If you’re looking to start your exercise journey but are worried about making mistakes, don’t worry, you’re not alone!

Qualified Personal Trainer, Johnathan, outlines 5 common exercise mistakes and explains how to avoid them.


Not Warming Up Correctly

Ignoring the warm-up phase of the workout is a common mistake that a lot of people make when exercising.

These days many of us work at a desk, or don’t have a physically demanding job. Therefore, it is important to get warmed up before your workouts to prepare your body for movement or exertion. Warming up before you exercise gets the blood pumping! This, in turn, delivers oxygen to the exercising muscles, reducing the risk of injury and actually increasing performance, too.

The warm-up is an essential phase of the workout, as it prepares you for your workout ahead. [1]

Here are a few steps that you can follow to help you with your warm-ups:

  • Warm up for a minimum of 5-10 minutes.
  • Include exercises or activities that increase blood-flow.
  • Try to increase your core temperature (get your sweat on!).
  • Utilize all muscle groups, not only the ones specific to your workout.
  • Use mobility exercises.

The use of dynamic stretching in the warmup is vital. Dynamic stretching refers to any stretch that is performed with movement. In other words, the individual uses a controlled swinging or bouncing movement to extend their range of motion and flexibility.

Dynamic stretching not only allows you to warm up your body, but it also increases the mobility and flexibility of your muscles and joints. [2, 3, 4] A win win!


Overdoing It

This point is straightforward. Too much too soon, or too much exercise volume can potentially lead to burnout or injury in some cases.

It is easy to suggest that if you're not pushing yourself hard enough, that you won’t make any progress. The point is to try and find the balance. Pushing yourself hard is good for muscle gain and development, but it is also as important to give your body an adequate amount of time of rest and recovery. [5]

How can you tell if you’re overdoing it?

  • Struggling to catch your breath – Being out of breath during exercise is fine, but if you’re panting more often than not while working out, this indicates that you are overdoing it. When you take a break or pause, panting should slow down within 60 seconds.
  • Sickness – Sickness is our body’s way of telling us to slow down. Take the hint!
  • Changes in sleep – We’ve heard that exercise helps us sleep better, but in fact, too much exercise or exerting ourselves can actually be detrimental to our sleep. If you find this happening to you, you need to reassess.
  • Lingering soreness or joint pain – We’ve been trained to believe that DOMS or Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness is usually a sign of progress! While that may be true, it’s important to know your own body and learn when enough is enough. Don’t trade potential injuries for gains!


Not Planning Ahead

Johnathan says he sees it regularly with beginners that not planning ahead can cost you time, motivation and progress.

He recommends beginning by planning your workouts. Put some effort into planning what you will be training this week, for example, what days you will do strength training or cardio and which days you will do some form of active recovery.

Remember, if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. If you don't know where to start you can head over to our article, “10 Best Exercises for Beginners” to get your free downloadable workout plan.


Improper Form

Improper form is a common mistake that affects beginners and professionals alike.

If we’re not using the correct form, we’re actually not even working the intended muscle groups. When strength training any area of your body, having proper form and technique is crucial to make sure you’re working the intended muscle groups that you want to develop and grow.

But even more important than that, in a lot of cases, bad technique or improper form during exercise can lead to injury.

Reduce your risk of injury by seeking help from a coach or personal trainer. This will teach you proper form and technique, minimising your risk of injury and producing maximum results.


Expecting Instant Results

“Lose 10 lbs in 2 weeks!” “Drop a dress size in one week.” “Get your dream body instantly.”

From skinny teas to fad diets, we have been conditioned to believe that losing weight is a quick process. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. Sure, you may lose a bit of weight if you’re consuming 500 calories and working out 3 times a day. But is this sustainable? That would be a resounding ‘No’.

When it comes to fitness, it is all about time, effort and consistency. Forget ‘instant’ results and focus instead on building lasting, healthy habits that work for you.

Let the process happen. Stick to your plan, allow for the time that is required, put in the effort and you will achieve your goals.


To Sum Up…

Be diligent in your gym routine and be patient with your results. There will be good days and bad days at the gym, we all have them. Keep putting in the effort, and you will be rewarded with a stronger body, and a more resilient mind!



[1] Park, H. K., Jung, M. K., Park, E., Lee, C. Y., Jee, Y. S., Eun, D., Cha, J. Y., & Yoo, J. (2018). The effect of warm-ups with stretching on the isokinetic moments of collegiate men. Journal of exercise rehabilitation, 14(1), 78–82. https://doi.org/10.12965/jer.1835210.605

[2] Little, T., & Williams, A. G. (2006). Effects of differential stretching protocols during warm-ups on high-speed motor capacities in professional soccer players. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 20(1), 203–207. https://doi.org/10.1519/R-16944.1

[3] Sim, Y. J., Byun, Y. H., & Yoo, J. (2015). Comparison of isokinetic muscle strength and muscle power by types of warm-up. Journal of physical therapy science, 27(5), 1491–1494. https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.27.1491

[4] Curry, Brad S; Chengkalath, Devendra; Crouch, Gordon J; Romance, Michelle; Manns, Patricia J Acute Effects of Dynamic Stretching, Static Stretching, and Light Aerobic Activity on Muscular Performance in Women, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: September 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 6 - p 1811-1819

doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b73c2b

[5] Bishop, Phillip A; Jones, Eric; Woods, A Krista Recovery From Training: A Brief Review: Brief Review, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: May 2008 - Volume 22 - Issue 3 - p 1015-1024

doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31816eb518