My time in the gym is my dream time. I practice mindfulness and focus on what I’m doing and it is very peaceful, considering what I’m actually doing there (lifting heavy weights with the occasional grunt, generally). It is really one of my favorite things to do.
Gym Time is My Peace Time…
During my gym time, I also do some people watching. I’m in awe at what people are accomplishing, like lifting lots of weight, dancing, sweating, thoroughly enjoying themselves. And I also see people doing things I wish they wouldn’t.
I mostly let people follow their own path and only interfere if I think someone will get hurt, which is rare, honestly. I’m all about effectiveness and efficiency and I see some folks not getting the most out of their gym time and I want to help.
Now these aren’t huge mistakes, but stuff that may be hindering some progress or making your workouts less effective. Little things that can make a huge difference!
- Not lifting heavy enough. I’m talking to you, LADIES! As a general rule, you should be lifting weights that weigh more that your purse 😉 If you can easily complete 10-12 reps of the exercise, then it is time to up the weight! Those last 1-2 reps should REALLY be hard. You really need to stress your muscles in order to build and get that “toned” look that everyone wants. I see so many women in the gym that are not lifting enough to really build that muscle. No, you will not get bulky. Women have a lot of strength in their legs, so, no more squats with the little pink dumbbells!
- Not having structure. I’m not saying that you have to be on some 12 week official program from a famous bodybuilder, but you need to go to the gym with at least a plan so you aren’t wandering around aimlessly. Ideally, you will do the same gym routine for 3-5 weeks. This will help you improve strength on the exercises and it helps keep it trackable. You can see that in week 1, you were lifting X lbs and in week 4 you are lifting more than that. Nothing motivates like progress, let me tell you. When you start to see those numbers go up, and you feel stronger and leaner, you will want to go back the next week and the next week to see what you can increase. Trust me! So, have a plan, repeat it for a few weeks, track your progress and see how you do!
- Not knowing what muscles you are working. If you see an exercise online, or have a trainer tell you to do something and you don’t know why you are doing it make sure you ask your trainer where you should feel it. They should be able to help tweak it for you so you can feel it where you are supposed to be feeling it. Also on this topic – I saw some guys standing on a Bosu ball and throwing a medicine ball into a net and then catching it. I’m really not sure when or where in real life they would be using this skill, unless they are gymnasts or professional Bosu balancers?? The point is – the basic weightlifting moves will always work and the trendy balancing on 1 leg doing a handstand (?) will come and go, and will have a catchy marketing theme and infomercial, but don’t be fooled. The more trickery or more fancy it gets, the less practical it is, and the less effective.
- Not asking for help. Similar to #3, if you don’t know how to do something or don’t know why you are doing it, ask for help. Believe me, the folks in the gym are DYING to share their knowledge with you LOL. Or, if you need help moving some weights off a piece of equipment, feel free to ask someone to help. I do spend a lot of my rest time in the gym cleaning up after others and I really don’t mind it, and it helps other people out. There are a lot of people willing to help, willing to tell you why they are doing that move, or where they saw it, or how much they can bench 😊 😊 . So take advantage and ask for help.
- Not keeping it moving. Stay off your phone. Save some time. One of the reasons people don’t like to go to the gym is that they are “too busy” and don’t have time to spend an hour in the gym. Well, you can get a great workout in 20-40 minutes. But once you pick up that phone, time flies (unfortunately not the same for the treadmill hee hee) and there goes your hour and you barely did one exercise. I definitely want you to rest when you need to, but keep it reasonable, or time if it you need to. Also, there are benefits to keeping your heart rate up while lifting weights, so keep it moving.
Bonus gym strength training tip!
If I had to give a BONUS TIP, it would be – STOP spending too much time on the cardio machines and not enough time lifting weights. Cardio won’t change your body like strength training does (again, no, you won’t get bulky). I could write a whole other article on this one! Stay tuned for that!
Please let us know what questions you have about these tips!