10 Mistakes I’VE Made at the Gym – that YOU Shouldn’t

With summer still upon us, many of us are still hitting the gym to tighten up, bulk up, or just to build endurance and develop healthy habits. Maybe, like me, you’re preparing for a race later this year, or maybe you’re just slimming down in time for the upcoming fattening seasons: Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Whatever your reason for working out, there are many mistakes we make along our fitness journey. While we can’t avoid them all, here are ten mistakes I’ve made at the gym that you shouldn’t.

1. Forgetting to Bring Music

Have you ever been at the gym and seen someone there alone, and without headphones on? My first thought is always, How do they do it? This is quickly followed by the realization that, They must have forgotten their headphones at home! Poor things. Of course, this isn’t necessarily the case, but working out at the gym, especially when you’re working out solo, can be a real bore without music.

Working out to music helps to distract you from the momentary pain and discomfort, while you push yourself. This helps to boost how much effort you put in. Music also lifts your mood, and makes you want to move.

2. Working out on an Empty Stomach

Some experts say if you want to lose weight, then it’s best to work out first, and eat later. This makes sense in the early morning, right before breakfast, or even after work, before you chow down on dinner. It also makes sense with the exception of fruits, or a light snack.

However, we’ve all had days when we worked too hard, or slept way too much, and then went hours upon hours without eating and didn’t notice… until we hit the treadmill. On these days, working out without a meal is a bad idea. You get dizzy, feel nauseous, and lose both the energy and the will to get a good workout in. You could also end up injuring yourself.

3. Working out on a Full Stomach

At the same time, working out on a full stomach is just as bad, if not worse. It’s that last minute decision, after realising you haven’t eaten all day, but plan to visit the gym. Doing this can make you feel uneasy during the workout, and make ab-routines feel impossible.

Eating a large meal right before working out can also cause other problems like cramping in your midsection, indigestion, and even nausea. If working out on an empty stomach just isn’t working for you today, better to have a light snack or a nutritional shake.

4. Not Drinking Enough Water

As a rule, there are few places I go without my water bottle. So you can imagine the stupidity I should feel for deciding to leave my bottle behind so I could have my hands free, while running for 5 KM.

Not only do you begin to feel parched halfway through, but other effects of dehydration soon start to seep in, especially if you’re one of those people who sweat profusely. Some unsavory symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, headache, and disorientation.

5. Avoiding & Ignoring the Men

Everyone knows a lot of guys think the gym is a great place to pick up women. So to protect myself from any intrusion, I usually went out of my way to ensure I was not approachable at the gym. However, undeterred men would still come by to offer advice – great advice!

Fit men tend to know a lot more about the gym than us women, especially when it comes to weights. This isn’t always the case, but there’s definitely a lot of great advice you can pick up from listening to the guys at the gym, and allowing them to get a word in from time to time – even when it means going home with a bunch of business cards you’ll never use…

6. Trying to Read a Book/Watch a Video while Running

I once saw a guy almost fall off a treadmill while trying to watch a video. I also saw another guy drop his tablet, while trying the same thing. Neither of these things happened to me, but it was nonetheless an uncomfortable experience when I tried it.

If you much prefer to read a book while on the treadmill, then consider getting audio-books instead. It doesn’t get much better than that. Most gyms also have television sets, so if you must watch something, then focus on those.

7. Fighting with my Keys

I never knew what to do with my keys at the gym – or more accurately, I knew but could never be bothered. I never brought a lock to put my keys away, and always ended up lugging them around from machine to machine. Needless to say, one day I finally left them at the gym by accident, and was halfway home before I realized. Thankfully, they were still there when I returned.

Get a padlock to put your keys away in the locker, or attach them to your water bottle. Some people keep them in their pockets, but if you plan on running or jumping, the keys may dampen your workout.

If you’re not the designated driver, another way to eliminate keys, is to leave them in the car and take advantage of gyms that allow you to check in via an app on your phone, like Planet Fitness.

