As a trainer for over 12 years, I can tell you that I have seen it all, but a lot of the mistakes that gym-goers make comes down to two things
- That a person is intimidated entering a gym for the first time, therefore they have no game plan and are daunted by the ‘all eyes on you’ feeling that you get when entering an unfamiliar environment
- The person has picked up bad technique habits which has lead to poor form and imbalances
Let’s take a closer look at these
The game plan
As the cat says in Alice in Wonderland… ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there.”
Having the motivation to join a gym in the first place is great, however, often people don’t know how to plan or navigate this environment when they are first starting out.
This can lead to people wandering from machine to machine, not knowing how to use them, and if the machine they wanted to use is taken, they can end up doing nothing or chatting instead.
The number one mistake made in the gym is not having a structure/plan for your session. Another mistake is to copy an influencer’s workout on Instagram when you are not really sure how things work.
How do you fix this?
When starting out, take the time to speak to a personal coach/trainer, to help identify goals and limitations, but also to learn how to use the equipment and where everything is.
Especially at a peak time, it is a lot easier to understand how things work if you have someone familiar with the environment taking you through.
Next up, get them to help build you a plan (periodization program) to help you achieve your goal. Having a program gives you purpose with each session and will ultimately help you see results.
Take it as seriously as you would your job
Now that we have discussed the plan, next up is to take it seriously. Think of it as you would a job (but a job you like)
A typical job requires…
- Frequent and consistent attendance (turning up 5 days a week)
- A structure to the day
- Goals and targets to achieve
- Deadlines with which to achieve these targets
- Regular reporting on progress
- Yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily planning.
Imagine displaying the exact same behaviors with your own health and fitness?
The body loves a challenge and progressively challenging the body is where we see growth. Staying on the same program longer than 4 to 6 weeks, results in the body plateauing. This is big given some gym-goers can dedicate years of their life attending the same gym, repeating the same routine, expecting to see constant improvement. That won’t happen if you are mixing things up.
Your form is off
Last, of all, there are people who have been training for years but with incorrect technique. This too could come from the initial intimidation of entering the gym and not knowing what to do, but over time it has become a habit that can be damaging for the individual.
It is important, especially if you are training alone, to ensure you have the correct technique, that is why when you are starting out it’s a good idea to do a couple of sessions with someone who can coach you. Using poor technique for a long period of time can lead to imbalances that evolve into niggles, and in turn, become injuries. This is easily avoidable with the right education from the right coach.