Bad Workout Habits to Kick Now for Better Overall Health


Good health has always been a priority for me, but it’s become more so since I turned 32 last year. I noticed that my good genes, the ones that just burned off all the fat and calories and made it possible for me to give birth to four kids in the course of three pregnancies over the years and drop the baby weight inside of a week, seemed to need a little boost. My once-daily habit of a half hour of yoga made me feel good, but it wasn’t quite getting the work done. I noticed last year after turning 32 that my jeans were a little bit snug, my stomach didn’t feel as tight and I was feeling it more and more when I indulged in a sweet snack or an unhealthy weekend.

Before things got crazy and I was suddenly a woman who was unhappy with her body and it was too late, I decided I needed to do something different. I needed to really focus on my health and my workouts. I eat healthy 95% of the time, so a cheat bowl of frozen yogurt or a calorie-heavy latte from Starbucks doesn’t make me feel guilty. However, I wasn’t working out much harder than a simple yoga session, and it wasn’t working for me any longer. Fortunately, a new YMCA opened up five miles from my house and I joined. Since becoming a member, you might say I’m a little gym-obsessed.

To be honest, I do feel so good after an hour workout. But I also really love the 90-minutes per day of free childcare they offer parents (especially over the summer when it was all four kids instead of just the twins!). That feeling of waking up, going to work out and really feeling good is what I need in my life to make me healthier, and it’s what we all need. You might not care to do the six days per week I do at the gym (I’ve been missing a few Saturdays lately due to travel and I feel like the worst person ever) but you could do three to four days and still make a major impact on your overall health.

However, you should remember that you might pick up a few gym habits that aren’t all that amazing. I’ve noticed a few myself, and I thought I might share with you some of the worst habits you can have at the gym – that way you can stop them now.

Working out alone

I like to work out alone, I really do. But I also like to work out with my husband and my girlfriends. Why? Because I feel the need to inject a little friendly competition. I don’t love to run, but my husband does. When we do the treadmill together, I find myself looking over at his to see how fast he’s going, how many calories he’s burned and how far he’s gone and then I up my game to beat him. The same goes with my girlfriends. This is when I feel the need to use heavier weights and pick up my pace a bit. It’s good to have some healthy competition and really challenge yourself.

Not actually working out

I cannot tell you how many times I see people at the gym each morning who are just there for social hour. They don’t actually use much of anything, but they’re there. I think maybe the idea that they spent an hour at the gym each day that week makes them feel as if they’re getting healthy; but not actually working out is not productive.

Doing the same thing

Sure, we all have our favorite routine. I have one myself that I do anytime I work out alone. I do 33 minutes on the elliptical (a hardcore 28-minute weight loss routine and a 5-minute cool down) and then I do some arms, some legs and some ab work outs to complete my hour. When I work out with my girlfriends or husband, however, I mix it up. Your body gets used to doing the same thing over and over again and it becomes less effective. You have to mix it up, use new muscles and really put yourself to the test to keep burning calories and working out in an effective manner.

Only doing cardio

I’m not a fan of the weights. I’m really not – but twice a week I get up and go to a hardcore Body Pump class that makes me use weights for a solid hour and actually makes me feel as if I might die. I bought a shirt specifically for that class: Everything hurts and I’m dying. Do I love it? Not when I’m there. When I’m done, yes; I adore that class. It gets me using weights, building lean muscle and keeping myself burning fat and calories long after I leave.

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