8 Ways You May be Sabotaging Your Workout Efforts

Hi friends! Happy Thursday….it’s almost the weekend :D.

Today I wanted to talk about things that we can do to sabotage our hard workout efforts. I sometimes hear people complaining that they aren’t seeing results or improvements after spending time in the gym. This might be because they are doing small things that are prohibiting them from receiving the full benefit of their workout.

**Please remember that while I did receive my Bachelor’s degree in Health and Sport Studies, with a focus in Exercise Science, I am not a certified fitness professional. These statements are my opinion and are based on my experience and discussions with other fitness professionals.

8 Ways You May be Sabotaging Your Workout Efforts

1. Holding on to the hand rails on cardio machines that don’t require arm movement. This is a big no-no because it decreases the amount of effort you have to use, thus making the workout easier. Also, when holding onto the rails you are not allowing your core to fully engage and your posture is often much worse.

Try it with no hands!


2. Using too much momentum and not enough muscle force to lift weights. If you use all momentum to propel the movement of a weight, you aren’t stressing the muscle the way it should be stressed. And, you could actually cause some forces that will lead to injury.

3. Working out as hard as you can, every single time you exercise. Just as much as your body needs a rest day, it also needs to be worked at varying intensities. You don’t want to overwork your body and cause burnout.


4. Completing all of your cardio workouts at one intensity. While you don’t want to go as hard as you possibly can every single time, you also don’t want to lolly gag your way through a workout. Your cardio routines need variety so your body doesn’t get used to them, and even though you don’t need to go all out, you should still challenge yourself.

5. Doing the same strength training routine or using the same exercises over and over again. Our bodies are smart things. If we keep doing the same exercises all the time, our bodies will adapt and get used to them. Then we will be able to perform the exercises more efficiently and we won’t need as much energy to do them. Thus, less calories will be burned and your muscles will not be challenged as much!

6. Spot reduction. Spot reduction doesn’t work. Fat loss can’t occur from just one area (unless you want to get a medical procedure). It’s important to incorporate cardio, especially interval training, in order to help with fat loss for the whole body. Then, the muscles you’ve been strengthening can show through!


7. Not taking a rest day. Our bodies need time to recover and rejuvenate. The repair and strengthening of our muscles actually occurs when we rest. Also, rest days help with feelings of burnout!

8. Not consuming enough calories for your activity level. I wrote a post on this a while back. It is essential that our bodies get the amount of calories it needs to sustain its functioning. This way our bodies are at a level that enables us to thrive and feel good!


I hope you all have a fantastic day! Don’t forget that tomorrow it’s time for another FLOW post :D. Make sure to put the button in your posts tomorrow- Friday- (even if the workout you link up is from another day) so that your readers know about it! Here’s the button you can grab:

In Sweetness and In Health

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What are other ways people can sabotage their workout efforts?

About In Sweetness and In Health

I'm Lindsay! I'm a 23 year-old graduate student in occupational therapy. I love all things health and fitness related and this blog will document my life as I learn to really love myself, try to stop worrying so much about my body, and truly take advantage of all the sweet things that life offers us.

Posted on February 9, 2012, in Fitness, Health. Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. yay for rest days!!! and not doing the same strength routine is big for me. it’s easy to fall into that habit so i work hard to avoid it!

  2. great tips! Sometimes I have to remind myself not to make every workout an intense one. thanks for reminder!

  3. I definitely agree on the momentum one and the doing the same thing over and over. Those are huge ones people just don’t thinkabout.

    And we have to treat our bodies with respect (aka proper fuel and rest) for them to respond nicely. Great post!

  4. I used to be really bad about completing the same work out over and over. I would always run 3-5 miles, and then do the same amount of crunches, bicycles, push ups, etc. With my new work out plan, I am definitely trying to mix it up as much as possible! πŸ™‚

  5. Great tips! I know so many people who just run the same route at the same pace day after day and wonder why they’re not seeing results! Variation is key!

  6. love the tips…especially the handrails/holding on…

  7. Great tips – too true! There’s this one chick at my gym who seems to actually lift herself up off the stair climber because she’s leaning so heavily on both arms. I’m always so baffled by her, but she does it at least 3 days a week!

