Common Fitness Blunders - Part 4

Have you ever started a workout routine, thinking you’re doing everything right, only to find out there were some important things you missed? Here are some common workout mistakes that most of us have made from time to time, and what you can do to prevent them from happening to you.
Check out Common Fitness Blunders Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 for more tips.
Blunder #7: You think you are working hard, but you can talk to the person on the treadmill next to you without discomfort. 

Intensity is one of the hardest things for many exercisers to understand. You don’t want to work so hard that you become exhausted early in your workout, but you also don’t want to take it so easy that you don’t break a sweat. There are a few simple ways to determine your intensity and help you decide if you need to step it up a bit:
  1. At the height of your workout, you should be sweating and breathing hard. Use the "Talk Test" to measure your intensity. You should be able to answer a question, but not comfortably carry on a conversation. If you can walk on the treadmill and easily tell your friend all about your day, you are not working hard enough, so step it up!
  2. Another great way to measure your intensity is with a heart rate monitor or by checking your heart rate periodically. There is an easy formula to calculate your Target Heart Rate, which will tell you if you are working at the right intensity.
Working at a high intensity will help you burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time, making your workout as efficient as possible. 

Blunder #8: Since you exercise, you figure you can eat whatever you want. 

The key to weight loss is a healthy diet and regular exercise program. It is very difficult to lose weight through exercise alone. Those extra calories add up quickly and might take longer than you think to burn off by working out. 

For example, you decide to treat yourself to a medium popcorn (with butter, of course) at the movies. You did a 45-minute workout on the treadmill this morning, so you deserve it, right? Well, you might want to think before you eat. You probably burned about 400 calories on the treadmill, but that tub of popcorn contains almost 1200 calories!! So you would have to do an extra 90-minute workout just to burn off your movie treat. When you think about it that way, a better option might be to skip the popcorn and bring a granola bar or other healthy snack. 

One thing you can do to prevent mistakes from happening to you, is to ask questions! The Resident Experts are always happy to help you make the most of your workouts and answer any questions you might have. 
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Member Comments

Great article. Will keep them in mind as time goes on. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. Report
When I do my 10-min mix cardio, if I spend more time on elliptical than jump rope, say ratio 7:3, I can still talk moderately easy. But opposite, I'm nearly breathless, especially if I do fast jump rope, 1 set 30 spin. (fast for my current level is 60 in 1 minute with rest 10-count between each 20 spin). Still aiming that "hard to talk "but people keep interupting my workout that I can't hardly do my workout continuosly, even in 10 minutes! Report
Great article. Report
Hi!Even thoughI am for intensity in a workout as it is more efficient and I know that I am improving over time SP points don't reflect this idea.
Whether I walk 6 miles or I use the elliptical to complete 6 I get many many more spark points if I walk. Report


About The Author

Jen Mueller
Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist, behavior change specialist and functional training specialist. She is also a RRCA-certified running coach. See all of Jen's articles.
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