6 Things That Are Secretly Sabotaging Your Workout

workout mistakes
credit: Gabin Vallet

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As we get closer to the New Year, many folks are starting to make their New Year’s resolutions.

Perhaps the most common resolution? To get in shape, get healthy, and take better care of your body.

But committing to better fitness can be incredibly challenging. So, to help you keep your resolutions this year, below are some of the most common workout mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. You Haven’t Set Attainable Goals

workout mistakes
credit: Nathan Cowley

The most important part of starting any journey is to set goals! There are two types of goals: long-term goals and short-term goals.

Long-term goals tend to be broader. Some examples of long-term goals include:

• To get in better shape
• To prioritize your health
• To lose weight

Just as important as long-term goals, short-term goals are essential to success. Short-term goals should be specific, attainable, and realistic. For example, if you only have time in your schedule to work out once a week, don’t commit to working out more than that.

Here are some examples of short-term goals:

• To work out for X minutes a day, X times a week
• To lose X lbs in X amount of time
• To be able to walk/run/bike X miles in X amount of time
• To be able to weightlift X lbs in X amount of time.

Your short-term goals should be directly related to your long-term goals. So, if your long-term goal is to get in better shape, you might make your short-term goal to walk 10 minutes a day three times a week. It’s simple, it’s attainable, and it’s realistic.

2. You’re Trying the Dry Scooping Trend

dry scooping trend
credit: Kelly Sikkema

If you follow fitness trends on social media, you might have noticed the dry scooping trend.

What is dry scooping? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Instead of mixing a pre-workout powder with water/milk and consuming it as a drink as intended, dry scooping consists of eating the powder straight out of the container with a few sips of water to wash it down.
The reason people are doing this is that they think that consuming pre-workout powder raw will lead to quicker results.

However, the dry scooping trend is *extremely* dangerous. Some of the health risks of dry scooping include:

• Choking and aspirating on the dry powder
• Suffering a cardiac event like a heart attack
• GI issues like nausea and diarrhea
• Palpitations

You can read here more about the dangers of dry scooping.

3. You’re Doing All Cardio And No Strength Training

exercise mistakes
credit: Nathan Cowley

For those hoping to lose a few lbs, it’s tempting to center all your workouts on cardio, especially since aerobic exercises are more commonly associated with weight loss.

But even if weight loss is your long-term goal, it’s equally important to add strength training to your workouts.

According to the University of Washington’s wellness blog Right as Rain, doing both cardio and strength training is essential to your overall health and fitness. The combination of both enhances the benefits and can help treat and prevent conditions like diabetes, hypertension, depression, and more.

On top of that, incorporating both cardio and strength training can significantly reduce your risk of injury.

So, even if you’re long-term goal is weight loss, remember to incorporate both cardio and strength into your workouts for the sake of your overall wellness.

4. You’re Not Listening to Your Body

workout training mistakes
credit: Gabin Vallet

If you haven’t worked out regularly in a while, it’s expected that you may experience a few aches and pains when first getting started. And while it might be tempting to “push through”, it’s crucial to listen to your body. If you’re feeling pain, there’s a reason why.

For example, even if your short-term goal is to work out three times a week, that may be incredibly stressful on your body. Try to work up to those goals by starting out slow. Otherwise, you may risk injury, which would completely derail your workout goals.

So, listen to your body. If your body needs to rest, let it rest. Rest and recovery are just as important to your fitness journey as exercise. Don’t overdo it and you’ll have a better chance of achieving your goals.

5. You’re Obsessed With the Number on a Scale

how often should you weigh yourself
credit: I. Yunmai

Many folks who hope to lose weight will often set a long-term goal to lose a certain amount of lbs. This is a perfectly fine goal!

However, it can be tempting to step on the scale every single day to track your progress. But this is a terrible idea!

Weight tends to fluctuate day to day and even hour to hour due to hormones, water retention, and constipation, to name a few.

On top of that, muscle weighs more than fat, so as you get in better and better shape, you may see the number go up on the scale as you burn fat and build muscle.

Stepping on the scale every day and watching that number go up and down can be extremely detrimental to your self-esteem and mental health, which can even derail your workout goals.

Instead, set aside time one day a week — like Sundays at 10 AM, for example — to weigh yourself. You’ll be a lot happier with your progress and will overall be more successful in achieving your goals.

6. You’re Spending Too Much Time Looking at #Fitspo on Social Media

mental health effects of fitness instagram
credit: Paul Hanaoka

For those hoping to achieve their fitness goals, social media can sometimes be a source of inspiration.

However, spending too much time staring at #fitspo posts can be extremely harmful to your mental health.

In fact, a 2021 study found that looking regularly looking at fitness influencers on social media can lead to unhealthy behaviors like eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and more. It can also significantly negatively affect your self-esteem.

While it’s perfectly understandable that you may find fitness influencers and their success to be aspirational, in the long term, focusing too much on “fitness inspiration” can be, well, less than inspirational.

Take care of your mental health by ditching the #fitspo and instead focusing on yourself and your own goals. This will be key to your success in the long term.

Final Thoughts

Sticking to a new fitness routine and achieving your goals can be incredibly difficult for anyone.

Not only is finding time to work out tricky due to other life commitments, but it can also be difficult to maintain a positive attitude throughout your journey. Setting goals and taking care of both your physical and mental health will be essential as you work towards a healthier, fitter “you.”

Good luck and Happy New Year!

Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella and The Feminist Health Source. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.