Top Ten Thursday: Top 10 Mistakes Women Make At The Gym (Me Included)

I have to admit, I am quite impressed. Impressed with the number of people still hitting the gym. I know it’s early, but it seems like a lot of the new gym members around me have quite the motivation and desire to actually keep coming.

I hope so! I love seeing people achieve their goals. I mean of course I would love to not have to wait for a bench or a set of dumbbells but that’s what happens when you don’t have a home gym.

I’ve been eyeing the ladies around me, seeing what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. I am not eyeing them enough to look like some creepo but enough to see the mistakes.

I don’t work at the gym that I workout at so I can’t correct these ladies. However, I do get the luxury of blogging about it so that you can learn from their errors. Pretty cool, right!?

This week’s Top Ten Thursday:

10 mistakes women make at gym

Top 10 Mistakes Most Women Make At The Gym
(In No Particular Order)


10. Calling A Non-workout A Workout:

cell phone workout

I was on a treadmill the other evening beside a lady who was taking a walk on the belt with her cell phone stuck to the side of her face…. for the entire time. Really? How hard was she really working out? Going to the gym and actually working out at the gym are two completely different things. Plus, no one needs to know the details of your day. I don’t mean to be harsh, but this is my pet peeve. Please, no chit chatting on the phone during a workout.

9. Lifting Too Light.

baby weight for women

Sure, if you are brand new to strength training it is critical that you start easy and work your way up. However, I see ladies grabbing for 5 lb dumbbells that clearly can lift heavier. Sometimes going too light is just as bad for your form as too heavy. You can get “whippy” and all around sloppy.

8. Avoiding Pre-Workout Food.

This one I see all the time in my morning boot camps. I think I have mentioned it a time or two. We think that it’s best to avoid food before morning workouts because it might make us queazy and nauseous, right? That is until you get queazy and nauseous from low blood sugar. When you wake up, eat a small pre-workout snack. Even if it’s half a Kind bar. Anything that will help fuel your workout. Everyone is different in terms of what they can tolerate. Find what works for you. You’ll be thankful for the fuel. If you start to feel light headed, drink some water and grab for a quick dose of sugar. I like to keep cereal bars and hard candies around for my ladies.

7. Taking Too Long At The Water Fountain.

Okay, maybe this is just another pet peeve. I am guilty of standing around the water hole too long because I am filling up my entire bottle. HOWEVER, if someone else comes up to get a sip, I slide over and let them. I don’t make them stand around while the little spirt of water fills my liter bottle up. That’s just wrong. When they are done and no one else needs a refreshing sip, then I get back to business.

6. Sticking To The Same Workout.

bored workout

I saw several ladies at the beginning of last week with a workout book in their hands. They went from exercise to exercise completing the workout that was within the pages. The next time I was at the gym, they were doing the same workout with the same weight.

And yes, I have a weird memory. The point is that to see changes in your body you have to challenge yourself. That means always aiming to either add weight to an exercise or add an extra rep in there. I also believe in alternating between workouts if you plan do stick to the same one for more than a week.

If you do the same workout all the time, you will end up bored and plateaued with your results. Change is a good thing.

5. Improper clothing.


There actually is a do and don’t when it comes to fitness clothes. You want something that moves around easily, something that doesn’t fall down when you exercise and something that you feel comfortable in. Oversized t-shirts are not ideal as you can’t see your muscles and body working during an exercise. Plus they can get heavy, clingy and all around uncomfie.

Same goes with bottoms.

I have learned this the hard way… colored leggings are no good for cardio workouts. Trust me! By the end you will look as if you had an accident. Been there, done that. Black is so popular for a reason.  Which is sad because I love color! Also, yoga pants are for yoga. Learned this the hard way too after having to fight with my leggings to stay up for an entire run. I am sure people driving thought I was giving quite the show.

4. Treadmill competing.

treadmill race

Have you ever been on a treadmill next to someone and couldn’t help but to glance at what speed/incline they were working at? Okay, so this particular incident wasn’t a women, it was a dude however he hopped on beside me while I was doing sprint intervals.

Every time I would take the speed up, I would see him push his button so that he was going 1-2 pushes faster than me. So if I was at a 9.3, he was at a 9.5. I thought it was hilarious and I took it as a compliment that he felt I could give him the workout “push”. Believe it or not, I didn’t let him interfere with my speeds. I was there to run my own race, not his.

