Top 12 Gym Mistakes.

Ogling this (and ignoring your workout) could be a big - albeit delicious - mistake

I’ve been going to a gym regularly for more than a decade – which has given me plenty of time to make mistakes (or as I like to call them, learning experiences). Here are my top 12 “mistakes”:

  1. Sticking to the same old shit. You have to mix things up if you want to make progress. As I’ve said before, more of the same produces more of the same. Try new routines. Work with a trainer. Step up your weight levels. Change your base of stability. Do whatever it takes to change things up every four to six weeks – or else your results will likely plateau.
  2. Eating a heavy meal right before exercising. You only make this mistake once. Save your larger meals for after the workout.
  3. Doing the same workout every day. You have to give your various muscle groups sufficient rest. If you do exercise frequently, do different muscle groups on different days.
  4. Ogling the eye candy. I know, sometimes it’s hard not to take a look. Or two. Or three…. But do your best to keep your mind – and your eyes – to the task at hand and not the hot daddy on the stair master. Woof.
  5. Not doing cardio. Or not doing strength training. Regardless of your goals, you should have a balance of both. Even if you’re looking to release weight, you should strength train (muscle incinerates calories). And even if you’re looking to build muscle, you should exercise your heart with cardio.
  6. Rests become nap time. It’s helpful to time the resting period in between sets so that you don’t end up wandering around endlessly or watching half of a program on TV. Hold yourself to it. On the flip side, don’t cut your rests short; your muscles won’t have sufficient time to recover.
  7. Not warming up specific muscle groups. I’ve very guilty of this one. Spending a few minutes on the elliptical, for example, doesn’t warm you up for curls. Warming up with cardio is helpful – for cardio (I like to warm up at 60% of my actual running pace, FYI). But if you are curling, do a set or two at a light weight to get your muscles moving. Then, move to the heavier weight. Target your warm ups to the specific muscle that you’ll be working.
  8. Working out when you’re sick. Again, guilty as charged. According to experts like Dr. Rick Kellerman of the American Academy of Family Physicians, “I tell people to listen to their bodies. If they are sick, their body is telling them something is wrong. Even though it may be tempting to not break an exercise routine, working out may actually prolong the illness.” Moreover, you could be infecting fellow gym-goers. Bottom line: Stay home.
  9. Thinking that a tired mind is a tired body. We’ve all had draining days at work – whether it’s answering phones, typing e-mails or staring at the computer screen. If you exercise after work, it’s tempting to use excuses like, “I’m too tired to work out today.” But a tired mind is not a tired body! In fact, hitting the gym will help to wake you up and boost your energy. Ditch the “I’m too tired” excuse.
  10. Spending more time gossiping than exercising. Yes, we’ve all been there. Unless you are hitting the gym to make new friends, flapping your gums won’t bring you results. Remember the task at hand.
  11. Not adding strategy to your workout. Working out for the sake of working out won’t necessarily bring you the results that you want. If you want a stronger core, there may not be an app (yet) but there sure is a strategy for that. If you want bigger arms, there’s a strategy for that too. It’s absolutely necessary to figure out what is going to bring you the results you want.
  12. Being a total copy cat. I support being a partial copy cat; I steal some of my best exercises from the people that I see around me at the gym. Copying an exercise is one thing. But copying an entire routine is another – unless you know that the routine is in alignment with the results you’re looking to achieve.

Did I miss anything? What mistakes have you made at the gym. Share in the comments below!

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. Thanks for the tips Davey, you’re just GREAT! Also having been a regular gym guy (for more years than I would like to admit) I would just add one more tip that will just help you not be the annoying guy that ruins everyone else’s experience. Don’t be a weight thrower or super heavy grunter! Unless you actually lose control (in which case your weights are too heavy for you) there should be NO bounce when you put down the dumbbells & a little exertion grunt is ok but if its a loud yell-of-a-grunt please control yourself.. you’re just being an dork. Thanks again!

