9 Common Gym Mistakes
WebMD provides insight into common mistakes that can lessen the impact of your exercise routine.
Exercise Mistake #2: Lack of intensity.
Do you see your gym time as the perfect way to catch up on your reading? Are
you leaning on the machines? Lots of people are just going through the motions,
even though they may look like they’re working out. “They think that as long as
they’re moving, they’re going to lose weight,” Lucett says. “But if the
intensity is not at the level that it needs to be at, it’s almost a waste of
In addition to increasing your intensity levels, Peterson also recommends
working out for longer periods of time, increasing weights and distance,
cross-training, working out on an incline, and maximizing your body weight
while working out, by using a weighted vest or ankle weights, for example.
Exercise Mistake #3: Always training in the 'fat burning' heart rate zone.
You’ve seen those charts on the cardiovascular machines that list “zones.”
But in the so-called “fat-burning zone,” your training intensity isn’t very
high -- usually 65%-70% of your heart rate. Research, however, has shown that
the higher the intensity, the more calories you burn -- not only while
exercising, but after you leave the gym, when your body benefits from an
“It’s as if you turn off your car engine, but the hood is still warm,”
Lucett says. “The same thing happens with the body. You need to make sure that
your intensity is higher than that chart.” Unable to work out that hard? Work
your way up.
Exercise Mistake #4: Overestimating caloric expenditure.
Don’t let the number on the screen of your cardio machine fool you,
either. “That’s a very general number and there are a lot of variables that
play into that,” Lucett says. “The machine may say that you’ve expended 500
calories, but you could only be burning 250.”
This can be especially true when you do things to “trick” the machine, like
leaning on the bars. Unbeknownst to that computer, which relies on speed and
revolutions to calculate calories, you’re offsetting your weight, which means
you are significantly decreasing the amount of work you’re doing.