Things You Should Stop Doing in the Gym

Slacking Off

This seems pretty obvious, but to get results you need to actually put in some quality work. Hanging around chatting with the bros never got anyone ripped, but it has bestowed upon many the glory of a prominent beer belly. Now, resting a few minutes in between super heavy sets is crucial for maintaining safe technique, but there is a big difference between recovering and slacking off. If your results are stalling, it might be because you aren’t working as hard as you think, or you lack focus because of the intermittent bro-banter. Stay focused, work hard, lift heavy => profit.

Doing a Bazillion Exercises for the same Body Part

If you’re doing 10 bicep exercises per workout, you’re blowin’ it. Either you need to add more weight, or your form sucks – maybe both. Intensity and volume have an inverse relationship, meaning the more intense the effort, the less time we can maintain that same level of effort. In other words, heavier weight means less reps. We all have a limited amount of energy and must prioritize exercises effectively. Rather than half-ass a ton of exercises, go hard with just a few.

Emphasizing Little Movements over Big Ones

Speaking of priorities, multi joint movements should be the cornerstone of your training program. These big movements (squats, deadlifts, or pull-ups, to name a few) use many muscles simultaneously and therein lies the benefits of these exercises. By using more muscles we can not only lift more weight, which will yield more strength, but work many different muscle groups in less time.

Let’s look at the overhead press. You could work each muscle individually with isolation exercises by doing lateral raises (deltoids), tricep extensions, and dumbbell pec flies OR you could hammer them all doing heavy overhead presses. And if you have an area that needs a little more attention, throw in a set or two focused on that area AFTER doing presses. This method is not only time efficient, but also energy efficient and ultimately more effective.

5 Hours of Cardio

Folks that fall into this camp want to lose weight (unless they are training for a marathon, in which case, they should ignore this section.) At the very best, excessive cardio is a waste of time; at the very worst, it has a ruinous effect on the metabolism and is indicative of an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. The prevalence of excessive cardio stems from a number of misconceptions regarding weight loss. While going into great depth about this is outside the scope of this piece, I will briefly discuss the important points. Namely, the cause of excessive cardio is fear of getting “bulky” to which I will direct you here and the notion that the point of exercise is to burn calories.

This. Is. Wrong.

You can’t outrun a bad diet. Even the most metabolic, calorie scorching, pool of sweat and tears workouts really only burn about 600 calories. This is less than two pieces of cheese pizza. What’s easier? Never eating the excess 600 calories to begin with? Or exercising for hours and hours in a futile attempt to burn them off?

But if weight loss is about nutrition, why exercise at all? Because people don’t want lose weight because of an arbitrary number on the scale – they want to look different. What builds muscle keeps muscle, i.e. strength training. Retaining muscle during weight loss results in a different looking body, rather than a smaller version of the same body. Nutrition for weight loss, lifting for physique change.

Want to know more about making the most of your gym time? Drop a comment below or send me a message here if you’re interested in Personal Training. I’m currently accepting new clients and would love to help you learn your way around a gym.


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