We all make mistakes. Toxic friendships, diets (or lack thereof), choice in lipstick (and significant others)—you name it, we’ve probably dabbled, then regretted instantly. It doesn’t matter how good your intention is—some things aren’t meant to be or just do more harm than good. This existential realisation is perhaps no clearer than at the gym—a place where even the strongest get their limits tested, both physically and mentally. If you’ve been sticking to an exercise plan and aren’t seeing results, or you simply want to know what your trainer would tell you, politeness thrown to the wayside, you’ve come to the right place.
Ahead, you’ll find 13 things—mistakes, pet peeves, whatever you want to call them—that top trainers want their clients to stop doing (in the name of good health and better results, obviously). Keep scrolling to see what they are!
“I want my clients to stop thinking that low-carb dieting and high-intensity workouts are a perfect mix—more like a Molotov cocktail. Carbs are your body’s first resource for energy, so cutting them and doing high-intensity (energy) training is the opposite of what should be happening. Carbs are great for your body. It’s more about how much you’re taking in and how much you’re utilizing them.” — Kellie Sikoroski, trainer, Barry’s Bootcamp Miami
“Stop detoxing, juicing and fad-dieting. These weight-loss attempts are inherently unsustainable and unbalanced in their approach. Most lack a major component of the human diet that is required for us to operate normally from day to day. No-carb diets will cause you to feel awful and have zero energy. Juicing lacks the protein necessary to maintain and build muscle. A detox often forces you to eat or drink the same things every day for a period of time. Generally, these programs are forms of starvation that contribute to only small decreases in body mass, with even less significant decreases coming from fat mass.
The biggest problem begins once these programs cease and the previous poor eating habits resume, often causing a regression back to square one.” — Grant Weeditz, Body Architect, Anatomy at 1220
“I want my clients to stop skipping meals because they’re ‘not hungry’—particularly breakfast. The human body is a wonderfully made machine that is designed to adapt to changes. So, once your body catches on to the fact that you’re missing a meal, it prepares for that, meaning that your metabolism slows down, which is why you stop feeling hungry at that time. Adaptation. The body begins to prepare for famine. It doesn’t understand that you’re choosing to skip a meal, just that a meal is being missed.
So everything slows down to prepare for this. You also begin to store fat easier. So you burn fewer calories and hold on to fat. STOP SKIPPING MEALS.” — Kellie Sikorski
(Need some healthy breakfast ideas? We’ve got you.)
“Cut out the protein bars. A protein bar is very quick and convenient in our hectic lives. However, most protein bars are filled with sugar, and if not sugar, then alcohol, fat, high carbohydrates, etc. This is not a meal replacement. Eat a small meal filled with great nutrients instead, or when rushing with time, try some carrots and hummus instead.” — Jacqueline Kasen, Body Architect, Anatomy at 1220
“Cut back on alcohol as much as possible. Not only is alcohol filled with high sugar, high carbs and empty calories, while digesting, it’s turned into something called acetate. If your goal is to burn body fat, you have to burn through the acetate first before reaching your body fat. Therefore, hitting the gym the day after you drink will maybe burn the liquor from the night before, but not anything extra. So if you frequently drink socially, you’ll most likely gain weight, or you will probably hit a plateau in maintaining your weight.
As a replacement, try adding fruit to water—this way you’re staying hydrated as well as have a great taste for flavour.” — Kellie Sikorski
“Never eat a meal or snack without a major source of protein. It will convert to fat within hours after consumption without exercise. A banana, toast, and coffee do not qualify as breakfast.” — Grant Weeditz
(Check out more perfect high-protein dinner recipes for weeknights.)
“Quit fake food. Opt for real food raised on a farm, caught in the wild or grown in the ground.” — Grant Weeditz
“I would love for my clients to stop coming in late. If they miss the warm-up that I have in the beginning of class or beginning of a personal client, they are more prone to injury, which ultimately will disable them from working out altogether for a while.” — Sam Karl, trainer, Barry’s Bootcamp Miami
“I’d like my clients to stop being inconsistent and thinking things will change with inconsistency.” — Rachel Robinson, trainer, Barry’s Bootcamp Miami
(Here are some easy ways to get in the habit of working out.)
“The myth of late-night eating contributing to the storage of excess fat has been disproven time and time again over the last decade. As long as some type of muscle-building activity is performed a few times throughout the week, eating a large dinner or having a snack before bed is perfectly fine if the overall amount of calories within the day is consistent from one day to the next.” — Grant Weeditz
(We’ve got seven under-500 calorie dinners that are quick and easy to make for your cooking pleasure.)
“I would love for my clients to stop talking to other people in class and to stop using their phones as well. It is one hour—one hour to change your body and one hour to be removed from the world. It is your time—take advantage of it. Talking to others is not only distracting to me but distracting to other people as well. I understand everyone wants to be connected through their phone in this day and age, but one hour should not be too much to ask. Become addicted to your workout and health—not your phone and social media and texting.” — Sam Karl, trainer, Barry’s Bootcamp Miami
“I would love for my clients to stop quitting when things get tough. When things get hard in life, you should not give up—and that translates to the gym as well. The burn you feel is a good thing—embrace it and try to get a couple more reps in before you take your rest.” — Sam Karl
“I want my clients to remember to always have a positive attitude—that is the key to success.” — Rachel Robinson
Next, find out the nine most common fitness mistakes, according to a personal trainer!