performance. Many people do their cardio before weights but doing so can deplete your energy levels before you even get under the bar. This could lead to injury as you may have poor form. Doing weights first before cardio can increase the amount of reps performed.


Overworking your body

It’s easy to get too cocky and push your body too far. You also need to remember that over-exercising can pose more problems than benefits. Too intense or too frequent exercise can prevent your body from recovering. After exercising, we need time to repair our muscles, and interrupting this will impede growth. This is why it’s not recommended to do high intensity exercise more than three times a week.


You can see this in almost any gym, people lifting with bad form because they want to be seen as strong, but in reality it just makes you look stupid and makes you more prone to injury. Lift within your capabilities and build your way up, this way you can maintain your health and lower the chance of getting problems with joints when you are older.


Anything to add? Comment below, we’d love to know any other mistakes that people make.