You’re Doing It ALL WRONG – Five Exercise Mistakes You Might Be Making

Are you working out but not seeing the results you hoped for? Perhaps you’re making one of these common mistakes.

1) You Don’t Have a Plan

You’ve seen them. They wander the gym, pausing every few minutes to text a friend. They have no plan. You can tell by how they look around, stop at random machines, and look confused for a few minutes before they might try a few half-hearted reps.

Are you that person? It’s ok, I used to be that person too. And I had the lackluster results to show for it.

I stand behind my mantra of “Be Your Own Kind of Fit” and I do believe that any movement is better than no movement. So if that’s your thang, and you’re satisfied with your results, more power to you. :::fist bump:::

But if you have high aspirations for a chiseled look, substantial weight loss, or a serious increase in strength, flexibility or performance, you need a plan.

Your plan can be uber-specific – “I want to compete in my first Ironman in six months” – or simple – “It’s leg day.” But either way, know why you’re there, what your goals are, and what you’re going to do. It makes your workouts more efficient and your results more tangible. There are plans you can nab and buy online, or you can design your own, or you can hire a trainer to help you. But whatever you decide, don’t go in without a plan of some sort.

Need help setting goals and creating a plan that works for you? Read here, or hire a trainer for help.  


2) You’re Not Changing Your Workout

A man at my gym recently hired me to help him redesign his workout program. His son had designed something for him two years before, and he’d been doing it faithfully, 3x a week. For two years.  THE SAME WORKOUT.

Now again, major kudos to him for exercising, sticking with it, and not going bat-shit crazy being consistent. But he’d long given up on seeing results. He’d been in maintenance mode for a long, long, LONG damn time.

Your body adapts to your workouts. That’s good! That’s progress! But once you’ve progressed and adapted to your current regimen, your body expends less energy to do those same workouts, and to continue seeing results you need to change something. 1017314_291031057703212_771342288_n

Change your set and rep counts. Change your weight amounts. Change your equipment. Change the order of training. Change the style from endurance to strength, or to power.  Change your level of intensity, your timing, your distance. Just…  CHANGE SOMETHING.


3) You’re Not Listening to Your Body

I don’t care what today’s WOD (Workout of the Day) is.
I don’t care if all my co-workers are doing a 30-day Squat Challenge.
I don’t care that my DVD series says I’m on Week 4, Day 7 and today should be Plyometrics.

If every muscle in my body screams “NO,” I’m going to listen.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the push and accountability that comes with CrossFit, 30-Day Challenges, and a good DVD series. LOVE it. But… not at the risk of injuring myself. And not if it isn’t producing the results I want.

What do YOU need? Do you really need to do 1,952 squats in a month? Or will 3 sets of 10, 3x/week (and properly rotated among other complementary exercises) suffice?

Go back to your plan, and determine what you need to reach your goals. I will often draw from the philosophies of WODs, pyramid workouts, monthly challenges, and so on, but adapt them to fit my fitness goals and match my fitness level.

I recommend you do the same.


Getting enough rest and recovery between workouts also falls under this heading. I’m looking at you, 2 workouts/day people. 


4) You’re Not Doing High-Intensity Exercise

Well, if you’re doing my workouts, you are. :::hair flip::: But I’m looking at you, Mrs. 2-Miles-at-Speed-3.0-on-the-Treadmill-Every-Time.

Again, not that there’s anything wrong with that (Name That Sitcom).

But if you want to achieve better results, faster, throw some short, high-intensity intervals into that treadmill routine. Researchers and trainers are finding that interval training, especially that which incorporates compound movement exercises (not just traditional cardio), burns more calories than the same amount of time spent doing traditional cardio.

In fact, renowned training specialist, author, and Men’s Health Magazine contributor Alwyn Cosgrove found that, “a circuit of five exercises, performed three times round (15 total sets) would actually burn more calories than the same time spent doing traditional cardio.”

Sound familiar? BOOM.


If you are loathe to give up your traditional cardio, try alternating 90 seconds of walking with 15-30 seconds of AFAP (As Fast as Possible). And remember, that’s as fast as possible for you. 

Or, alternate 2-minute stints on the treadmill with bodyweight exercises like 15-30 squats, push-ups, jumping jacks, or burpees.

Yes, I’m telling you to hop on and off the treadmill.
Yes, people will stare at you.
Own it.
I do crazy things like this all the time. 

Basically, on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is sitting here reading this blog post and 10 is all-out as hard as you can go, hang out mostly in the 4-6 range, but every so often, do something, anything, to get yourself to an 8 or 9. You’ll know you’re at an 8 or 9 if you’re uncomfortable, it’s hard, and you can’t hold a conversation with the person next to you.


5) You’re Not Stretching

No, that 3-second quad stretch doesn’t count. I know you’re in a hurry. I am too. But the benefits of flexibility training are many, including:

  • Increased freedom of movement – everyday activities are easier with improved range of motion and ease in movement
  • Improved posture – often poor posture is exacerbated by tight muscles pulling the body out of alignment
  • Relaxation
  • Better coordination – improved posture and proper joint movements keep you mobile and balanced, and therefore less prone to injury
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Increased circulation

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It’s best to do dynamic stretching before your workout – think arm circles, knees raises, hip rotations, torso twists – and static stretching after your workout. Static stretching is the reach-and-hold kind, and a general rule of thumb is the older you are, the longer you need to hold the stretch because flexibility decreases with age.


Like I need to tell you that. Hello, toes you haven’t touched in 2 decades.


And that’s a wrap.  

Now…  wanna get sweaty? *wink nudge*
HiiT this week’s Quickie Workout with me!



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