I’m back to doing personal training again.
For the last three years, I’ve been working at a private GYROTONIC® and pilates studio. Everyone was either taking a class or a private session. There wasn’t anyone working out on their own. Now working in a regular gym again, around hundreds of people doing “their own thing”, I’m going insane holding myself back from just going over to people and saying quite loudly:
“JUST STOP, PLEASE!”
“Seriously… You’re wasting your time!”
“You’re ruining your posture and going to injure yourself.”
Of course I’d get fired very quickly if actually said that to anyone (maybe not the last one). So I just wince and turn away. Maybe I’ll get lucky and members at the gym where I work will find this post and realize “Oh, that’s me.”
Mistake #1: Thinking there are handles on hills in the real world.
I don’t understand how anyone can fail to realize that holding on to the treadmill while it’s on an incline completely nullifies putting a treadmill on an incline.
If you’re at an incline, then hold on and lean back, the relationship between your body and the deck of the treadmill is exactly the same as if you were walking on the treadmill flat. It’s mechanics, people. In the real world, when you walk up an incline you lean into the hill. This allows you to drive more of the motion from the glutes, which is always great for the glutes (the butt!). It also changes how you use your core to stabilize your torso. Also, in the real world you swing your arms when walking, especially uphill! So unless you’re training yourself to be an old person using a walker, let go of the treadmill.
Mistake #2: Thinking you’re at the bus stop or library.
Aside from the fact that other people might want to use that equipment, sitting on the equipment between sets is quite literally and obviously wasting time.
Everyone likes to act like their lives are SO BUSY and it’s SO HARD to get to the gym, then they get to the gym and just sit there. C’mon, man! First off, unless you’re doing maximal strength training, where you’re doing low reps at high weight, your maximum rest time between sets should only be 30 seconds. And it should be an ACTIVE RECOVERY. Keep yourself moving. And heck, you might be able to get out of the gym a little quicker. You’re busy after all, right?
Mistake #3: Purposely giving yourself forward head posture.
Spotting on the ceiling when doing crunches is so insanely bad for your posture. When you’re doing an abdominal crunch, you’re taking your thoracic and lumbar spine into flexion. When you spot on the ceiling, your head doesn’t go with the rest of the spine and instead goes into extension.
Right now, sitting in your chair, round your spine but look up with your head. Feels awful, doesn’t it, like Montgomery Burns. You can just tell it’s wrong. So why are you doing this at the gym??
Forward head posture is probably already the most common postural distortion affecting our computer bound culture. Don’t help your body fall apart at the gym. It’s supposed to be the opposite of that.
Mistake #4: Turning into a hamster in a Habitrail.
I won’t ever be the person to tell you that cardio is useless or shouldn’t be done. Quite the contrary. Cardiovascular exercise is intrinsic to a healthy lifestyle. However, being on cardio equipment for an hour or longer is a magical waste of time.
Yes, I know you’re sweating. I can see it all over the equipment. But does that mean you’re making effective and efficient use of your time? Definitely not. There is a reason so many training sites say that steady state cardio is an all too common gym mistake… and they’re only partially wrong. I don’t care how hard you’re working or sweating, unless you’re varying your workouts your body got used to what you’re doing a short 5 – 6 weeks after you started. You plateaued. Have you noticed your body composition hasn’t changed in 3 years? Guess why. Because Your Body Got Used To It.
Make your time on the cardio equipment efficient and effective. Don’t waste time at the gym (you’re so busy after all.) Stop being a hamster and start using heart rate zone interval training.
Mistake #5: Pulling a Ron Burgundy when doing your abs.
“Ohh, it’s the deep burn. Oh, it’s so deep. I don’t know if you heard me counting. I did over a thousand.”
I think many people, upon seeing this scene in “Anchorman” thought it was real gym advice. Well… it’s not. It’s an absurdity in a comedy. Yet I see people making the gym mistake of doing hundreds of crunches. They must be trying to get to 1,000! I won’t even mention the awful form, use of momentum or uselessly small ranges of motion.
When you do chest press, have you ever done 100 in a set? Heck no, of course not. Why not? Cause everyone knows pecs don’t need that repetition range? Correct! It’s useless. So why do you think your abdominal muscles are made from a different material? They aren’t. They’re still skeletal muscles with all the same properties. They don’t need 100 or more repetitions if you’re working them correctly. Yes, just like cardio, if you need to do 100 reps of a muscle building exercise for ANY muscle, you’re working that muscle incorrectly. You’ve probably been doing it for a long time. You probably think you have to do more and more to have any benefit.
You’ve plateaued. It happens after 4 – 6 weeks for ANY type of bodily adaptation. IT’S TIME TO CHANGE IT UP.
Besides, you’re busy right? Spending 30 minutes just doing crunches doesn’t seem like an absurd waste of time to you??
Newest and dumbest of all Gym Mistakes: Confusing the gym for your living room.
While the other 5 gym mistakes are kind of what you could call “classics”, this one is new. People… watching television on your phone or tablet while “working out” is the stupidest thing EVER. It’s much like Mistake #2 except done to an absurd level.
I saw a member on one of the ab crunch machines (which are pretty much a waste anyway) and he was half-assing through those already half assed crunches by watching some show on his phone. He was laughing and having a good time. REALLY?? At the gym?
Why are you at the gym? Do you have a purpose? Do you have a goal? I will GUARANTEE you no one listed on their New Years Resolutions “I will watch more television” yet they’re doing it at the gym. As the kids today put it “SMH”. Get in. Work out. Get out. Then you can ruin everything you just did by sitting on your butt watching television at home. Just don’t do it at the gym!
In fact, don’t do any of these gym mistakes.
Please… you’re making me crazy!