Emily Skye rests in the gym after a tough workout.
Emily Skye

7 gym sins that are killing your fitness gains

Emily Skye

From unwashed gym gear to FaceTiming friends on the treadmill, gym sins are committed every day. However, some gym sins can be ‘deadly’ for your fitness goals and the physique you’re trying so hard for. That goes for those who work out at home, too! Wherever you get your sweat on, there’s no excuse: if you commit any of the seven gym sins, it’s time to repent so you can start reaping the fitness rewards.

1. Not cooling down

Cooling down is an essential part of every FIT workout. Just because the hard portion of the workout is over doesn’t mean it’s time to stop. You might save time, but you won’t save your muscles.

2. Not hydrating properly

When it comes to a safe and successful workout, hydration is key. Water regulates your body temperature, allows muscle contractions to take place and lubricates your joints during exercise. You know my workouts get sweaty, so you must replenish the fluid that’s lost. Dehydration can cause fatigue, and nausea, as well as messing up your concentration.

Staying hydrated will also help to prevent post-workout cravings, as we often mistake thirst for hunger. So, whatever the workout, a full water bottle is a key piece of equipment.

3. Not focusing on form

It’s true what they say: ‘practice makes perfect’. If you want results, form is everything – I can’t stress this enough. I’d rather you do 20 perfect squats than 50 squats with an arched back and your knees caving in.

Incorrect technique can work the wrong muscles (bye bye, results) and increase your chance of injury.

4. Going hard and trying to rush progress

Rome (and six-pack abs) wasn’t built in a day. Pushing yourself too hard, especially if you’re a beginner, can lead to overtraining or even injury.

It’s especially important to know your limits and work within a safe zone when it comes to lifting weights. Just because the person next to you at the gym can deadlift 50 kilos (110 pounds) doesn’t mean you can. Lifting weights puts your body under a different kind of stress to cardio – only lift what feels safe or you could seriously hurt yourself.

I recommend increasing your weight by 1-2 kilos (2-5 pounds) maximum when you're getting through a set easily and you’re not feeling it in the days after your workout.

5. Having long rest periods

My training mantra is ‘Get it done!’ So, taking time out to check social media in between sets isn’t doing you any favours. Not only does it waste time, making your total session longer, but it also allows your heart rate to drop and your body to cool down. This means you could be missing out on all those lean muscle gains.

6. Trying to ‘spot reduce’ fat

Are you the sort of person who, instead of following the full workout, only does the exercises that you think will target that stubborn tummy or thigh fat? Here’s the truth: while you can increase strength and muscle growth with isolated moves, you can’t ‘spot reduce’ fat.

If you’re targeting your core over and over again because you’re trying to burn belly fat, it won’t work. And if you’re doing that every day, you’ll overwork those muscles, which can do more damage than good.

Like a good night’s sleep, muscles need rest to repair and grow. That’s why my workouts target different muscle groups in your whole body.

7. Not tracking your weights/reps

If you’re not monitoring your workouts, you won’t know how far you’ve come. Training on autopilot also means you may not be challenging yourself – you could be ready to lift a whole lot more!

My new Logbook feature on FIT makes it easy to record your weights, reps and timed exercises on all In Gym workouts, so you can track your progress and know when to level up. Tracking your workouts also ensures you stay motivated and helps you set new fitness goals.

Emily Skye
Personal trainer • Founder

Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.

Emily Skye
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