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Avoid These 6 Workout Mistakes

We all want to make the most of our workouts since we don't have tons of time to devote to being at the gym. To ensure that your workout is effective, efficient, and safe, check to make sure you're not committing these exercise crimes.

  1. Running is your only form of cardio. Don't get me wrong. Running is effective at getting your heart rate up, toning your legs, and burning calories, but you can suffer repetitive injuries if you only stick to running. So mix it up when it comes to cardio. Biking, hiking, swimming, jumping rope, and cardio classes are also good forms of cardio.
  2. You skip the warmup. What if you're short on time and you want to burn as many calories as possible in your 30-minute lunch break? Not only will warming up prevent injury, but research shows that, "Your body literally needs to warm up so that blood flow increases, the nervous system wakes up, and the body starts to use energy and oxygen more efficiently." So warm up by doing a low intensity version of whatever type of cardio you've chosen.

What other mistakes should you avoid? To find out


  1. You don't stretch. Many of you admitted that stretching is not top on your list. Just like the warmup, it's essential to include in every workout. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, don't bounce, and don't push yourself in a stretch to the point of feeling pain. Need some ideas? Here are some of my favorite basic stretches.
  2. Your weights are too light. If you can rush through your reps and not feel tired by the end of your last set, then you need to choose a heavier weight. In order to build muscle tone, the muscle fibers need to be stressed. Likewise, if your weights are too heavy, you'll have improper form and will rely on momentum to do reps instead of utilizing your muscles. You'll know you have the perfect amount of weight when your muscles feel fatigued by 10 or 12 reps.
  3. You do the same strength-training routine every time. Does it seem like your routine is getting easier? It's not necessarily because your muscles are getting stronger. They're just accustomed to doing the exact same exercises every session. To tone your muscles effectively, they need to be challenged continuously. So surprise your muscles and mix up the order of your routine, or better yet, include new exercises each time.
  4. You only do crunches to whittle your middle. Doing ab work will definitely tone your muscles, but it won't get rid of the layer of fat that's covering them. You can't rely solely on target strength training to fix problems areas. You need to do calorie-burning cardio to reduce your overall body fat percentage. This is the best way to reduce the extra padding around your waist, thighs, and booty.

Are you guilty of any of these mistakes? Share the details in the comments section below.


nancita nancita 8 years
Great tips. I should really mix up my strength training more but it's so easy to stick to a routine.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I'd have to say that I'm guilty of not always stretching. I just don't always have time for it, but I'm trying to get better about it.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
Chulitachorty & angelina, Hey fellow Texans! It really IS hot and humid down here, so I feel you on actually exercising outside. I did start running outside though - I just get up and go before the sun really hits. A 7am run is usually tolerable...anything earlier and I wouldn't feel safe being outside - it's still dark!
angelina8023 angelina8023 8 years
I'm in Texas as well chulitachorty, and you're right it's way too humid and hot to run down here. It finally cooled off at 9 last night and by then I was too tired to run. Maybe I should try swimming.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
I'm not big on stretching either but I'm about to me!! Just saw a sports med doc about my achilles --- turns out I have achilles tendonitis and stretching will help with recovery. It's important !!
Silje Silje 8 years
Same as Kia, and I'm not very good at stretching. I need to get it into my routine asap. I think I will print this list and put it on my fridge, easier to remember then =)
margokhal margokhal 8 years
I don't have any safe or good place to bike right now...and I'm doing the C25K, so running is my only form of cardio right now. Every other day I'm not doing it, I walk or do a bit of bouncing around [what I call "dancing"]. I don't do much strength training [I haven't got any weights that are the right size, and no money to buy some], but during my walking intervals I do a lot of arm and shoulder exercises. All the other things I do.
Renee3327 Renee3327 8 years
I'm pretty good about all of these except #1. I usually try to incorporate one other type of cardio each week into my routine but nothing challenges me or makes me feel quite as good as running. The truth is, if I tell myself I can't run because I need to do another form of cardio, chances are I will skip altogether. That said, I change up my running routine enough and rotate in strength training and yoga so I don't get injured from overuse.
chulitachorty chulitachorty 8 years
it's way too humid to run in texas ... i stick to swimming and walking in early mornings.. but i know i need more
TeresaB81 TeresaB81 8 years
So how often should I be changing up my strength training routine? I just go the proper form for the routine I am doing now.
kia kia 8 years
The lack of warming up has become blatantly apparent to me lately. I don't use oxygen that efficiently at first and if I jump into a run with with folks I am huffing and puffing the first half mile, then I am fine after that.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I run because it does not cost any money. And until I can find something else that doesn't cost any money and I can do consistently (i do not do workout dvds consistently) I will stick to just running. I know i should be cross training, but I just can't afford to put money into my non-main-workout-activity.
kclulu kclulu 8 years
I agree with all of these and follow most religiously except stretching and warming up. I incorporate those most of the time but they are the first thing to go when I am short on time.
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