5 Mistakes You're Making at the Gym

You’re using your phone for more than music

It sure is nice having a camera, phone, and computer all in our pocket at one time.  Smartphones have definitely changed our lives, but you’re making a mistake using it at the gym.  Outside of checking your exercise plan or playing music, your smartphone is affecting your gym time.  Taking a call, looking up cute panda pics, and posting selfies to social media have no place in your gym routine.  Every disturbance draws away your focus and piles up until you’ve accomplished nothing.  My suggestion is to put your phone on airplane mode when at the gym.  That will allow you to listen to music and check your plan without the extra junk. 

You’re talking

If I like you, I’ll talk until you start slowly backing away.  But blabbering may be affecting the quality of your exercise.  How?  Talking between sets can lead to resting too long.  Yacking during sets can lead to a lack of focus and possible injury.  And turning the gym into a social club could mean you don’t show up when you’re not feeling social.  My students describe me as a grump at the gym.  I do not look approachable, and I don’t give folks much more than a wave and a what’s up.  If you know me, you know I’m pleasant, but at the gym I keep to myself. 

You’re resting too much/too little

If you’re resting too much, you may be falling out of your target heart rate zone.  You're also affecting your specific goals.  If you’re looking to increase muscular endurance, then resting too much is in direct opposition to that goal.  You could also be resting too little.  If you have goals to get stronger, then too little rest will definitely affect that.  You need to time to not only recover physically but mentally from each set.  Each set requires extreme focus and rested muscles.  Too little rest between sets defeats both.  That means you don’t reach your goals and you increase risk of injury by compensating with poor movement patterns.  Understand your goals and get focused about your rest.  You’ve got to be precise when it comes to rest.

You’re without a plan

I see it way too much.  I understand that not everyone needs a professionally made exercise plan.  Some folks can pull this thing off on their own.  But that doesn’t mean you just walk in, fool around with some stuff for an hour, and go home.  It is absolutely imperative that you have a goal in mind when you walk in the gym.  This goal needs to be crafted in your mind and put on paper well before you enter a gym.  You then need a specific plan for each day or week.  I’m glad you’re there, but I need you to get it together.  I need you to walk in there with a sense of purpose.  If you’re in there without focus, then you’re in everyone’s way.

You’re not thinking about exercise

Have you ever driven home then realized you have no idea how you got there?  I hope you don’t have that feeling after you leave the gym, but unfortunately, it’s more common than not.  Within a session, take an assessment of yourself.  You may realize that exercise is the furthest thing on your mind.  What’s on your mind?  Probably important stuff like:  bills, work deadlines, the kids, and etc.  I’m not arguing for you to stop thinking about important stuff.  I’m advocating for you to raise the rank of exercise in your mind, at least temporarily.  Spend some time actually focusing on your movement and the muscles you’re working.  If you can pull it off, it will change the way you exercise.  It’s not easy to do.  It’s mentally and physically exhaustive to do so but rewarding if you pull it off.