Skip to content

Things you really shouldn’t do in the gym if results are your thing…..

Gym going is an investment of time. You’re committed and pretty dedicated. I’m not referring to the casual, “I’ll go if I fancy it” once a month attendee. No, I want to talk about those we see day in, day out.

What really saddens me is that’s the toughest part for most; getting a foot in the door! That dedication and consistency (as above) of showing up at regular times, no matter what.

I’m a big believer in justice and its presence in our world. I really do think, 9 times out of 10, life rewards the ‘tryers’. And when the tryers aren’t rewarded, it’s usually because they thought they’d had their last spin of the dice when in fact, they had one more go that would’ve led them to glory.

In short, they were unable to overcome a sticking point. In every endeavour we attempt, a sticking point lies in wait. Sometimes many. Persistence and an open mind is everything in this situation.

When I see people turning up at the gym daily, with strict adherence to their goals, it’s a sorry sight when you come to realize they’re actually WASTING most – if not all – of their session. This is simply due to unintentional ignorance. A quote I like and have shared before is……..

“Accidental ignorance is forgivable, intentional ignorance is a mighty sin.”

The majority are just lacking direction or missing sensible guidance. Ego training is very prominent. I really think all gym staff should have to spot-check members as they come in and gently remind them all egos are to be discarded in the locker room.

Gym managers, what do you think? I like it.

Time is precious. By avoiding the following mentalities/training approaches, you’ll be well on your way to wiser gym time expenditure. 

1) When your goal is “weight loss”, only doing cardio. 

I see/hear this ALL the time. “I’ll stick to the treadmill. Weights will make me bulky.” Yes, it’s usually women that say this. Now cardio is a great tool for weight loss. But it’s just that; a tool. Weights are a tool too. Why not use a set of tools? You wouldn’t try to service your car using only a screwdriver, would you?

If anything, weights should be the priority. Because this will promote maximum muscular retention. And for those vastly overweight and relative ‘gym virgins’, you may even achieve the holy grail of fitness……….build muscle and burn fat! It’s you guys, and you guys only, who have any realistic chance of pulling this feat off. You can drop a lot of body fat whilst adding a few pounds of muscle quite comfortably in the context of a balanced diet and intelligent routine.

I mean sure, you can starve yourself and be a slave to cardio, but that’s just going to make you scrawny and non curvaceous – NOT classic feminine characteristics. A bit of muscle was never lost on any lady.

2) Dedicating your entire session to abs. 

Do your abs really need 45 minutes of work? Do they really need 35 sets and 10 exercises? It sounds like common sense, but sense isn’t always that common. Those guilty of this are usually totally misinformed individuals who believe the more ab work they do, the more ab show they’ll see. Sorry folks, the loss of body fat is the switch for showing your abs. That said, you can develop your abs of course. But when you’re lean enough to have them showing, how they actually look is quite genetically influenced. Some guys have great abs at 13% body fat. Some guys are a legit 10% body fat and don’t have the abs of ‘fatter’ guys..

Just like any other muscle, you don’t need an entire workout dedicated to them. Abs actually don’t have the greatest growth potential compared to other muscles. The quads, glutes and hamstrings are power muscles. Abs are mainly stabilizer muscles. They don’t produce sheer force like many lower body muscles.

10 sets, 3-5 exercises, moderately high reps and plenty of tension is the recipe for abdominal development.

3) Using the entire weight stack on calf raises. 

This one is SO common. Can’t get my calves to grow, up the weight, up the weight and UP THE FRICKIN’ WEIGHT! Sadly it doesn’t work quite like that. Calves are another muscle excluded from the ‘power group’. Hence why Tennis players often have reasonable calf development with very little ‘calf work’. Overweight people often have better calf development which becomes more apparent as they lose excess body fat. These facts alone provide evidence that: calves are an endurance muscle. They too support you in standing up and walking for as long as necessary.

Calves don’t really respond to extremely heavy weight. Repetition is the name of the game here. Besides, who is really strong enough to be doing sets of 15-20 with short rest periods, through a full range of motion with loads of 90 kg+?

Go lighter, get a full stretch and full contraction. Avoid any knee flexion or hip flexion throughout the movement. Anyone can hip and knee bounce 95 kg up and down on a calf machine. Clean calf raises with 95 kg? I’m not so sure.

4) Using a spotter for every rep.

This is taking the ‘go hard or go home’ mantra to new heights. Wouldn’t it be cool to be using 225 lbs+ on the bench press for my hypertrophy (8+ reps) work? Doesn’t matter that I’m nowhere near strong enough for that, you’ll spot me right, bro?

I’ve seen many ‘bros’ doing this. Their training buddy basically gets all his upright row work done spotting the bench presser, while the bench presser drains every last drop of his CNS reserves. What did I say about ego earlier?

Spotting is a safety procedure or insurance policy of sorts. It isn’t really a tool. Doing 8-12 forced reps is seriously taxing – even for a drug using trainee. Think about the time it takes your brain and nervous system to recuperate after such an effort. And that’s just one set! I’ve seen many doing multiple sets in this fashion. Complete overkill.

Use a spotter for safety only. Just as a precaution when you go heavy. Forced reps are dangerous and very much counterproductive. If you don’t believe me, keep doing them and you’ll learn the hard way.

There you have it. Four flawed training concepts that are much too common for my liking. 

What do you think? Have you seen these gym sins being committed? Is there anything you think is more common, yet seriously silly?

The box down below is your chance to be heard. 

JR @ Straight-Talking-Fitness View All

The 'brains' behind StraightTalkingFitness, a site all about discovery that leads to strength in all formats; fitness, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everything starts from within and projects outwards. Master the body, master anything and everything.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: