16 Common Workout Mistakes That Could Be Messing With Your Results

It can be tough to tell if you’re exercising the “right” way.

If you don’t work with a trainer, how are you supposed to
know if, say, your form is spot on, or whether your workout
routine matches your goals, or whether that exercise you do
100 reps of every day is really doing anything.

So, BuzzFeed Health reached out to fitness experts with all
kinds of backgrounds and specialties to ask them for the most
common mistakes people make with their exercise routines.
Here’s what they told us:

ID: 9667791

1. Relying
solely on cardio for weight loss.

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“If your longterm weight loss effort focuses only on cardio
and your diet is on point, then, yes, you are likely to lose
weight, but you will also be losing muscle. By doing that,
you are not contributing to preserving your muscle mass,
which is responsible for accelerating your metabolism and
burning fat. When you lose lean body mass it stalls your
metabolism and your body will become less efficient at
burning fat and losing weight and will get weaker.

So while cardio can be a great place to start, combining it
with strength training is essential if your goal is to lose
weight and burn fat.”

Velazquez, founder of IV

ID: 9653704

2. Not
pushing yourself enough and/or going way too hard.

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“Most people are working out at the wrong intensity. They are
either working way too hard, or just not pushing themselves

The foundation of your fitness routine should be workouts
that are comfortably hard. Your effort, on a scale of 1 to
10, should be at about a 6. Do high-intensity workouts only 2
or 3 times a week (depending on your fitness
level/experience) and make sure those workouts are shorter.
They should be done at an effort level of about an 8 on a
1-10 scale and include rest periods.”

—Holly Perkins, author of
Lift To Get Lean
and founder of Women’s Strength

ID: 9622644

3. And
doing tons of high-intensity workouts before your body is

And doing tons of high-intensity workouts before your body is ready.

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“While there is a time and place for high intensity, keep in
mind that building a strong aerobic base — which is crucial
for cardiovascular health — is just as important, and is what
allows you to do those higher-intensity workouts.

Exercising at a moderate intensity is also technically the
‘fat burning zone’ and puts less stress on the body over
longer periods of time.”

—Josh Holland, Trainer, Qinetic

ID: 9622634

4. Lifting
weights really fast.

Lifting weights really fast.

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“It is commonly assumed that faster is better when it comes
to working out; the faster you run, cycle, or dance, the more
calories you burn. However, that doesn’t necessarily apply to
strength training. Often times, slower is more effective.
When you work slower, momentum isn’t assisting you as much,
and therefore your muscles are forced to work harder. As an
added bonus, there’s less risk of injury.”

—Amanda Freeman, Founder/CEO, SLT

ID: 9622655

6. Changing
up your workout constantly.

Changing up your workout constantly.

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Sally Tamarkin / BuzzFeed News

“When you workout-hop — go from class to class — you never
master the form and technique for a given workout and your
body is at greater risk for injury. If you are always
changing your workout you never get better at any of it.

Commit to one or two workout regimens and stick to them. Work
with smart trainers and teachers and closely monitor your
progress to make the best possible gains for your body.”

—Alycea Ungaro, Owner/Founder, Real Pilates

ID: 9622702

Overestimating the number of calories you’re burning.

Overestimating the number of calories you're burning.

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S-cphoto / Getty Images

“People think they burn a lot more calories than they
actually do! Sometimes people will think that the one-hour
class they take has burned 1100 calories, or that their
20-minute high-intensity workout is burning 600 calories. But
most people who are exercising for general health and fitness
and weight management aren’t likely to burn anywhere near

Unless you’re an elite athlete or working out over an hour
per day, I recommend not counting more than 300 calories
coming from fitness towards your overall intake.”

—Erica Giovinazzo, MS, RD, Erica’s Edge and head coach
at BRICK Los

ID: 9622709

8. Doing
push-ups with sketchy form.

“I find most people tend to:

* Allow their hips to dip too low in the front plank position.
This can be due to lack of core strength.

* Tilt their neck down so that their face touches the floor
before their chest as they’re lowering down.

In the first example, you’re straining your lower back, and in
the second, your neck. In both cases you’re probably not
getting the most out of the movement and you’re also increasing
your risk of injury, all because of not-so-great form.