But I may have been guilty of treadmill competing in once or twice… but that doesn’t make it cool. 🙂

3. No Plan Jan.

workout plan

Having no plan is like not having directions to someplace you’ve never been. You will get lost. Not only that, but you waste time trying to decide what to do next and that means too much rest and not enough action.

Have a plan when you go workout. Know what exercises, the format you plan to do, and the best way to set up. Don’t plan to do back to back exercises that are all the way across the gym. Figure it out so that it’s smooth and flows. That will create less stress and more results.

2. Abs Abs And Just More Abs.

abs to get abs

I used to think that doing crunches and sit ups all day would give me a 6-pack. It didn’t. I felt lied to because I remember the rumor that Brittany Spears did 500 situp/day to get her abs (back in her prime). Here’s the thing… ab exercises don’t burn the fat off.

They might tone the muscles but if there is a layer of fat sitting on top, no one will ever know. It’s going to take a fat burning regiment of cardio and strength training to get those abs to be “Bam” awesome.

1. Adductors/Abductors And Other Machines.

This thigh machine rules a women’s weight training workout. Have you ever used one? You sit in a chair with your legs in what resembles a GYNO contraption and push the weight in and out with your thighs. Sure it sounds great, but really what’s it really accomplishing? This is an isolated move and therefore not the best that you can do in terms of seeing fast results.

The same goes with most other machines that take up the gym floor. They work small muscles making it harder to burn calories and fat. You’ll be much better off doing moves like sumo-squats, lunges, and step-ups. Plus you will burn a heck of a lot more calories!

Have you ever done any of these? 

What gym pet peeve do you have?

I have made a few of these mistakes in my time…  I have been guilting of treadmill competing, not having a plan, and lifting too light! Dan always tells me to go heavier!

Source Of Photos: 


  • I am so guilty of the 5lbs weights, but seriously after 2 rounds of 12 reps each, my arms are fatigued! I have been using 8lbs and heavier kettlebells though, so I guess I’m working up to heavier things.
    I’m also guilty of yoga pants! haha I love them! I am too self conscience to wear the cute tight running pants that everyone wears. But I do have a friend who’s on a new fitness journey and instead of joining a gym, she bought a shake-weight and thinks this will “Transform” her. I didn’t even know where to begin because I’m just so happy she’s attempting something!

    • you are right, you’re moving in the right direction with your weights! It is okay if you can’t get 12 reps, just keeping working on it and you’ll get there. Next step 8 pounders then 10! Gotta love the yoga pants! Good luck with your friend, you’re right at least she is doing something. Chances are as she finds a passion for fitness she will move away from the shake weight.

  • Lauren

    I have another – attitude. I was dying on the Stairmaster last night, and finally struck up a (labored) conversation with a girl on the elliptical next to me who had been staring at me for several minutes. All she kept saying was “I could NEVER do that!” and I just kept thinking, not if you keep saying never and don’t try! (She was also guilty on your #10 phone sin lol). Huge difference between “I could never” and “That looks hard – what can I do to make it happen eventually?”

    • Lauren, you are so right! I have this convo so often with my own clients! It upsets me when I hear negative talking and its true, if you keep saying,
      never… never will be the outcome. Thanks!

  • Faith

    Pet peeves: women that wear makeup just to go to the gym. Peeps go to the gym to “hang out”. (both men & women are guilty of this). People that spend 2-3 hrs at the gym( i know a few of them). I am guilty of wearing yoga pants to the gym. lol I have been told that I look like a b@#!h when I am there by total strangers because i wear my hat down low. Get in, and get out. I don’t talk to anyone while I am working out. I am a very friendly person, although I go to the gym for one specific reason….to workout!

    • I am the same way Faith. I tend to be very unsocial until I am done then I will go chat with those around me. Nothing personal but I am there to kick my butt and if I stop in the middle, it messes up my flow. Agree on all levels!

  • These are so funny! And yes, I’ve been guilty of a few–hello adductor/abductor machine many moons ago. I’d say my biggest continual no-no is that I don’t shake up the strength routines often enough, but I’m working on that for 2013. I also am working on pushing myself harder in the strength department–I think I am always so run focused that I tend to minimize the importance of the strength aspect.

