I’ve been a gymrat for over a decade. Trust me when I tell you, I’ve made every mistake in the book after many failed diet and training attempts that left me feeling frustrated, hopeless and questioning if I will ever achieve my fitness goals. In the process I learned the importance of having a plan.
1. Going in without a plan
By far, the number one mistake of gym goers is moseying into the iron temple not having a clue of what they are about to do. This is forgivable once in a while, but consistently showing up with a lackadaisical attitude and no general objective for the session will eventually come back to haunt you. Do yourself a favor and get equipped with a basic training program that will give you more structure and consistency– it doesn’t have to be anything fancy!
2. Skipping the warm-up
Tons of people walk right into the gym and head straight to the squat rack. That may work for some people, but the majority of the population needs some sort of warm-up protocol to prepare their tissues and their minds for the training session. This is going to look different for everyone, but a good place to start is a quick 3-5 minutes of general cardiovascular exercise to increase blood flow, followed by a relevant mobility flow to address any joint stiffness that could impede movement efficiency during the workout.
3. Changing your exercises too frequently
The concept of “muscle confusion” has been debunked time after time. In order to strengthen or grow a body part we need consistent and targeted stimulus. That alone requires practice; to get better at a movement and really dial in your mind muscle connection you need to repeatedly practice it so you can recruit as many muscle fibers as possible and really squeeze the juice out of the exercise.
4. Ignoring what you do with the other 23 hours of your day
This one might hit pretty close to home, as it is the stem of the frustration of many gym goers. Going to the gym for an hour a day is not enough to make up for a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet. Make sure the other 23 hours in your day reflect your goals just as much as that one hour banging weights does. This applies to your recovery, diet, sleep, social life etc.
5. Thinking everyone is looking at you
Last but not least, this one is huge. Gym anxiety can be paralyzing, especially for people who are new to training. As much as I can sit here and yell at you NO ONE CARES!, I know it’s easier said than done to ignore that part of your brain that tells you everyone is watching you. The only way to get over that barrier is to face it head-on. The more frequently you expose yourself to that uncomfortable situation of being in the gym, the easier it gets. You just have to get some momentum and allow yourself to form a callus over that fear with time. Trust me, you can do it.