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Common Workout Mistakes Women Make in the Gym

Updated on September 3, 2016
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Mark is a health and fitness advocate and has over 20 years experience in the field of fitness and exercise, nutrition, and well-being.

In this articles we will cover some of the most common workout mistakes women make in the gym and how you can correct and fine tune your workouts. If your efforts at the gym are going unrewarded, you may be making some of the workout mistakes we are about to cover. Maybe it’s time to take inventory and make some adjustments to your exercise routine to generate better results and make each and every workout count. If you believe you are working out hard but not seeing the results you deserve, maybe it’s because you are making one or more of the following common workout mistakes. One simple adjustment can go a long way.

Common workout mistakes women make at the gym.
Common workout mistakes women make at the gym.

Avoid these 5 Common Workout Mistakes

One simple adjustment to your workout routine can make all the difference. Stop wasting your time at the gym and make every minute of your workout count. Here are my top five most common workout mistakes and how to correct them.

#2 Only Using Machines

First on our list of common workout mistakes is restricting yourself to workout machines only. By doing this you are missing out on the most productive muscle building and muscle toning exercises in the gym. Dumbbells are by far the most used weights in the gym, and with good reason. Add barbells and the easy curl bar and you are set for success. If you are serious about changing your physique, you must also use free weights. You will engage more muscle fiber and other supporting muscle groups and activate more stabilizer muscles this way.

#1 Only Doing Cardio

Our next most common workout mistake I see is too many women going straight for the treadmill, completing a 30 to 45 minute walk, and leaving. Cardio exercise only burns calories while you are exercising and stops once you stop exercising. Weight training on the other hand will build fat burning muscles, which continue to burn calories daily, even after your workout is completed. The more muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolism will be, and the more calories you will burn each day.

Cardio alone will also keep you from getting those sexy round curves and leave you looking skinny and flat. Weight lifting will not make you big and bulky, but rather give you a toned and tighter appearance, and not to forget added curves in all the right places. So ladies, stop doing too much cardio and start hitting the weights.

A big thank you to Brenda Lee Turner for her helpful insights into why women should lift weights and not only do cardio exercises. She also explains how resistance training effects your hormones, appetite, muscle growth and fat loss.

Are you currently lifting weights as part of your regular workout routine?

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#3 Rest Too Long

The intensity of your workout is not only measured by the weight you lift, but also the rest period between sets and exercises. If you rest too long, you drop the intensity of your workout and your progress will suffer. Keep your muscles gorged and keep rest between sets down to 30 to 45 seconds. You will definitely feel the difference and see better and faster results. Don’t get distracted by your phone or talking too much to others at the gym. Concentrate solely on your workout. Time yourself if you must. Just make sure to keep your rest periods between workout sets at a minimum.

Keep your rest periods between 30-45 seconds for maximum intensity.
Keep your rest periods between 30-45 seconds for maximum intensity.

#4 Low Intensity

Ok ladies, just because you’re a girl doesn’t mean you can’t push the weights like a man. There is a huge misconception that if you work out hard with weights, you will get huge and bulky muscles. Unless you are taking steroids or muscle enhancement drugs, there is no way you will bulk up like a man, or even get close to looking like any of those female professional body builders. But if you are still concerned, here is a very simple solution. When you get to the point where you want to be, simply back off the weights and do higher reps to stay toned and lean.

With that said, if you want to see progress put away those pink dumbbells and start pushing some real weights. If you’re not at least letting out a grunt every now and again, or making that ugly face, you see most guys making, you probably need to increase your intensity. You are not at the gym to look pretty. You are at the gym to workout hard, build up a sweat and yes, make some ugly faces. You will have enough time looking pretty outside of the gym, when all that hard work has paid off.

Don't make the mistake of not getting enough protein after your workout.
Don't make the mistake of not getting enough protein after your workout.

#5 Not Enough Protein

This may not directly relate to a common workout mistake, but it definitely relates to your workout progress and workout results. Don’t neglect the importance of protein. If you are weight training and not taking protein, you are sabotaging your workout. If you want your weight training session to count and not be a wasted effort, you must meet your daily protein intake. Try to get at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. for example, if you weigh in at 130 pounds, try to consume at least 130 grams of protein each day.

Good sources of protein can be found in dairy products, poultry, beef, and even grains and nuts to name a few. Add protein to every meal and those grams will start to add up quickly. If you are having a difficult time meeting your quota, making a protein shake or having a protein bar between meals will most certainly help.


If you are one of those people seeing little to no results from your workouts, perhaps all you need is to make a few adjustments to put you back on track. Just remember to always get enough protein, keep your intensity level up, don’t rest too long, hit those free weights and not only cardio machines, and don’t hold back on making that ugly face.

Avoid these common workout mistakes and you will be well on your way to a sexy, lean and curvy physique. One you will be proud of, and others will complement you on. I hope this information has been beneficial and will help you improve your workout progress and lead to better and faster results. Stay healthy, stay fit, and much success in your fitness goals.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy reading “High Intensity Weight Training vs Cardio - German Body Composition Training”.

© 2016 John Mark


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