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Common Mistakes at the Gym

Por Leslie Rodríguez, RD, LD* -
Common Mistakes at the Gym

Working out at the gym helps you create a life full of health and energy, but certain habits may do more harm than good. 

The American Council on Exercise did a study on the most common mistakes made at the gym. Some of them just lessen the success of the exercise, while others are more serious, and can even cause injuries. 

We reveal these mistakes here so you can avoid them in order to take full advantage of your exercise routine.

1.  Not warming up before exercising

People make this mistake before and during the first minutes of the workout. Don’t forget to stretch before starting to exercise. You need to warm up your muscles to avoid injuries. Try to start slowly. Muscles need time to adjust to the activity. Start slowly and gradually increase the level of the exercise. 

2.  Exercising at the wrong level

The next two mistakes are total opposites, yet both are common. The first mistake is to exercise at a level that is too intense. The other is not working out at the level you should, based on your fitness condition. It is better to exercise longer at a modest level than shorter at a higher level.

Identify what level is best for you: 

  • Make sure that you are sweating moderately during your workout.
  • Your heart rate needs to stay within your ideal target. To know your target heart rate, use this formula: 220 minus your age times 60% (lowest rate) to 85% (highest rate). You can click here and MyDiet™ will help you figure out your ideal heart rate for exercising.
  • Try to talk with someone while you exercise. You should be able to talk without difficulty while maintaining your activity.

To raise the level of your aerobic exercise, listen to your favorite music, or follow the pace of a friend that is in a bit better shape than you.

3.  Using the wrong fuel

This error involves what you eat and drink while you exercise. For starters, it is important to drink plenty of water. Thirst, at any moment, is a sign that your body is dehydrated. Try to drink 8 glasses (64 ounces) of water or more a day. Take into account that water is better than soft drinks, tea and other caffeinated beverages. Drinks with caffeine can further dehydrate you.

Carry a water bottle with you at all times. You should drink water all day long, including while you exercise.

If you exercise moderately for less than two hours a day, you don’t need the extra calories from energy drinks or bars. The single best fuel you need to keep active is a balanced diet. 

4.  Sudden movements

  • You should never make sudden movements when you exercise with weights because you might injure yourself. Your back is very vulnerable to injuries when you lift extra weight. 
  • Use weights that you can control.
  • Do the exercises correctly in order to get the best results.
  • When you can control the lighter weights, start increasing the weight gradually.

5.  Forgetting good posture

Good posture is necessary to avoid injuries and to gain the most benefit from certain types of exercises. 

For example:

  • It is important to have good posture when you use the StairStepper or StairMaster.
  • Don’t grab the handles too hard. This could stress your wrists and back.
  • Decrease the level of intensity of the machine until you can do the movement with your back straight and your hands placed lightly on the handles. 

6.  Not cooling down after exercising

  • Stretch your muscles right after doing aerobic exercise.
  • Walk slowly for 5 to 10 minutes after intense exercise so your heart can return to normal. 
  • Stretch your muscles for 5 to 10 minutes to make them more flexible.

These actions will prepare your body for the next time you exercise.  

It’s important that you focus while doing exercise. Be aware of these errors that so many people make.

Create positive habits today. You'll enjoy healthier and more successful workouts.

*Specialist in sports nutrition and physical activity of MyDiet™


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