Common Fitness Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Hutton Health

Common Fitness Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

19th January 2023

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When you are focused on a fitness goal, it is look for short cuts or a way to get to the end goal without the patience and perseverance needed to safely and sustainably progress. 

When it comes to achieving your health and fitness goals, there are some common mistakes that people make. Fitness mistakes can impede your progress or increase your chances of injury, creating set backs on your fitness journey. 

I have been in the fitness world for many years as a coach, a personal trainer and as an athlete. I have missed numerous races and events due to illness or injury from these fitness mistakes. 

These are common mistakes I see at most levels of fitness as people are determined on their quest to improve their fitness or performance. 

Here are 7 common fitness mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Not warming up

With time constraints during the day, it can feel like a warmup takes valuable minutes away from the ‘quality’ work of an exercise session. Warming up is not always associated with doing what needs to be done to reach your fitness goals.

Warmups are important as they prepare your body for the stress that it is going to be put under during your workout. Warming up properly increases blood flow to your muscles, raises your body temperature and increases your range of motion and flexibility. 

common fitness mistake 1. not warming up

There are many ways to warm up depending on the type of exercise you are going to do. Warmups are an essential part of any exercise session, from running to lifting weights. The most effective warmup will focus on the muscles that you will be working during your fitness session.

Warms up should:

  • Be 5-10 minutes
  • Gradually increase in intensity

Not warming up properly is a common fitness mistake I see that can increase your chances of injury and reduce your performance as your muscles are not prepared for the workout. 

2. Not focusing on technique

Performing each exercise with proper technique is important for improving your fitness, strength and performance. Focus on technique in every form of exercise you participate in, whether you are running, walking, lifting weights, or swimming. 

Janice Hutton lifting dumbells

Performing exercises with proper technique should consider:

  • Posture – exercises should be performed with good alignment and balance. In order to maintain good posture, keep your shoulders back (avoid rounding your shoulders), lift your chest and keep your core engaged. Keep your body aligned, focusing on the alignment of your spine and your joints.
  • Use your full range of motion – ensure you complete full reps for each exercise. For example, if you are doing a bicep curl, ensuring that you lower the weights to fully extend your arm (without locking your elbow), then raising the weight fully will help ensure maximum benefit from each repetition. 
  • Use slow, controlled movements – In order for your muscles to be engaged through each exercise, avoid using momentum or swinging the weights. Slow, controlled movements ensure that the muscle you are focusing on is controlling the motion. If you are lifting weights, a good starting target is to consider a 2-count when you lift the weights, and a 2-count when you lower them. 
  • Focus on the target muscle group – Ensure you are using the intended muscle group to complete the exercise you are doing. For example, if you are doing shoulder press, focus on using your upper body for the exercise rather than gathering momentum from your legs when you lift the weights. Focusing on your technique when you are exercising at a lower effort level, for example, running at a slower speed or lifting lighter weights, will help you keep good form when you increase the effort.

3. Not challenging yourself.

As you increase your fitness, health and endurance, it is important to continue challenging yourself during your workouts. Your body will adapt to the exercises you perform, so to continue progressing toward your health and fitness goals it is essential that you challenge yourself.

A common fitness mistake I see is people exercising in the same way repeatedly, then wondering why they aren’t getting faster, losing weight, or increasing their fitness. 

Working out at home? Decathlon  has a range of equipment that makes it easier to challenge yourself from the comfort of your home.

in the gym

Challenging yourself in a workout to improve your fitness can look like:

  • Increasing your weight or resistance
  • Increasing the number of reps or sets
  • Incorporating more intense exercises
  • Increasing the variety in your workouts
  • Increasing the incline or speed during cardio session

Ensuring variety in the type of workout you do can help keep you progressing toward your health and fitness goals. This blog highlights different types of strength that you can focus on in your program to challenge your body.

4. Not having a plan.

A common fitness mistake is not having a plan for your exercise sessions. Although I believe that any movement has incredible benefits to your mind and body, if you have set a fitness goal for yourself, a plan is important in your journey to achieve it. 

A structured workout plan can help keep you progressing toward your fitness and health goals as an effective plan will keep your focused and ensure your workouts are efficient, challenging and progressive. A workout plan gives your exercise sessions and workouts a purpose.


Writing a workout plan

This can help fuel your motivation and keep you focused on your goals. Having a reason WHY you are doing a workout can give you the boost you need to work harder resulting in faster improvements to your health and fitness. If you need help creating a structured plan to achieve your health and fitness goals, consider working with a personal trainer.

Read this previous blog to find out 5 benefits of working with a health and fitness coach.

Hutton Health offers a monthly membership as well as personalised programs to help you reach your health and fitness goals!

Hutton Health monthly membership

5. Not cooling down

Another common fitness mistake is not cooling down properly after physical activity. Missing a cool down can lead to muscle soreness, stiffness and injury. 

An effective cool down:

  • Can reduce muscle fatigue
  • Flushes out waste products from the muscles
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lowers heart rate
Cooling down stretches

A good cool down:

  • Should last for at least 5-10 minutes
  • Gradually decreases in intensity

A cool down should include a light cardio activity, such as walking or cycling, to gradually reduce your heart rate as well as static stretches which are held for at least 30-60 seconds. 

The cool down will vary depending on the type of exercise that you have done and your health and fitness goals. 

6. Not stretching

When I was younger, I thought stretching and yoga were a waste of my precious time. If a workout didn’t result in me sweating, raising my heart rate or feeling the ‘burn’, I wasn’t interested in it. 

Now that I enjoy time stretching and regularly do yoga, I rarely have injuries and I feel much stronger and healthier.


There are many benefits of yoga and stretching:

  • improve sleep
  • reduce stress
  • reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • reduce pain
  • improve posture
  • improve flexibility
  • improve strength
  • improve stamina
  • help to recover from injuries
  • compliment other therapies such as physiotherapy or osteopathy from injuries
  • reduces inflammation
  • improve digestion

7. Not allowing your body to recover

There have been many times in my life where I have over trained and not allowed my body the time it needed to recover between workouts. Inevitably, this eventually led to injury and illness for me; and missed races, periods of forced rest, hospitalisation and exhaustion. 

Your body needs to rest and recover to improve your fitness, health and strength. Not prioritising rest days, not getting enough sleep, or overtraining can result in burnout and can keep you from achieving your health and fitness goals. 

Relaxing on the beach after workout

Rest and recovery does not mean you need to sit on your sofa watching Netflix. Resting might mean going for a walk, stretching, or enjoying a less intense form of exercise. 

Learn to value your recovery and appreciate your rest days!

Health and fitness is a journey that takes time and patience. Although some of the common fitness mistakes shorten the time a workout may take on a daily basis, they can ultimately slow fitness progress. Avoiding these common fitness mistakes can help you achieve your health and fitness goals. 

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