most common fitness mistakes

Posted: October 13, 2010 at 11:04 am

Bloggers of the Day (chosen randomly from yesterday’s comments)

  • Eat Spin Run RepeatAngela has a great blog that discusses lots of topics, plus a fun feature where she tries new things every week
  • Ulterior Harmony – Ela will get you thinking with every post and also discusses life eating lots of homegrown food
  • Living Well – Kati is in the same boat as me: going through a healthy pregnancy and anticipating a new baby + the return of old workouts

G’day lovelies! I can barely believe its already Wednesday. I guess when you are up half the night, thanks to a particular someone who suddenly won’t sleep through the night anymore, the days kind of blur. I knew I needed to start the day off on the right foot. So after some prayer to help keep me in the perspective of peace and remind me of all God’s glory, I headed downstairs to make us some glorious breakfast.

Oats to me are like a good cup of coffee in the morning. They never get old and always help me warm up on the inside, literally and figuratively. Plus, you can never run out of fun ways to spice it up. This morning I chose to spice it up with some spiced “baked” apples. Remember that “baked” is a relative term in this household in the mornings.


I used the same method as I did this past Saturday morning and added lots of cinnamon and nutmeg to really flavor these up. Topped the oatmeal with them, then added a drizzle of peanut butter. They reminded me of a fancier apple + pb childhood snack. Or adult favorite snack, if you’re me. Perfect breakfast – cofee + oats. I even got to eat by 8 am, which set me up perfectly to digest well before heading to Group Power class.


Even though group classes aren’t my preferred method of weight training, I still love lifting and make sure to fit it in each week. I usually do one class per week right now to suit my sensitive lower back, but its always a priority. I recently even read something from SELF magazine that claimed not lifting weights as one of the 4 most common fitness mistakes women make. I concur!

I have known too many women who shy away from weights because they either don’t know how to get started, fear “bulking up”, or just don’t like them. I always believe we should choose exercises we enjoy, but we still need balance and weight training is part of that necessary balance. I personally feel my fittest and believe I look my best when I weight train. That’s not everybody, but weight training still provides benefits that pure cardio won’t, so I encourage other women to give it a solid effort. After this baby comes, I will have to treat my body as a beginner with exercise again for the first couple months, which I find pretty cool. I look forward to going through that experience from beginner style workouts to more advanced with all of you.  🙂

Here are the other “common mistakes” listed by SELF magazine.

1. Being cardio-obsessed. (not enough weight training)
2. Only focusing on one or two muscle groups (like only doing crunches and lunges to spot reduce your abs/butt…not happening, sorry!)
3. Not fueling your workouts properly (limiting calories too much)
4. An all-or-nothing attitude. (working out 30 minutes 3x/week is still great and eating a donut does not mean you fail at a healthy life)

Which of those “mistakes” do you struggle with most? The all or nothing attitude has been my biggest pitfall of those. I luckily have more control over it now, but still have those times I face guilt or frustration for not doing “enough”.

Are there any others you would add to that list? I think I would add not including enough variety. Our bodies adapt very easily and if you do the same thing day in and day out, eventually it won’t provide the same benefits as when you began. Switching it up also adds more motivation for me to keep up with exercise.

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53 Comments to “most common fitness mistakes”
  1. Although I do agree with you that resistance training is absolutely necessary, my preferred method of strength training is yoga or calisthenics. Using my own body weight to make me stronger makes me happy!! I’m just not a fan of the weights!

    • P.S. I DO have a tendency to be cardio obsessed as an endurance athlete, but I must constantly remind myself that I have to get the strength training in!! 😉

    • Tina says:

      That is a great point. Body weight exercises still develop those strength training benefits…and are a lot of times harder to boot! There are so many ways to get in strength training – yoga, group classes, functional types of lifting, crossfit training workouts, traditional weights (which have a world of options). Thanks for bringing up the other ways of strength training.

  2. Oh I just hate to hear a woman say they don’t lift b/c they don’t want to bulk up, just irks me. So I won’t even get on that soap box. I used to be a cardio junkie, but not so much anymore. I really can’t stand the thought of doing 60+ mins of cardio – other than a long run. I am definitely with you on the variety. I think change can be good – cross training can help prevent injuries too but it also helps to create balance.

