Top 10 Fitness Mistakes

As an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, I receive professional journals on a regular basis. ACE recently sent their newsletter which contained an interesting article, “The Top 10 Mistakes People Make in the Gym”. I’d like to share some of these with you- they are all too common!
The all- or- nothing approach. Not having a full hour to exercise is NO reason to skip the workout entirely. Even 15-2o minutes of hard work can make a difference! And, by keeping SOME workout into your schedule- even a short one- you are retaining the HABIT of daily exercise.
Unbalanced strength training programs. New clients often come to me having performed a strength routine which misses many important muscle groups. Women tend to work their arms and abs only- missing the most vital large muscles which are truly responsible for creating leaness. Men tend to work their chest more than their backs- setting them up for major injuries. A balanced program is essential to prevent injury and to get good results.
Not progressing wisely. Progessing too quickly will cause injuries- too slowly, poor results. How fast you progress depends on baseline fitness levels and progression should be evaluated by a trained professional.
Not enough variety. Variety is the key to preventing injuries and boredom. As many of you know, I insist that clients have a variety of fitness regimens- both at the gym and at home. Neither is mutually exclusive of the other.
Focusing on anything but your workout. How many of you read a book or watch TV while doing cardio? How many of you chat with friends while lifting? Neither is really acceptable. I notice that people who read while doing cardio are going slower than they should, often have poor neck and shoulder posture and are holding onto the treadmills as they do this. Lifting while talking can be dangerous- and usually results in less effort.
Not properly cooling down after your workout. A cool down period after cardio, and a concentrated stretching regimen post exercise,are as important as the exercise itself. Chronic aches and pains post exercise can be diminished and injury potential squashed by committing to these two good principles of exercise.
Not setting realistic goals. Losing 20 pounds in 6 weeks, or getting arms like Arnold Schwarznegger are two examples of unrealistic goals. Goals need to be realistic and achievable- and should include both short term and longterm variations. Better goals- In 6 weeks I want to fit into my pants that are too tight right now, OR, I will weight train three times a week and try and reduce my bodyfat to look healthier and leaner.

These are the few that I feel are essential for my clients to understand, but I would like to add one more to ACE’s list-
Hiring a personal trainer without planning ahead or doing the necessary “soul” searching required to be successful. I LOVE getting new clients- but many people come to me without doing their homework first. Although I am here to advise and support- I cannot do the exercise for you! A personal trainer will not create success for you unless you have done the planning and strategizing necessary to insure your own success. For example- go through your daily schedule to decide when, how and where you will exercise. Check in with your eating habits- do they need adjustment? Do you need to see a nutritionist? If you have an injury- seek medical help BEFORE youy hire a personal trainer- otherwise you may sabotage the trainers ability to help you.