3 Ways You’re Ruining Your Workout

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At the gym in which I work, I see all sort of people come in to get their sweat on. I love to see that there’s such a wide variety of people interested in exercise and looking after their bodies. But I also see a lot of things people do to sabotage their own workouts. So today I’m going to go over what are, in my opinion, the most common, non-exercise mistakes that you can make during your workout.

Bringing your phone as your workout buddy

I see this one all the time and it drives me mad! People finish the set that they’re on, then spend what is probably 4x times the length of their intended rest period texting or scrolling through Facebook. Even worse, sometimes people will actually stop  their current set half way through so that they can answer a text!

Why should you avoid it?

Well, aside from making the wait for the whoever is waiting to use that piece of equipment unnecessarily long, you’re decreasing your own sweet, sweet gainz. Rest periods are an important part of a workout, but that doesn’t mean to say that you should just take as long as can without the sweat drying up… Even if you are taking the correct rest period, don’t fill that gap with Instagram or Twitter; use this time to think about your next set or exercise – visualise each movement and rehearse it in your head. The more you involve your mind in your workouts, the more effective they will be.

Relying on the mirror too much

Having mirrors in the gym is great. You can check your form, make sure you’re not about to lateral raise into someone’s face and be aware of what’s going on around you. However, the problem arises when people rely too much on the mirror to guide their movements.

Why should you avoid it? 

Have you ever tried to drive somewhere using memory alone that you’ve only ever used a sat-nav to get to previously? Well our bodies’ movements patterns are a bit like this. If you can learn to feel the movements instead of just remembering what they look like, then all the better. To add to this, the more sensory stimuli you give to your body, the more enhanced proprioceptive mechanisms you will develop; which you’ll certainly be grateful for when you’re older! Even if you aren’t looking at a mirror, it can be a good idea, from time to time, just to shut your eyes whilst performing a movement. You might just find that it improves.

Using gym time as gossip time

There’s nothing wrong with training with a workout buddy (unless it’s your phone!), but it can be easy to end up putting more focus on the cool story that you’re being told by your bro, than on the actual workout itself.

Why should you avoid it?

Partly for the same reasons as the distractions provided by bringing your phone onto the gym floor, but also because you’re going to end up wasting a lot of both of your time. If you’re not super bothered about getting great results from your workout and coming in to have bantz with your homie is the only way you’re going to get some exercise then sweet, please continue; but if you’re serious about your training and care about both your’s and your friend’s results, then I would recommend you consider having some kind of plan in relation to chat times. It doesn’t have to be silence throughout the whole workout and only communicating via hand gestures and facial expressions, (although if you can pull this off you’ll look like a pair of bad-ass spies, training for a recon mission). Just have a brief discussion before you start your workout, just to agree on something that’s going to support the results-achievement aspect of your workout. Some examples of this could be:

  • Only chatting during rest periods – which are timed & the times for which are adhered to.
  • Alternating the work and rest so that whoever is resting can be talking and then when you swap it’s the other’s turn.
  • Only talking when spotting, motivation is needed or it’s a matter of safety – I personally would favour this one, as this allows each of you to have the most focus on your workout, improving proprioception but not having to workout alone.

This may sound boring and too much like a rule, and you ‘don’t follow no rulez’ but whatever. The gym is for working out and if you want results then you need to take your workouts seriously. Maybe your friend actually wants to focus at the gym, but doesn’t want to receive your mocking ‘banter’ in response to them voicing this opinion.

Today’s post has been a little bit moany and negative, but I didn’t know how to make a post about mistakes sound positive; so I apologise! To make up for it, here’s a link to my recipe post for healthy cookies, because heathy cookies can only be a positive thing!

If any or all of these mistakes apply to you then don’t worry – the good thing about the future is that some parts of it, we can create ourselves, (to a certain extent!). Mistakes are one of the most important parts of personal growth and becoming yourself. So keep making them, keep learning from them & keep growing. Thanks for reading!


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