  3. Sarah says:

    I definitely struggle with the all or nothing mentality. I fight everyday to give it my all or 110% then because I’m not perfect (and never will be) I berate myself for “failing” or not doing enough. I even started to cry one time during a step class because I kept messing up the moves and I was paranoid that I wouldn’t get a good enough workout! But I’ve come a long way since then (no more tears)!

    I love body pump because I tend to slack off in weight lifting (as in not do it at all) and the class keeps me motivated. Plus it’s a great full body workout without me having to figure out the bazillion different machines and equipment (kettleballs scare me).

  4. Cynthia says:

    I totally struggle with the all or nothing mentality. There are many days where I feel that if I can’t work out for an hour, then I shouldn’t even bother. So on those days, I end up doing nothing. I used to be pretty cardio obsessed, but I have tried to get more into weights lately.

    • Tina says:

      I sometimes find myself slipping into that “it needs to be at least close to an hour to be worth my time” thought process too. Why does that even make sense? I don’t know.

  5. I love weight-training too! Cardio will always be my first love, but a few years ago I got turned onto weight-training along with my typical runs, and I’ve never felt better! It’s amazing the difference strength-training can make in your endurance (and your body, ha).

  6. I totally have a problem with being cardio obsessed. I just really love cardio, and until recently, completely ignored everything else. I’ve added weight training into my regular routine, and I’ve seen such a difference all over.
    I have muscles that I never, eve had before! I wont lie, sometimes I stand and admire my new butt in the mirror. 🙂

  7. Wow Tina! Good for you for keeping up with the weights even with the baby bump!! I love group power/body pump/powerflex classes – they are fun! I have been lifting since college and hopefully will continue to do so for a longggg time. I love weight training! I am actually not a huge fan of cardio, unless its a group sport like soccer — I get bored easily! Running is a constant mental game for me.

  8. Julia says:

    I’m definitely guilty of being cardio obsessed. My goal is to get more balance in my workouts after my marathon this weekend.

    • Tina says:

      It’s probably hard to keep up with when training for such an event. Training takes a lot out of you, I’m sure.

  9. I used to love strength and hate cardio. Now I seem to be opposite. Pretty much have to write myself notes to get strength in but once I’m doing it, I do love it.

    Love that you are still keeping up w/ fitness while preggo. I was so lazy. 🙂

  10. I think I do good with both lifting weights and cardio. I think I need to improve on flexibility and do more yoga. I always feel so calm and relaxed afterwards not to mention my loose muscles!

  11. Astrid says:

    Actually, I find that the more I do yoga, the more benefits I see. I got calmer, my blood sugar is more stable, I am more in tune with my body, etc. But I do switch up the postures on most days. I am learning that cardio isn’t as crucial as I once thought and that I don’t need to limit my food or excercise rigorously to be healthy. In fact, that tends to reek havoc with my health!

  12. cardio only, no weights…

    I REALLY need to start lifting again, I used to LOVE it… (I used to coach weight lifting for Special Olympics!).

    I’m going to make a new plan… TODAY ! 😀

  13. I definitely used to fall into the trap of being cardio obsessed. However, I got bored soooo easily! My new favorite form of strength training is BodyPump. I love the fact that it works all the muscle groups, AND incorporates some cardio, all while listening to fun music. Before I know it, the class is over! Can’t beat that. 😉

    • Tina says:

      Yep! I think we can all find ways to do strength training we enjoy. Whether with traditional weights, group fitness, yoga, etc.

  14. I think I’m basically in the cardio obsessed category. Pretty much everything I do is cardio-related. I used to lift weights and do yoga, but those have slowly fell out of my training schedule. Maybe it’s time for me to bring them back in!

    One “mistake” I think lots of people make is not listening to their bodies…meaning workout out through pain, or not taking a rest day when your body is begging you to slow down. I’ve learned that an extra day (or two) of rest is sometimes just what I need and end up coming back stronger than if I “powered through”.

  15. Courtney F says:

    One of the things I think women “mess” up with is not lifting heavy enough. Once women understand they will not get “bulky” by lifting heavy, the better off they will be.
    After having my baby, I have become to appreciate whne I was in such great shape before I got pregnant. You definately have to start over. It gives you new goals to meet!