    • I have to say the thigh machines were my entire workout back in college! we’ve all been there. You are such an inspiration! All those goals stacking up, I know you can do it! I am happy to help with the strength workout plan side if you would like.

  • #10 alone is worth a comment. I teach cycling and had to tell a woman to get off her phone before we started class and were in the warmup. It’s not just annoying, but a safety issue whether you are in a class or not. If you are talking on the phone, I highly doubt you are really paying that much attention to what your body is doing, when you combine that with equipment/machines…disaster!

    • Agreed! I know that if I were to try to talk on the phone, I would be the one to slip and fly off the back of the treadmill!

  • Betsey

    I would love some advice on once losing the weight, how do I now firm up the skin that’s left? I am trying so hard to tighten it up, eating clean, etc. I am trying to up my weights now and my cardio as well. Thanks for any help!!!!

    • With a clean diet and great strength training plan you’re on your way! Unfortunately if it’s skin… and you lost a lot of weight you might need to speak with your doctor. Fast weight loss can impact the skins ability to “bounce” back in terms of elasticity. But eating clean, drinking water and working out of course can help tone your muscles and help to fill out the areas (in a good way).

  • For #10, while I totally agree that people should be off their phones unless it is an emergency, I used to do some cool down walks on the treadmills to shake out my legs after a particularly hard workout. I also wore the way wrong clothes in the beginning, I wish someone would’ve told me.

    I think another mistake is that women stay in the “women’s weight room” while the men can be intimidating, and sometimes rude, I loved working out with the mens weights when I had a gym membership, especially when I lifted more ha.

    • Great points! I agree about the intimidation factor. Personally, I love it and watching the guys fuels my fire even more to work harder!

  • Carolina

    Loved all of these and have witnessed all, aaaand perhaps been guilty of the competing one. I’ve got a good one…I was on the treadmill and this lady jumps on the one beside me after about 2 or 3 trips to the bathroom…I can only imagine to freshen up her make up and check out her outfit. That doesn’t bother me…to each they’re own…however, this woman had soooo much perfum…first of all, it instantly started burning my nose and eyes and because I was going at a pretty good speed, I found myself inhaling her (really stinky) smell. I actually had to stop my workout early….and had to tell her that I didn’t think it was appropriate to wear any scents to the gym (womens gym no less) as some people are very sensitive to it….she didn’t like that.

    • that is a great one! I agree 100% with you and you rock for being able to tell her she was stinky! That’s awesome, and while I am sure she didn’t like, she probably didn’t make that mistake again.

  • These are funny and also completely accurate. I’ve learned that I need to wear fitted clothes, as you say. They’re not only functional but also motivational. I love seeing my muscles at work!

  • Great list… and um, don’t tell anyone, but guys do that same thing.

    A good one would be “mirror staring.” Is that a word. You know exactly what I’m talking about. You can see it in their eyes, they are just looking at themselves and posing for 60 minutes.

    • HAHAHA yes, I know exactly what you’re talking about. We have a guy at our gym that we’ve nicknamed “grunterman” because he grunts and checks himself out the entire workout.

  • Stephanie J.

    Taylor – what do you think about the cable hip adduction? I’ve been doing this a little bit, but wondering now if it’s a waste of time?

    • It’s not as bad at all actually pretty good because it’s not on a set range of motion so you have to use smaller muscles to control it. When paired with other moves it’s a great exercises. Especially if you have weak hips (get sore during runs) and such to help strengthen them up.

  • Steph

    I laugh when I see people drink diet soda during a workout–that’s crazy

    • Seriously? that is super crazy!

  • This is SO GOOD!!! These are all so true and I’m probably guilty of 7, 6 and 3 although I’ve been better about having a plan when I go to the gym. haha the ab/adductor machine. Can’t they just ban those from the gym?

    • We are all guilty of a few of them! I agree, off with the thigh machines! : )

  • Brieanna

    Love this list! The other morning I had to wait for the Smith Machine as a lady (mid 30’s) took seductive “mirror pictures” while hanging on the bar…who does that??

    • you mean you DON’T do that? jk. That’s hilarious and i would have loved to see it.

  • Rebecca

    My favorite was when I saw a woman walking at a snail’s pace on the treadmill with a Venti Frappucino in the cup holder…really?!

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