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I’m in different gyms all the time and over 90% of the workouts I see people doing are almost complete wastes of time. Of course, it’s better that people are up and moving than sitting on the couch but I always wonder why the hell people would keep showing up to the gym doing the same thing over and over when their body doesn’t change at all. Working out is never easy. So why not get some results for all your hard work? I personally wouldn’t be able to keep grinding out workouts if there wasn’t any reward from it.

So let’s dive into my top 5 mistakes:

1. Using Improper Technique

Proper technique allows you to work the right muscles while keeping the other muscles either relaxed or holding still. It also allows you to lift the heaviest weight with the least amount of risk. Both of these things are critical for the best results. Simply put: technique is king.

Honestly, men are usually the ones I see lifting with poor technique. Their egos get the better of them and they think they know how to do an exercises right when it’s obvious they don’t. And they are also guilty using way too much weight for what their form and strength levels allow. Hey, I’m not judging! I’ve been guily of this in the past myself. I also had to learn the hard way – through poor results and injuries – that it wasn’t such a good idea. Now I don’t make those mistakes anymore.

People lift with poor technique because of two reasons:

  • Lifting more weight than they can handle
  • They’ve never learned proper technique


Make sure you use only use weight that allows you to lift with proper technique. And if you don’t know the proper technique, then learn!

2. Not Lifting Enough Weight

Using proper technique is imperative for the best results. But once you get the technique down, it’s time to load it up! I don’t care if your goal is to see your six pack or to drop a few dress sizes, you need to have strength to be able to do it! Although some men are guilty of this, the culprit here is usually women. Women shun heavier weight because they think it’ll make them bulky! While that could happen, chances are that they won’t. Especially if you have a well designed workout and nutrition plan.

Strength is necessary to build bigger muscles. Bigger muscles increase your RMR (resting metabolic rate) and in turn increases the amount of calories that you burn while you’re resting. (Yes, you will burn more calories just sitting around doing nothing). We all know that circuit training and interval training work better than any other type of exercise for burning fat. But if you’re weak, you simply can’t push yourself as hard.

Try this: Build more strength by lifting more weight for 4 weeks. Then go back to an interval or circuit routine you were doing and see how much harder you can push yourself!

3. Not Focusing On Big-Bang Exercises

I can’t tell you how many times I would watch someone walk into the gym, go over to the dumbbells and start doing biceps curls and lateral raises. This is a waste of precious gym time if you’ve got some fat to lose or would like to put more muscle on your frame. No one – I repeat – no one ever got into great shape by doing a bunch of curls, lateral raises and crunches. I’m not saying these exercises are bad. What I’m saying is that you get a poor return on your investment with these exercises. Save them for when you’re already in shape and have a little tweaking to do!

Instead, focus on doing exercises like:

  • deadlifts
  • squats
  • lunges
  • single leg exercises
  • pull ups
  • pull downs
  • bench presses
  • bent over rows

….and all the other big compound exercises. Compound exercises like these will work more muscles, burn more calories and ultimately yield better results from your gym efforts.

4. Not Following A Progressive Workout Program

I have to admit, I was guilty of this one for way too long. Then one day I found a 16 week program written by an strength coach who worked with Olympic athletes. Every 4 weeks built on the previous 4 weeks in a logical, planned progression. It worked better than anything I’ve ever tried before! Not only was I getting great results but I my clients were getting better results too.

I got stronger and built more muscle in those 16 weeks than I had in years all because there was a plan. The technical name for this is periodization. You can forego the fancy 10-dollar term and call it a workout plan. As the saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” My advice is to get a professionally designed program. Get at least a 12-week workout plan to follow. Any trainer who offers less than this probably doesn’t know what they’re talking about and are not worth your hard earned money.

5. Not focusing on nutrition

Hmmm…how should I put this? Let’s just say that it’s impossible to build the the body you want without addressing your nutrition. If you’re not willing to make changes in this area then don’t expect much from exercise. If you exercise, you will definitely get stronger muscles, more endurance, etc but you won’t see a difference in your body without proper nutrition. You’ll be in better shape but people may not be able to tell.

I always tell my clients to not expect much if they’re not willing to change their eating habits. That goes for you too. And there’s no need to jump on any crazy weight loss diet, just making small changes over time can yield big long term results. Start with taking a whole food-based multivitamin and some fish oil is a great start as most people have nutritional deficiencies and don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids. Start there then slowly make other changes like replacing your grains and starches for vegetables.

So there you have it! Did you like this article? Then leave a comment. Think a friend can benefit from this information? Then share it! And if you need more help than what I gave here, check out my online program and nutrition plan design service HERE.

Ted Ryce is a high-performance coach, celebrity trainer, and a longevity evangelist. A leading fitness professional for over 24 years in the Miami Beach area, who has worked with celebrities like Sir Richard Branson, Rick Martin, Robert Downey, Jr., and hundreads of CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies. In addition to his fitness career, Ryce is the host of the top-rated podcast called Legendary Life, which helps men and women reclaim their health, and create the body and life they deserve.

1 Comment

  1. Matt says:

    Totally agree! Humans will unfortunately take the path of least resistance hence the reason you see so many people “spinning” their wheels. Get comfortable being uncomfortable people or be happy right where you are!

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