  8. Great tips, Lindsay! I see so many people relying so heavily on the handrails at the gym. Literally, there is one woman who runs for at least 45 minutes and uses the rails the ENTIRE time. I’d be curious to see how long she ran if she wasn’t using ’em πŸ˜‰

  9. Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction

    Great tips! I totally agree with changing up your workouts, since I am the queen of falling into exercise “ruts”. Right now I’m into Tabata style workouts, which I LOVE!

    Another way some people sabotage their workout efforts is by thinking that if they workout out, they are now allowed to eat as much as they want. Running on the treadmill at a 6.0 pace for 30 minutes usually only burns between 200-400 calories (depending on the incline, persons weight, age etc…) therefore, they can’t expect to lose weight by over consuming the calories that they burned!

  10. Awesome tips! I think what this all boils down to (at least in my view) is working smarter vs. working harder. And always remembering to honor your body with rest and stretching and active recovery. Excellent post!

  11. Rachael @ Ready To Get Sweaty

    These are really great tips! I never used to take a rest day and after a couple months I was so burned out I had to take a rest week – it was horrible. Lesson learned …

  12. AWESOME tips! I agree with them all πŸ˜€

  13. I love that you said lolly gag!! What a great saying, for some reason it just makes me smile!

  14. These are great tips! I never thought about the handrail one! That’s a great point!

    Thanks for sharing these!!!

  15. I go crazy when people are on the stair treadmill machine (not a technical name) and are moving WAY faster than me but are hanging on for dear life. They’re killing their backs and not getting a real workout.

  16. REST days are essential!! Love this post–great job!

  17. Carrie Purchase

    Hey Lindsay! I just found your blog and love it! Im a new blogger, you should check out my site sometime! Myhealthyaddictions.wordpress.com Anyways, back to the question: I think that not eating the correct diet can ruin almost all efforts. I see too many people in the gym work hard every day, but their diet is horrible and they wonder why they aren’t seeing results. Pizza post-workout isnt going to produce results!

    • Hi! I’m so glad you like it :D. I’ll definitely check out your site! I agree, not eating the right types of foods can definitely inhibit people from seeing results!

  18. this was a great post linds!! i think these are all very important for everyone to know about. even those that know a lot about fitness fall into not resting enough or not eating enough, etc., so it’s always a great reminder. πŸ™‚

  19. I agree with undoing all the good of working out by eating poorly! It does matter what you eat–2000 calories of junk is not the same as 2000 calories of healthy, nourishing foods!

  20. Excellent post! I can relate quite well to the rest/intensity points… as you know I suck at rest days and I definitely do work a bit too intensely on days I ought to slow down. Thank you for the reminder to chill the feck out sometimes πŸ™‚

  21. I don’t want to be unkind, but there is a woman at my gym who fits #2 to a T. She literally uses her whole body to move the bicep bars on the bicep curl machine. It is so funny. I have wanted to say something to her so many times, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t be taken well! πŸ˜‰

  22. Great post! You would KILL me if you knew my rest day situation.

  23. I love this! I couldn’t agree more with #1 – I always want to tell girls I see doing that at the gym to let go! But I bite my tongue because I don’t think they’d appreciate my input. πŸ˜›

    I’m guilty of running at mostly the same intensity though – I need to start incorporating some sprint work!

  24. What a great post πŸ™‚ You did SO well at covering this topic girl πŸ™‚ I think this is a great resource for people πŸ™‚

    I have my FLOW button in for tomorrows post πŸ˜‰ WAHOOOOOO

  25. Hi there! Love this post and all of your tips. I think a poor attitude can sabotage a w0rkout. Personally, there have been times when I’m physically at the gym, but my mind’s not in it, which most likely means I’m not getting anything out of the physical effort.

  26. good stuff linz, and all are so spot on. I know a ton of people who lean on the bars with the step mill. BIG MISTAKE!

  27. Such great tips Lindsay, and all SO true.. thank you! I often fall into the ‘same workout every day’ trap, but have just started a new strength/weights program this morning, and will definitely keep switching things up πŸ™‚

  28. NADA to add.

    you nailed this ENTIRELY.

  29. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance

    This is a great post with some awesome info! I especially love the momentum tip– I used to be verryyy guilty of this during my first strength training sessions way back when haha. Weights were flying all over the place!

  30. first i have to say i printed out your tabata workout from today, but this is an excellent post! all extremely true!

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