When it comes to working out, there are certain mistakes you should be avoiding. It doesn’t matter where you are in your workout and fitness career. You could be someone who’s been going to the gym for years or someone who just picked up their membership card last week. 

Falling into those mistakes could be injury, not seeing the results you want, slow results, or a combination of all of the above.

Below, we’re going to run through some of the most common workout mistakes and why you should make sure you’re avoiding them. 

Not Having a Workout Plan

Whenever you head to the gym, you need to have an idea of what your goal is. Do you want to add muscle? Are you trying to lose a bit of weight? Are you training for a certain event?

Too often, you see people who head to the gym without a solid workout plan. One day it’s one thing and the next it’s another.

Before you go, make sure you have a workout plan you’re going to follow. If you’re not sure about what you should be doing, check with your fitness center and ask if a staff member can help you. 

No Warmup

It doesn’t matter if you’re heading to the gym to lift weights or jogging, your body needs to warm up before you start. If you’ve ever been to a professional sporting event, you’ll notice how the players warm up well before the start of a game.

You can’t just hop on the treadmill and start your five mile run. Take some time to jog, get your heart rate up, and stretch before you begin your workout.

Waiting to Clean Up

This deals with more of the post-workout, but leaving your clothes on after you finish working out is not good for your skin. It could lead to rashes, skin irritations, or even yeast infections in women.

It’s best to head for the shower and get out of those sweaty clothes when you’re finished. This doesn’t mean you have to strip and run right for the locker room after you’re finished, but make it part of your routine. If you can’t shower quickly, make sure you’re wearing synthetic workout clothes that can help keep the sweat off your body.

Eating at the Wrong Times

Working out burns your through your body’s fuel. That’s why you need to make sure you’re eating both before and after a workout to fuel up and then recover.

Before a workout, eat a light meal with protein, healthy fats, or carbs. That will give you the energy you need and sustain you throughout your workout.

After you’re finished, you need to be eating something with protein to refuel your body. Eating meat or drinking protein shakes are good options, but vary your diet a little bit with some other delicious foods

Skipping Rest Days

There’s often a sense of pressure to train enough before your race or hit the gym constantly to stay on track with your goals. This doesn’t mean that you should be skipping rest days, however.

Rest days are incredibly important for your progress in all fitness activities. Yes, your post-workout meal helps fuel your body but your body also needs rest in order to build up strength and properly recover. Even the most dedicated athletes in the world take rest days each week. 

Not Drinking Enough Water

Everyone could always drink more water, right? With your workouts, you need to make sure you’re drinking enough water both before and after.

Start your day with a glass of water to jumpstart your metabolism and wake you up. Keep drinking water throughout the day to help you prepare for your workouts. Water is also going to keep away any cramps and make sure you’re staying hydrated enough.

Even though sports drinks are tasty, they’re often loaded with sugar. It’s OK to drink one every now and then, but make sure you’re drinking more water than Mountain Cool Blast.

Expecting Results Immediately

One of the most difficult parts about working out is not being able to see your results quickly. You just did 100 situps, so where are the Hollywood abs?

Reaching your fitness goals often take months before you can start to feel like you’re seeing real progress. Don’t be sucked in to these “wonder diets” or “magical fitness programs” that guarantee results immediately. 

Will you start to notice some changes? Yes. You might be sleeping better or feeling more flexible, but you might not start to lose weight or gain muscle definition for another few weeks. Remember to take it easy on yourself and keep working hard towards your goal.