I get lots of questions from friends and family about working out. These are the five most common fitness mistakes women make, from my observations:
1) Not lifting weights.
We’ve been over this before. One of the most common fitness mistakes women make is not lifting weights. Too many women believe that lifting weights will make them bulky, and that’s just silly. Lifting weights is the best way to build muscle, which is much more visually appealing (and healthier!) than fat. Lifting weights also builds healthier bones, helping prevent osteoporosis – which women suffer from at higher rates compared to men.
The fix: lift weights.
2) Not lifting heavy weights.
Are you catching on to the theme here?
Women shouldn’t be afraid of getting strong. Want a better butt? Get strong glutes. Brett Contreras – known as “The Glute Guy” for his research into developing great posteriors – has a ton of great information on this subject.
The fix: Stop with the 3-pound tricep extensions. Get in the squat rack, do weighted push-ups – get strong!
3) Doing too much cardio.
Walk into any gym, and you’ll notice a consistent theme – most of the treadmills and other cardio equipment are occupied by women.
There’s nothing wrong with doing cardio work – it’s essential for a healthy heart. A common fitness mistake women make is doing too much cardio. Doing too much cardio can have negative consequences. Going overboard on cardio can lead to shin splints, knee injuries, and other physical ailments. It also often means other training methods – strength and flexibility – get neglected.
The fix: Do your cardio, but keep it in check. Balance out the trifecta: strength, conditioning, flexibility. Don’t overemphasize one area at the expense of the other two.
4) Half-assing it while reading a magazine or looking at PowerPoint slides.
This is fine if you’re 50+ or have some sort of physical injury.
If you’re 21 and 100% healthy, DON’T DO THIS. Stop wasting your time. Even if you’re doing lighter work – such as walking on an incline treadmill – you should be breaking a sweat.
It’s silly to spend 60 minutes barely moving and burning 50 calories when you can bust out a HIIT routine that burns 200+ calories in 20 minutes. 1/3 the time, 4x the results.
Maybe I’m just jealous because I could never study while working out.
The fix: drop the other stuff and focus on working out. You’ll get more accomplished and spend less time doing it.
5) Workout ADHD
We’ve seen interest in fitness classes explode over the past few years. There are more options available now than ever before.
On one hand, this is great! It makes finding a fitness program that works for you, and that you enjoy, much easier. We’re more likely to stick to a program we enjoy doing.
On the other hand, this can go wrong when we get “workout ADHD”. This happens when we switch from program to program without ever sticking to one for more than a few weeks.
I encourage you to try as many different types of training as possible – Crossfit, Barre, yoga, weightlifting, running, cycling, interval training, bodyweight exercising, Orange Theory, the list goes on.
At some point, though, you’ve got to pick something and stick to it. You’ll get better results this way. Find what you love and focus on that.
For me – I like lifting weights. I once stuck to the same weightlifting routine for over 60 weeks, from Fall 2014 to Spring 2016. You get great results from digging into a program and focusing on progressing within it, instead of hopping around different programming week after week.
The fix: find what you like, and stick to it.
These are five common fitness mistakes I’ve witnessed female friends and family make. We’ve addressed why they happen, and ways to correct them. My goal is to help you find what works best for you, while avoiding the common mistakes that prevent others from making progress.
Eat well, get strong, stay healthy. Go make me proud.
Next week, we’ll look at the five biggest training mistakes men make.