Common Fitness Blunders - Part 3

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 "Fitness Blunders Part I" and "Fitness Blunders Part II" for more tips.
Blunder #5: You’ve done the same cardio and strength training workout for the past six months.

When you first start a new activity, your body responds more readily, and you begin to see results. Maybe you lose a little weight, begin to see muscle definition, or notice you are getting stronger. But over time, your workouts aren’t as challenging. After a month or two, you stop losing weight and can’t figure out why you’re stuck.

After about 6 weeks, your body starts getting used to the activity you have been doing. It’s no longer challenged when that activity becomes a normal part of the routine. If you want to start seeing results again (or just continue the progress you’ve made), you have to change something about your routine. If it’s cardio, add a variety of activities to your workout. Try a new class or machine, or take up a new sport.

If you love what you’re doing now, you don’t have to give it up. You can stick to your favorite activities—just try to increase your intensity and duration. If you walk, add some speed work, increase your distance, add hills to your route—anything that makes it different will keep your body guessing.

For strength training, be sure to change your exercises every 4-6 weeks for the same reasons. You can change your workout by:
  • increasing or decreasing your weight, reps, or sets
  • moving from machines to free weights; trying new equipment like tubing or bands
  • experimenting with more body weight exercises for variety
  • adding balance elements (stability balls, standing on one leg, BOSU, etc.)
  • reversing the order of your exercises
  • trying a new exercise for each muscle group (such as chest flys instead of a chest press, or front raises instead of lateral raises)
Blunder #6: You start a new program and are disappointed when you don’t see results in the first week. 

Everyone is different. So even though you start an exercise program, it might take a few weeks for the number on the scale to budge. The important thing is not to get discouraged. Even if you don’t lose weight right away, there are many other important changes you’ll notice in the first week or two. Regular exercise helps you sleep better, increases your energy, reduces stress, and helps you feel better overall. Don’t overlook these benefits! 

If you do lose weight quickly in the first week or two, don’t get discouraged if it slows down a little after that. You should expect to lose an average of 1-2 lbs per week if you stick to a program of regular exercise and eating right.
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Member Comments

Good article. Report
My main exercise has been walking and I have been doing that for a while I am trying to mix it up a bit by adding some jogging sometimes - not on every walk but maybe once a week. I have a bad knee and probably am not going to become a runner, but I can add some intensity to my walking. And I also have been trying out some different exercise videos, such as kickboxing and other aerobics, just to keep it different and fresh. Report
About blunder #5 the exact same opposite happens to me, I get bored pretty easily and can't maintain a routine longer than 2 weeks :S Report
It really is important to note that the closer one gets to "goal weight" usually the slower the weight comes off. -- When you weigh less, your body uses less calories for daily living. Usually the 1-2 lbs per week loss is NOT reality in the "last 10#'s" to go. (confirmed by MD) Report
I'm glad to hear that I don't have to give up what I love doing--it's as easy as integrating some simple changes. Report
I am always changing what I do as I get bored doing the same thing. Report
Fantastic article! Report
I've gotten an education with all the wonderful articles on fitness!! Report
I really enjoyed reading this article because it has given me the support I needed because I am one who becomes frustrated easily. This is my second week starting the program and I perform exercises from a DVD that I purchased but I have not gotten to the point of performing a full 45 minutes session as yet. I am glad this article gave me added incentive to continue. Thank you. 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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