  16. Hey Tina! Great post! I completelyfeel like too many women are guilty of these fitness mistakes. I am guilty of the all or nothing mentality but only occassionally. I do beat myself up sometimes if I was only able to walk but you are right exercise is exercise!
    I also used to be cardio obsessed with very little room for much else. When I started doing weights regularly I immediately lost 5 lbs and felt more toned than I ever felt in my life! I HIGHLY encourage weights to all my clients now!

    I am also ALL about variety! I never do the same thing 2 days in a row and I’m always trying to challenge myself with balance, cardio, and weights. It’s so important to be well rounded! Then your WHOLE body gets worked! I like feeling fit all over!

  17. I struggle with almost all of those! I am a cardio junkie — not because I think it is the best exercise, but because I enjoy it. I do need to strength train more — its just easier to do a TurboFire workout at home instead of driving the 2 miles to my gym 🙂

    I also am very all-or-nothing. Moderation/balance is key for me, but I struggle with it.

  18. I think a big mistake I make sometimes is getting too committed to one routine. I’ll say I’ll do Jillian michaels 3x/week, but get bored, dread it and drop exercise all together. Instead, I try to focus on “doing something”… if I feel like running, I run, of I feel like jumping on the trampoline, I’ll do that 🙂

    • Tina says:

      That’s a good one to bring up too. I know I’ve done that before where I stress a plan so much that I just get flustered when I can’t or don’t want to follow it.

  19. I am the opposite of you I hate weight training but love cardio and fitness classes. I think not stretching is a common fitness mistake.

  20. Lisa says:

    I think it is so admirable Tina that you are pregnant and still incoorporating exercise into your routine. I mean, I don’t know many pregnant people, which is good because I am only 21, haha, but I NEVER see women who are pregnant at the gym lifting weights. I only hope that I am as dedicated as you someday when I am married!

  21. Kim says:

    I would definitely fall under the cardio obsessed category. I’ve tried to implement weights at home but I just have hand weights and cannot for the life of me motivate myself. If my gym ever opens though I plan to use it for group fitness classes (yoga, pilates, spinning), swimming, and weight training! Since I’ve been able to start working out again all I have done is run or bike and while I do still enjoy both activities, I need to add strength training to help me improve my running.

    I’m finding it hard to keep track of the days this week but that’s because my schedhule was thrown off due to being off on Monday for Thanksgiving, no complaints here though! Hopefully you get some more restful nights on your end 😀

  22. Maren says:

    Those apples sound so easy and tasty, I’ll have to try them in my oats. As a child apple maple brown sugar was my favorite.

  23. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tina Reale, Tina Reale. Tina Reale said: Do you strength train? And a delicious breakfast. […]

  24. I can be guilty of skipping muscle groups, like my back for example…

    Love that pic of you!

  25. Angela says:

    Thanks for the mention,Tina! I think one common fitness mistake is not switching it up enough. I’m always looking for new workouts to try, but it can be difficult sometimes if you know that one particular type of exercise (that you don’t enjoy as much as others) is more effective. Sometimes I feel like I should run because I know it’ll get me working harder, when what I REALLY want to do is the elliptical or something like that. Lately I’ve been trying to listen to my body more. Right now, it wants yoga!

  26. I guess I’m cardio obsessed, I never lift. I used to, but I really hate it now, and I’m hating on the gym lately too. I’d just rather run outdoors. I’m over feeling guilty about not lifting though. I know that I will get some in during the winter, and I know my body is really healthy even if I’m not lifting.

    I’m working out now because I love it and it feels good, and that’s what matters to me!

  27. Jaime says:

    Look a those biceps!! Dang girl!

  28. I’d add, “Not adding enough intensity”. The most effective workouts for me are not the long hours running, but rather short and sweet ones: where I give it my all for 15-20 minutes of circuit training. I feel the same afterwards than the do with a 5 milers, but look, it took much less time!

    • Tina says:

      Such a great point!! I know I used to think working out for 2 hours was what made me fit, but when I moved to shorter workouts of really pushing it I saw more results.

  29. Previous cardio junkie over here! Nice to meet ya. 🙂

    Awesome ideas in here. Especially with the overall focus on BALANCE. That is so key to our fitness journey. Without balance we can’t maintain a lifestyle for life. Without balance, a bit of fun, a bit of sweat I think we will always find ourselves unfulfilled and out of whack.

