5 Common Gym Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Fitness

1. Holding onto the Treadmill:

I see this ALL THE TIME (it helps that I sometimes work 10 hour shifts). Grabbing the handlebars when walking briskly at an incline or clamping on during a jog — it’s a pretty common crutch to have when you’re sweating it out on the ‘mill and concerned that you might take a fall. But that’s exactly what it is: a crutch. By holding onto those handlebars, you’re not letting your body do the work it should be doing, like manual stabilization of the core and additional power from those glutes, calves and hammies. Instead of grabbing on every time you climb on to the treadmill, hold something else in your hands, like a stress ball or your iPod (just don’t squeeze the latter too hard). If you’re going for a jog, leave the machine behind and opt for a run around the track or neighborhood instead. With no option to hold on to in front of you, your chances of having a crutch to fall back on are zero.

 

2. Forgetting the Progressive Overload Principle:

We are so proud of our members who consistently come in and use our weight machines every day. We love that they’re getting in a strength exercise with their cardio and class package. But what we would love to see more of is the gradual overload of weight or reps in their workout routine.

Here’s why: the body will tend to plateau if only pushed to a certain point every time you work out. You stop progressing, seeing changes in strength and endurance and muscle tone and weight loss. In order to combat this natural stage, we need to push our bodies past their expected load. We can do this by increasing reps and sets if you’re trying to surpass your current endurance, or you can do it by increasing the weight of your strength exercise.

It’s important to not overdo it, though. Just like we want to push ourselves to grow, we also need to be conscious of what our bodies are capable of. By only increasing in 2-5 pound increments, we can often ensure that we aren’t pushing ourselves further than necessary, that our muscles are still confused and strengthened by the additional weight, and that we see maximum bang for our strength training buck.

3. No Variety!

Here at Girlfriends Fit Club, we offer a large variety of opportunities to get your fit on. With 130 different classes every month, 3 different kinds of cardio machines plus a walking track, and a range of machines to use for your weight training (or free weights if you’re interested!), you can never get bored. And if you can’t get bored, then neither can your body!

But if you’re only sticking to one of those things — cardio bunnies or class junkies (yogis, I’m looking at you), or 3x a week on the weight machines, your body will take longer to see the results you want. That’s why we suggest getting in cardio, weight training and classes (which combine the two) in tandem throughout the week.

4. Social Club?:

We are all about community, but we also want you to get that workout in! Spending too long chatting with your Girlfriends, carrying on a conversation while on the weight machines or slowing down your pace while going around the walking track can come at a higher cost than you might think. Consider putting in those headphones and tuning out the world while you focus on yourself for a half hour, and then spending the rest of your time catching up with the ladies.

Being social can be great for fitness, too! Getting together a group of friends or coworkers is an easy way to make a date with the gym that you can’t back out of later: if you say you’ll be attending that Boot Camp class, your butt better be in there when your colleague shows up to meet you. It’s all about balance, and when you find it, you’ll start to see the changes in your body AND your relationships.

5. Form over Function:

You can pump out all the squats you want, but if you’re not keeping proper from through every-single-one, you’re sacrificing that booty AND opening yourself up to a host of injuries. Squat wrong and you could be looking at suffering through your hips or back or groin or knees. Overextend during a tricep workout and you could be looking at elbow issues. Involve your wrists in any number of upper body workouts and carpal tunnel could be knocking at your door in a matter of weeks.

To combat injury, research your workouts before you hop on the weight machines or free weights at the gym. Ask someone at the front desk of your gym to help you (here at Girlfriends Fit Club, we’ve all been trained to make sure you’re in the right position for every machine and exercise we offer). If you’re still stumped, join a class where you have better instruction or look into getting a personal trainer that can coach you through exercises and a workout routine you can understand.