We Ask the Experts: Common Fitness Mistakes
These top area trainers see fitness goals being reached every day. They also have a keen insight into what might be throwing you off course – and why. Here, they share the most common mistakes they see.
By Candice Graham
No Control of Consistency
The biggest mistake we see in the fitness industry today is lack of consistency. We all want progress in some way, shape, or form. There is a process and order to maintain consistency. You must first set a goal and discover what it would take to get you there. This is referred to as your WHY. You must know why you want to achieve the goal. Without your why, you have no purpose. Without a purpose you have no drive. Without drive, you have no consistency. So set goals that are realistically obtainable, find your why, and take control of your consistency.
Co-Owner/NESTA Certified Trainer, Tumbling Coach
Not Giving Weights a Chance
One of the biggest fitness mistakes I see is not realizing how beneficial lifting heavy weights are for both men and women! Strength training using weight that challenges your muscles has many important benefits including higher metabolic rate, fat loss, strength that will provide better athletic performance and help prevent injury, stronger bones, better posture, and a more fit and youthful appearance. Women don’t need to be afraid of getting “bulky” because most can’t! If you really want to see positive fitness change, add strength training to your fitness routine.
Certified Personal Trainer
Too Much, Too Soon
The biggest mistake that I see repeatedly is new trainees starting off doing too much, too soon. They will often get discouraged after the overwhelming feeling of muscle soreness. It’s best to start “too light” and progress slowly in order to promote steady progress. To optimize your health and wellness goals, center your training sessions around compound, foundational movements (i.e. squats, deadlifts, presses, etc.) and their variations with the initial focus on form and technique. After developing a solid base, increase the weight in small increments on a weekly basis to facilitate muscle and strength development.
Matthew Ryan Walters
Only Focusing on Cardio
As a trainer, it’s discouraging to me when people say they want to “work on their cardio before starting a resistance training program.” Resistance training should be a big part in any weight loss goal, as well as cardio. A combination of both resistance training and cardio training would be more beneficial than walking or running on a treadmill for a month. Resistance training allows for more of a boost to your metabolism, which in return will make your body a fat burning, weight dropping machine. Proper resistance training is important, so seeking help from a fitness professional is recommended.
Fitness Service Manager
Improper Weight For Men and Women
The mistake that I come across most is a misunderstanding of weightlifting. For women, they tend to use lighter weights out of fear of outrageous muscle growth. I coach women on proper weight and technique. It’s also important to note that women don’t have the testosterone levels in their body to grow muscles unless they work out six days a week and have a perfect diet. For men, I see the opposite problem. I have seen men lift more weight than they can handle. This is a mistake because if you lift more than you can handle, your form will be off. This puts you at risk of injury and reduces the benefits of exercise.
Inadequate Protein Consumption
A common fitness mistake I see is consuming inadequate protein. Exercise breaks down muscle and muscle has to be repaired to change our body composition (fat to muscle ratio). Muscle is repaired by the protein we consume in our diet. Therefore, vigorous exercise without adequate protein consumption causes muscle mass to decrease. Losing muscle mass lowers the number on the scale, but it also decreases your metabolism. A decreased metabolism allows your body to more readily store fat. This leads to a vicious cycle of calorie cutting, working out, and increased body fat. Aim for 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass when exercising regularly.
Assistant Head Coach
Orangetheory Fitness Chattanooga