  30. I think I used to limit calories too much. Now I am completely aware of where I am, where I want to be and how my body works with certain foods! I love being aware of myself! It feels great!

  31. I love oatmeal in the mornings too (actually even at night!) I also feel better when I do weight training. I recently started seeing a personal trainer and I was shocked when she told me that I wasn’t eating enough! I guess in my quest to be “good” and workout a lot, I didn’t realize that my body needs more fuel. Another mistake I would add to the list is not getting enough sleep.

  32. I struggle most with all or nothing for sure. Especially when it comes to workouts. eek!

    I’d add bad form or overtraining – I always worry people are going to hurt themselves! 🙁

    CUTE picture of you in class!

    • Tina says:

      I can’t stand seeing bad form. I always want to help but know its not really my place either. I just think it looks so painful sometimes.

  33. Ela says:

    Hey there, thanks for the shoutout!

    Can’t believe some of those comments you got. Verbal filter sounds like a perfect Christmas gift. So glad that you focus on the fact that you’re feeling great – that is the most important thing.

    I love your inspiration around working out. I think my problems probably tend to be not enough variety, doing too much and then burning myself out, not being consistent enough. I’ve never worked with weights but do a lot with bodyweight exercises.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  34. Jess says:

    LOVE this! I am SO with you – I really DO feel my fittest when I’m not just cardio-crazy but I’m working in those weight training days too. It’s SO important for overall fitness to work it in – I think many women give up before giving themselves a chance to find the RIGHT weight workout for them. One that works but also one that they like enough to actually stick with. I’m a huge fan of Group Power but also of Cathe and her STS series, as well as her other weight workouts – they are ALL killer!!!

  35. Melissa says:

    One of my biggest mistakes is the”all or nothing” attitude. I definitely get down on myself when I indulge in food or skip a work out. Something I need to work on…

  36. I think another mistake people make (that I’ve definitely made) is to take in too many calories post workout. Another mistake (in my opinion) is to view working out only as a means to lose weight, and get frustrated when they don’t see results on the scale. Setting fitness goals helps me to keep from getting too into that mentality, and also helps keep me motivated. And I agree that variety is really important!

  37. […] the easiest pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, so you can imagine mine went well. I also enjoyed reading your thoughts on the most common fitness mistakes SELF magazine shared. A lot of you pointed out some things […]

  38. great post. i think the biggest problem for me is variety. over the last year and a half or so, i have been working out pretty consistently 6 times a week, but with the same handful of workout dvds and only one route to run! i am rarely EVER sore which really shows that my body is bored and has been for a really long time. i am working at finding a few new exercises to work in but it can be tough!

  39. First off, those oats look YUMMY! I can’t wait to try them next week.

    Second, I do enjoy lifting weights, but I am the person you speak of above. I don’t know HOW to properly lift for my body-type, how to fuel for exercise and also I am terrified of “bulking up”, which is very easy for me to do, given the fact that I’m built just exactly like my dad. Any suggestions for me?

    Lastly, I’m with you on the all-or-nothing mindset. It’s something I have to fight everyday. But, like you, I’m getting better at controlling it.

    P.S. I LOVE donuts!!! They are my FAVORITE treat!!!!

  40. Lauren says:

    I love oats, too 🙂 And look at your biceps! Rock it, girl 🙂

    I was cardio-obsessed my whole life until a little over a year ago. I hated strength training and was afraid to use the weights at the gym. Last fall I decided I really needed to get my arms and abs in shape for my June wedding this year, so I started lifting and doing lots of crunches. It definitely helped and I loved feeling stronger, especially since those 2 places have always been my problem areas (but those were the only ones I focused on).

    When my hubby and I recently moved, we couldn’t afford gym memberships on our limited salaries. I was bummed because I’d thought I’d be missing out on weight training at the gym. I bought some of Jillian Michaels’ DVDs and a set of hand weights at Target, and have been busting out her circuit training for the past few months. I LOVE it because it works my whole body, and I have seen results so much faster than working my arms and abs by themselves. If I can get a gym membership in the future, great, if not, no worries 🙂

    • Tina says:

      Well, you’ve done it all huh? Cardio only, working just specific parts, whole body, gym, at home. 🙂 That’s so awesome because you can really see then what works for you and your body.

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