HEALTH // The Biggest Mistakes People Make While Training (And How To Avoid Them)


Are you training hard, but not seeing any results? You might be cocking it all up, even if you made it to the gym twice this week.

If you want to know the answer to something, go straight to the top. At least, that’s what I’ve always found. The middle man is just repeating what the big boss told them, anyway.

You might have noticed here at Social Sneaker, we’re a little bit health conscious, yet we also like to go out and drink all the cocktails. Alcohol and flat bellies are not happy bedfellows. If it wasn’t for the gym, I’d have drunk my way into obesity months ago.

I’m a pretty bouncy gym goer. That is, I bounce from going, like, ALL the time, to reminiscing about that fortnight three years ago while catching up with Parks and Rec in bed. One day I will totally be my circa 2010 gym bunny self. Maybe.

Which brings me back to my point. When you want an answer, you go straight to the top.

I wanted to know how to not sabotage my training.

So I asked Michael Klim, former gold medal Olympic swimmer and now bad ass fitness guru and CEO of Milk & Co.

This is what he said.


The five biggest mistakes people make while training, and how to avoid them, by Michael Klim

1. Time on Task

Too many people hire the services of a personal trainer and then think that the weight will fall off, they will get fitter, stronger, leaner, and healthier without really doing the work required. Your personal trainer is your accountability tool, your motivator and in some cases your mentor, however you have to take responsibility for your actions. You have heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink”? The same applies to your training.

You can just turn up and go through the motions or you can train with all the intensity during your personal training sessions, but does your lifestyle complement your training?  What are you doing outside of the gym that may have an impact on your training goal/s (nutrition, incidental exercise, sleep, alcohol, time)? I often tell my clients that they won’t get any smarter reading the same book everyday and the same applies to your body. You need to constantly change your program whether this be intensity, time, sets, reps, weights, exercises, % cardiovascular vs. resistance etc. When you employ the services of a personal trainer, they should make these adaptations for you to guarantee that you are getting some physiological overload during your session, which will then force an adaptation to occur allowing you to reach your goal/s.  However, if you can’t dedicate sufficient time to your training and at the correct intensity then consider your payment to your trainer as a donation.

2. Nutrition

Many people value nutrition as the number one ingredient to how you look and feel, so can you answer the following questions.

  • What are you fuelling your body on?
  • Are you getting adequate nutritional requirements to complement your training goals (weight loss, building lean muscle)?
  • What is your daily hydration plan?
  • How many colours do you consume a day (3 fruits, 5 veggies)?
  • Do you snack frequently?
  • Do you know the energy value of certain foods?
  • Can you read food labels, as 100% fat free might be full of sugar?

There is an old saying that a six-pack isn’t made in the gym; it is created in the kitchen. Where is yours created?

3. Consistency

The national standards for exercise are 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week. Personally, I think this is still very demanding so I employ my personal formula, ‘be better than average’.  If there are 52 weeks in a year make sure you do 45 weeks of ‘structured’ exercise.  If there are 60 minutes in an hour, make sure you do 45 minutes of ‘structured’ exercise.  If there are 7 days in a week make sure you at least exercise for 4 days!  This will give you a solid foundation for success and most of all consistency.

4. Variety

Variety of training through group exercise classes, personal training sessions and incidental exercise such e.g. bike ride with kids. Variety is a key ingredient to keep people motivated and stimulated about what they are doing; it’s also is a great way to encourage the social aspect of health, which is another positive.

5. Goal Setting

It is crucial to set realistic and manageable goals. Anything from being able to run for 20 minutes without stopping or completing a certain exercise within a manageable amount of time – consistency is key and setting the right goal gives you the motivation to achieve this.

Written by Alex, who’s just realised she REALLY needs to step up game. Oops.

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Alex Bruce-Smith

24. Aussie-Brit mongrel. Writer, feminist, terrible cook. Struggles at life to the point where she once got on the wrong end of a train and ended up in Austria instead of Croatia. When she grew up she wanted to be an actress, author, astronaut, architect and in advertising, in that order. Now she writes about new bars and calls it "journalism".

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