8. Not Wearing Comfortable Clothing

No pain no gain, was the old cliché my high school P.E. teacher tossed our way when we complained in class. It annoyed the hell out of us, but it’s true. Working out isn’t exactly a comfortable activity, and it’s not meant to be. For that reason, it’s important to dress appropriately. That means cool and flexible clothing, the right shoes, and a comfortable arm band for our phones.

Women also need to ensure they wear the right bra, especially if you are a C-cup or larger. Large breasts bounce a lot more, which can make running an unforgivably uncomfortable experience. It can also cause sagging, especially if you begin to lose weight. Make sure you find a bra which limits breast movement when you run or take on other strenuous exercise.

9. Not Stretching

My husband and I go to the gym together, but do not work out together. In fact, we are usually at opposite ends of the gym, because our workout goals and body types differ. However, on Fridays, we join forces to combine his upper body torture, with my lower body focus.

One particular Friday, he chose especially difficult upper body exercises, but I survived. In fact, I triumphed. Like an idiot, I did not stretch, and went home to eat, blog, watch TV, and go to sleep. I hated myself the next morning. My body was useless to me for four whole days.

The lesson? Remember to stretch, especially after completing exercises you have never done, or do not take on very often.

10. Avoiding Weights Because I’m a Woman

Contrary to what we often think, most women do not bulk up out of feminine proportion from doing weights at the gym. In fact, adding weights to your gym routine can help you tighten up, lose weight by boosting your metabolism, and increase your overall strength.

And if you’re a bit of a tomb boy, like I am, it will earn you the respect of your more masculine peers, who know only too well how much women hate weight training.

We’ve all made embarrassing mistakes at the gym that cost us our workout. What are some of yours?

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18 Comments Add yours

  1. Great advice, but I’m gonna add one major one I’m failing to do…Feel free to add it before #1 in your list and call it #0.
    0.) Actually, go to the gym and stop talking about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahahahahah. Thank you for that. I just ruined my shirt laughing with a full mouth when I saw that. Yes, you should definitely begin by actually going to the gym. Great point!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, it’s been something I’ve been struggling with for so incredibly long. You see, I used to be incredibly healthy and used to love working out…someplace along the line I forgot myself and have been incredibly ashamed to show back up in a gym. I’m self-conscious about the way I look now.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can understand that. I haven’t fallen off the bandwagon with the gym, but definitely with running. I looked much better when running was a part of my routine.

        I bought a bicycle this week though so hopefully that gets me out on the road again.

        I hope you find something to inspire you too!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I might be getting a divorce, so that is kind of inspiring…it looks like I’m going to have much more time on my hands…lol

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Haha. I’m pretty sure it will be. That’s the best time to get sexy again and to be back on the market! Woo hoo!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I got sucked into the wormhole of your blog there for a moment. Clawing my way out so I can get back to work lol

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Ha! Feel free to come by anytime! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Haha. Will do 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Oh…and sorry I messed up your shirt…I’ve had that effect on women before. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Haha. I don’t doubt that you have. I’m home anyway, so no harm done. Drop by again with more lolz any time!

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Thank you for the invite! I’ll do what I can.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah says:

    Unluckily I’ve already made all of these mistakes and maybe even more over e years 🙂 but this is a great post and very precious advices!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sarah! What a relief that I’m not alone haha. Fitting the gym into busy routines can cause a lot of us to slip up and forget things. But hey, at least we try!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yup. This sounds like my gym experience in a nutshell. Forgot music. Can’t get into audio books. Am intimidated by the weights and don’t want to make a fool of myself. Avoid eye contact with EVERYONE. Attempting to work out before breakfast/after dinner. Thankfully, I did figure out the stretching one pretty quick, but the rest… Yeah… still working on those. :/ Thanks for the list! Makes me feel better to know I’m not alone. Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think a lot of us make those mistakes. I’m glad the list not only provided advice, but invited a lot of us out the closet to confess our gym sins haha

      Liked by 1 person

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