The fix: Squeeze your glutes and brace your abs. Both will help
with better alignment and putting you into a better,
joint-friendly position. If you can’t complete a full push-up
without letting your hips sag or keeping your neck neutral,
start with push-ups off your knees instead.”

—Tony Gentilcore,
Boston-based personal trainer and strength coach

ID: 9622721

Following quick-fix diets or using “miracle” supplements.

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Paramount Pictures

“Although there are some supplements that have been
scientifically validated to aid in health and performance,
there is no supplement you need to take in order to improve
your general health and physical appearance. The two things
you do need to do for those goals, however, are:
* Participate in some form of physical activity.
* Eat mostly foods based on fruits and vegetables and on
high-quality meats, eggs, and fish (or protein substitutes,
for vegetarians and vegans). Limit your intake of refined
foods, simple sugars, hydrogenated oil, and alcohol. And
don’t overeat.

Remain skeptical of ‘magic’ and ‘miracle’ claims, and avoid
being taken in by marketing hype.”

—Nick Tumminello, owner of Performance University
International in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and author of

Strength Training for Fat Loss

ID: 9653609

11. Doing
the exact same workout over and over.

Doing the exact same workout over and over.

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Sally Tamarkin / BuzzFeed News

“Once your body becomes adjusted to a workout it will most
likely reach a plateau, making it difficult to continue
getting fitter. Make sure you’re pushing yourself
incrementally more each time you work out — adding some
weight, reps, or sets, running a little farther or faster,
and doing different kinds of cardio, and learning different

—Anowa Adjah, owner
and CEO of Powerhouse Physiques

ID: 9653672

Avoiding yoga because you think you’re not flexible enough.

Avoiding yoga because you think you're not flexible enough.

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“I often hear people say they don’t go to yoga because they
‘aren’t flexible enough to do yoga.’ This is such a
misconception! Aside from the fact that the physical
component of yoga is only one piece of the amazingness that
is yoga, even if we are talking about the physical practice,
being super flexible is not a prerequisite. The idea is to
connect mind and body — to truly listen to your body and move
with breath.

There’s nothing in there that says you have to be able to
touch your toes or stand on your head or backbend like crazy.
Sure that can come with time and practice but it might not
and that’s OK, too.

If you are willing to step on your mat with an open mind and
willingness to explore your breath and movement, you can do

Harrison, Bay
Area Under Armour® Trainer, Zenrez, Barry’s Bootcamp,
Muscle & Flow

Get this t-shirt for $21.40 at Etsy.

ID: 9653676

13. Or
trying to get flexible using static stretching.

Or trying to get flexible using static stretching.

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Funduck / Getty Images

“Static stretching is not the only way to improve
flexibility. In Pilates, we strive to dynamically move
through the joints’ entire range of motion to enhance
flexibility. Working with control, breath, and attention to
precise alignment at the end ranges of motion allows our body
and brain to familiarize themselves with the new movement,
and eventually give us access to the new range.”

—Katie Yip, New
York City–based Pilates teacher

ID: 9653642

Swinging the kettlebell all wrong.

Swinging the kettlebell all wrong.

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“Some people really don’t understand the concept of the hip
hinge, which is crucial for a proper kettlebell swing. If you
don’t understand how to hinge, the swing becomes a squat-like
movement. Also, a lot of people think the swing is an
arm/shoulder exercise. It’s actually the vigorous force of
the hip thrust that drives the kettlebell up.

If you want to learn a great full-body exercise like the
kettlebell swing and can’t afford a trainer, I recommend
watching an instructional video from
a reputable company like Strong First.”

—Noelle Nieva, CrossFit coach and licensed massage therapist,
Brooklyn Body

ID: 9653680

16. Doing
countless crunches to get rid of belly fat.

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“Your abs are muscles that will get stronger as you exercise.
But doing hundreds of crunches is not an effective way to get
rid of belly fat. Instead, incorporate plank variations and
compound exercises like goblet squats, deadlifts, push-ups,
and fat-burning moves like burpees, and plyometric exercises
to your full-body workouts. These exercises strengthen the
core and will help burn overall body fat.”

Velazquez, founder of IV

ID: 9653712

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