23 Fitness Experts Share The Mistakes We're Making When We Work Out, And I Was So, So Wrong
"You should be lifting the weights — the weights shouldn't be lifting you."
1. "You should be lifting the weights — the weights shouldn't be lifting you."
2. "Not warming up! Please, please, please warm up and cool down. Car engines don't go straight from on to cold — your body doesn't either."
3. "The 'butt wink' when you do squats. That's a surefire way to hurt your lower back! You need to keep your butt down towards the ground so that your back is straight."
4. "Not realizing that weight loss is 80% diet. It's nearly impossible to work out a bad diet."
5. "Do not static stretch before a workout. Muscle elasticity increases with heat, and static stretching when your muscles are colder at the beginning of a workout can damage them. Do static stretches after your workout only."
6. "Focusing on the scale — it lies."
7. "Lots of people think that cardio is the key to weight loss, but it's really strength training that will serve you in the long run."
8. "Bad form on the treadmill or stair climber. Sprinting while holding onto the treadmill handles is never good. If you feel like a horse clomping on the tread, it's not right."
9. "I see so many people who just want to lose belly fat, get rid of bigger arms, or 'get smaller thighs and a bigger butt' — but unfortunately, it's not possible to spot reduce. We don't get to pick where we lose fat, and everyone will lose it differently."
10. "Thinking carbs are your enemy — carbs are everything."
11. "Too many people work out going forward, so their forward muscles are way overdeveloped. Try to remember the last time you walked backwards or sideways — you probably can't."
12. "It kills me to see people using 'arms only' on the rowing machine. Not only is it wasting momentum and energy, but it can also cause terrible back pain over time."
13. "Trying to lose weight as fast as possible. Realistic and gradual reasonable weight loss is not only better, but more sustainable."
14. "Focusing only on weight loss or toning. I've found that when you set strength and lifestyle goals like, 'be able to do 10 push-ups' or 'walk up the stairs without losing my breath,' instead of ones based on how you want to look, it's easier to stay consistent and feel proud."
15. "Not knowing that you need a calorie deficit for weight loss, but a calorie surplus for muscle gain."
16. "The biggest mistake I see people make is not having a consistent routine. Working out seven days a week after being sedentary is a sure way to drop out of the workout program, and working out at a brutal intensity that your body isn't used to will not lead to results. What will work is gradually adding intensity or frequency of exercise to what you normally have been doing."
17. "You're being too hard on yourself! You can't expect to go from no exercise to American Ninja Warrior right off the bat. You have to crawl before you can run, so make small, simple changes first."
18. "Stop following those gimmicky 'grow your booty' plans on Instagram — you can't grow your booty in 30 days!"
19. "Stretch after weightlifting and resistance training, not just cardio."
20. "Having preconceived ideas of what a 'good' workout is. Knowing how to move a weight from point A to point B is less about the muscles involved and more about your approach to the movement. Do you know how to breathe, prepare, engage, and FINISH the move properly?"
21. "Not listening to your body — our bodies are all different, and they're able to tell us when we've done too much with that one muscle group, or conversely, too little."
22. "You can't do the same type of exercises over and over again and expect to see lasting results, no matter what you're doing."
23. "And please stop following Instagram fitness influencers who don't have a personal training certification — they only know what works for them, and everyone is different."
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.