Workout Smarter: 10 Ways You Sabotage Your Gym Time


You could be the reason you aren’t hitting your workout goals.  You could be to blame and you didn’t even know it!  We all make mistakes that keep us from losing weight and building muscle.  And once you know what could be holding you back, you can fix it!  

So stop holding yourself back. And stop sabotaging your workout. 

Here are 10 ways you could be sabotaging your workout without evening knowing it.


Get comfortable being uncomfortable. You can’t keep lifting puny weights and expect to grow muscles.  And you can’t eat pizza and burgers every night and expect to lose weight. If you want to transform your body, you are going to have to struggle a little. You are going to have to get uncomfortable. 

No one likes having to pass over on pizza night and eat chicken and veggies instead.  But a few moments (or weeks) of discomfort will put you in a more comfortable place in the future.  No, you don’t have to terrorize or torture yourself, but you do have to get a little uncomfortable – wake up early to get your workout in or pass on the drinks and desserts for a few months.   It’s not fun, but it’s necessary for results.


Sure we all know we need to hydrate. High school science taught us that our bodies are mostly made of water so sure, it makes sense that you need water. Monster is not a substitute for water.  Coffee is not a substitute.  Juice, milk or alcohol – none of these are substitutes.  You need good ol’ fashioned agua.  Bottled, sparkling or straight from the hose, it doesn’t matter. But you need it.  And a lot of it. 


Your workout time isn’t your social time. I have never had a good work while chit chatting, nor have I ever witnessed anyone else have one.  It simply does not exist.  Killer workouts mixed with the latest E! news? No, that just doesn’t happen. Sure you can grab and gossip after the workout all you want. But if you are doing it during your training, you aren’t really committed to your workout.  You are more focused on spreading the latest news than on shedding the excess fat.   Sure, you can politely wait until a rest time to share the latest Kardashian gossip, but even waiting for the rests gets your mindset out of the fitness zone and into a relaxed and unmotivated state.  You lose focus on your fitness goals and your performance slacks.  So save the chitchat for the end of the workout.  


A woman doing the elliptical trainer The elliptical is probably the most worthless piece of equipment out there. Sorry, I don’t care if you’re using the latest, fancy Equinox model.  I’m gonna keep it real for a second.  If you own stock in those magical hamster wheels you will not transform anything with this piece of equipment.  In order to get real changes, you need to start using effective exercises. You need to lift weights.  And you need high-intensity intervals. 

No, you don’t need heavy and high intensity every day of the week. But they need to be incorporated into your schedule.  High-intensity intervals, with or without weights, can get your heart rate up higher than any elliptical can.  So, feel free to Craigslist that piece of  ****(I meant ‘work’ not that. Well that too.) and invest that money into some weights.  


Woman doing the same workout over and over If you can go into the gym and do the same exercises day after day and still see results, then bravo for you. But for the large majority of us, this doesn’t work.  We need variety. 

Variety in your workout will keep you from hitting a plateau.  When you do the same activity over and over again, you become very efficient at doing it. That means that every time you do that exercise, your body works less and burns less fat or calories. 

So that favorite exercise you love becomes less and less effective.  Repetition can also lead to injuries from overtraining and boredom from, well, be boring with the same dang routines.  By changing things up, you can focus on building different muscles and keep your workout exciting and energized.


Have you seen that guy in the gym? The one who wanders around like a lost puppy.  Not sure where to start or what he should be doing.  Maybe he does a few squats, but those were a little more tiring than he thought.  So he starts looking around for the next exercise he wants or the next hot chick to stalk for 30 minutes.  Maybe checks his phone 18 times in 10 minutes.  Snaps a few selfies in the mirror.  That is the perfect example of how not to get results.  

If you want results, you need to enter each and every workout with a game plan.  Even elementary school girls’ dance classes are based on a schedule and plan.  So you need one if you really want to see results.   Before your workout (or better yet, do all the planning for the week), take time to map out your workout.  Know going in what exercises you will do, how many reps and even how much time you will rest. 

Knowing your plan holds you accountable to your workout.  No more hour-long workout where you didn’t get anything done.  Instead, your workout becomes efficient and effective.  


Copying what Joe Schmo next to you is doing.  Although Shredded Joe Schmo’s workouts might seem badass, that doesn’t mean they are going to help you become a beast.  Everyone has different body types that respond to different exercises and are on different phases in life.  If you look like Napoleon Dynamite, you don’t get to follow the workout plan of The Rock.  It just won’t get you anywhere but hurt.  Instead, you have to workout for your body type.  Not sure what that means? Good thing we covered that a few weeks ago… Just click here.

A photo of a man doing an Olympic lift that is too heavy.


We all have those days (or weeks) where you think you are ready to murder your workout, but instead, you leave feeling angry or disappointed with yourself for not keeping up with your gym buddies.

Your expectations of yourself could be too high.  Do you want to lose 100 pounds in a month?  Do 30 burpees in a minute?  Sprint at a 10 incline for an hour?  You are setting yourself up for failure, my friend. 

Fitness is a gradual process.  If you aren’t ready for a higher level of training, you are going to hurt yourself trying.  Now I know, there is a balance.  You don’t want a workout that’s so easy you don’t even break a sweat.  But you also don’t want a workout that puts you on your a$$ for the next 12 days recovering.  You have to find the middle ground.  A workout you can complete, but that still pushes you. 


Fat-free is not healthier. Low calorie does not mean it’s better for you.  These diet foods trick you into thinking you’re making a better choice and one that will propel you toward your weight loss faster.  When really, you should be skipping the diet foods and eating the real, full-fat stuff.  

Fat does not make you fat. When you take the fat out of foods like dairy, salad dressings or peanut butter, you remove one of the most nutritional parts of that product.  And you took away all of the flavor.  In order to put that flavor back in, manufacturers add tons of artificial sugars to replace what they took out. 

Studies show that when a dieter chose a fat-free food over a full-fat item, they ate more than twice the amount.  And eating double the amount doesn’t seem so bad. Except that means more calories, more chemicals and more junky artificial sugars.  Just bite the bullet and eat the fat.  Because fat does not make you fat.  Those extra carbs (and sugary chemical crap) do.


If you talk negatively toward yourself, you have already sabotaged your workout. If you constantly tell yourself that you “can’t do it” or that you “will never change,” you have stunted your chances of success. Not only do you have to overcome the physical hurdle of that soon to be killer workout, but you have to overcome your own mind.  You are holding yourself back.  

Research shows us that if you tell yourself that you will succeed, you will.  If you tell yourself you will fail, you will fail.  You create your own self-fulfilling prophecy.   So when you walk into the gym, walk in with confidence that today is going to be an awesome workout!  

If these are you, then you are sabotaging your workouts.

You are stunting your progress! But now that you know they could be holding you back, you have the chance to change it! You have the opportunity to focus on your fitness goals and keep yourself moving forward, not stuck in the mud!  You have no excuses! Nothing to it but to do it!

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