    • Haha yes – I think a lot of the guys do the grunting for effect. My current gym in NH has an alarm that goes off if people grunt too loudly or throw the weights!

    • Right on. Grunting is bush league. It is far more effective to use your breathing and push out a big exhale when you might otherwise grunt. Grunting is rude. Same for clapping the dumbbells. That is both counter-productive and annoying to other people. It is counter-productive because it uses momentum instead of the force necessary to slow and change direction.

    • Davey, I’m there on all of these except #4. Got to look at the cute gym bunnies man. Half the fun. That is what the 60 seconds between sets is for.

  2. The biggest mistake I’ve seen at the gym is poor form. Some don’t bring the bar down enough on the bench press or doing curls. You shouldn’t half ass your reps (unless you have an injury, then you should be careful) if you do you will not get the results you want. Oh, and bend the knees with a square stance!

  3. Thanks for the info Davey. I am a culprit of #5. I use to love cardio and now I love weight training and am so tired from pushing myself on strength, that I do not want to do cardio. Also another suggestion of “do’s”…change rotation of exercises. For instance if you are working on legs that day and u do your routine, the next time you work on your legs do the exercises in a different order. Sometimes your muscles in one area get a easier workout if u always start with a particular exerecise, try doing that exercise in the middle of your routine or at the end, and you will notice a little difference.

  4. i LOL’ed on number 12, i was thinking of what Grace in Will and Grace does at the Gym, standing there watching some other chicks work out and then wondering why it isn’t working and then when she gets caught the trainer is like… this exercise is to make her butt bigger and her boobs smaller – Grace *sad face* haha, so perfect example don’t steal whole routines! you never know what might happen haha

  5. My biggest problem at the gym is being afraid to look dumb. What this means is I don’t try new routines or don’t venture into that class for the first time. Making mistakes means you are taking risks. And if that stud next to you that you want to give your number to doesn’t understand that you look dumb so you can look good–then hopefully there is a stud somewhere that does!

  6. Wishpaper ๐Ÿ˜€ Btw…I don’t like copycats

  7. I haven’t worked out in a long time, and never regularly at the gym… but I’ll be going to school in September, and that means free gym membership. So this list is helpful! I’ll probably still find myself making these mistakes, and that’s hard for me to think about, but hopefully it won’t be too bad.

  8. My biggest gym mistake is NOT going! It’s hard to get started.

    • True that! guilty here too

    • A good tip with this one is actually just saying to urself. just do one set, its only like 5min and then when u feel the pump , u r most likely to do the rest ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Listening to other people about how your body should feel. I made the mistake and pulled something that lasted three weeks of pain because I listened to him and not my body.

  10. Davey! This is great! I try to avoid most of these mistakes as best as I can…
    Since you mentioned apps, maybe you should develop a fitness app for us blog buddies! I download a couple free ones I could find, but they kind of suck…
    But hey, making an app could be another good source of income, eh?

  11. Too much, too soon – when beginning, it’s tempting to try to do the same number of reps, the same weights, same exercises as people who’ve been doing it regularly for a long time. But then you go home and wake up the next day in need of a full-body band-aid or something because you’ve strained even the muscles in your scalp, and it hurts to blink. So you end up skipping a few days, which turns into skipping it forever.

    Warm-ups and pre-work-out stretches are important for the same reason! But you kind of addressed that one in #7…

  12. As someone who is gym phobic, I like the suggestion that Trinity makes, I should just promise myself just one routine, and then if I want add more. I definitely not a grunter.

  13. Some of the most common gym workout mistakes people make include not squatting, not changing your workout routine, lifting too much or too little weight, excessive obsession with cardio. These seemingly trivial blunders could render ineffective the entire routine, hence correcting them in time could maximise your fitness gains and minimise risk of injury. For more info please visit

  14. Hi there, after reading this amazing piece of writing i am
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  1. […] answer your question: STAY HOME! In fact, working out while sick is one of my Top 12 Gym Mistakes. There are two pieces to […]