Top 8 Mistakes You’re Making in the Gym

Written by LeeAnn Hriniak


February 14, 2023

Whether you’ve been a gym-goer for years or just started, we’ve seen it all in terms of mistakes. Here are our top 8 mistakes we would fix!

1. Not Following A Program

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Well, failing might be a bit harsh, but you are likely not to get very far. It’s great if your goal is to move and you did just that. However, we see a lot of people come in and just mess around. Imagine getting two years down the road. Most of us will feel we’ve wasted time that could have progressed us forward. If you are someone who likes to play training roulette, does that random IG girl’s workout, or follow another gym-goers moves, we recommend you consider what your future self will need and want.

Here at NexT, we like to structure all of our clients with next YEAR in mind. If you’re trying to get stronger, your program will be based on eliminating your weaknesses so you can hit that big PR later. Your rest, volume, and progression are all taken care of. Same concept if you want to lose weight. Your program will be structured to put muscle on your body and give your conditioning and steps a test.

No matter what your goal is, there is a ton of science out there for program structure to achieve your goal. Get on one! Your future self thanks you.

2. Switching It Up Too Much

This might seem like the opposite of number one, but there is a happy medium to create adaptation in the body. Maybe you’ve always switched it up. While this keeps things interesting, it makes for difficult progression.

At NexT, we like to program most of our clients on a four week rotation. This is a small block as a part of a bigger picture, but in those four weeks, you see the same moves and are able to progressively overload. Progressive overload is increasing your working weights slightly every week to create an adaption. This means you’ll likely start wobbly or not feeling the muscles in week one and then progressively get better over the four weeks. After that, you’ve gotten a lot more comfortable and confident, pushing heavier weight… to change it up and start a new four week cycle!

3. Not Progressing Properly

Hopefully, by now, you’re noticing a pattern of progression. If you’re on a program, you’re in a great spot and likely have a goal related to getting better, but how do you master that program?

Proper progression means sticking to the appropriate weights. It’s like the bowls of porridge, don’t go too heavy and don’t go too light, find one that’s just right. You should be able to finish your reps, but it should be challenging where you REALLY need to focus for the last couple of reps. This is another reason a program is beneficial. You can use the first week to figure out where your starting weight for this rep scheme is. Track and take notes to ensure you have the proper progressive overload.

4. Cheating Reps & Wasting Time

This one lands similar to the concept of quality over quantity! If a rep isn’t done correctly, is it done at all? Don’t get me wrong, for some people, just moving in itself is a HUGE win. But, for those working to get better, you’ll really want to make every rep count.

Your range of motion and intention play a huge role in muscle engagement and response. For instance, a lot of the time we see people tapping the dumbbells together at the top of an overhead press. This unfortunately is out of the range of motion of the deltoid, so if bodybuilding is your goal, these reps out of range will be a big time waster. None of us have a lot of time, so you want to get the MOST out of the gym time you do have.

5. Working Out For Food

If you enjoy the hamster wheel feeling, we won’t stop you. But please don’t buy into a Snickers equalling 200 steps on the stepper or any other silly food to movement equation. If you haven’t noticed by now, it’s not as simple as that.

You get gas AFTER you’ve driven miles in the car because the car needs more gas to go farther. You don’t drive a bunch of miles because you’re going to get gas later tonight. The same is true with food. You fuel up after a training session so you can train hard again the next time, not just because you are going to eat tacos.

6. Not Giving It Enough Time

I probably don’t need to tell you consistency is key. None of us like it, but the body or strength we really want is on the other side of a MUCH longer period of time than we initially imagined.

We are so bred to look for immediate gratification, however, the body does a lot internally before it expresses itself outwardly in things like composition and strength. It’s a seed in the ground. Water it, give it sunlight and give it time.

7. Not Having A Coach

Wow, that’s a lot to keep in mind, we know. But that’s why we are here! Truth be told, most coaches have a coach. Whether it is to help apply all the things mentioned above, for accountability, to have an objective source, or for programming, a coach can play a huge role in your rate of success. Whether it is someone you like online, your uncle, or one of us, pick someone and get on a plan.

8. Not Trying Something New

There is a lot that goes into a well-rounded fitness lifestyle. Cardio bunnies can benefit from weight lifting and powerlifters can see an improvement in health by doing a little walking. While we shouldn’t be doing something new all the time, there are many modalities we can use to better ourselves as athletes.

Physical therapy can fix twinges and pains. You can join an SGT class for conditioning to better your recovery during lifts. Including InBody scans in your regime can help you objectively see where you are and shift gears in your nutrition where needed.

It’s a difficult act to balance all of these aspects of a fitness lifestyle, but we are here to help and hope to be a strong resource for you. If you’re up for the challenge, you can put your application to the test and join our Pre-Summer Contest. Take what you’ve learned here or dive in with a coach for 12 weeks.

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