Contributed by Jason Knapfel, Senior Producer for DietsInReview.com, which provides dieting tools and information needed to shape a healthier you.
The gym is a fantastic place to get your workout in. There are many benefits, including 24-hour access with some of them.
Not only that, but most gyms will be filled with the latest in workout gear that would cost you tens of thousands of dollars to put in your home... assuming you even have the space.
But if you are using a gym there are some common mistakes you need to avoid.
1. Only doing cardio
This tends to be a common practice for the ladies. But if you avoid strength training you are missing out on the well-rounded workout you should be getting.
Sure, cardio is important, but strength training has many health benefits as well. Increased muscle mass will boost your metabolism. Strength training also help you burn more calories during your workout and increases bone density.
2. Stretching before your workout
Stretching loosens your muscles and joints. However, if you don't warm-up first, you can do more harm than good.
Think of your muscles as taffy. If you stretch taffy when it's cold, it will snap. But when taffy is warm it will stretch with ease. Always warm up with something like walking for a few minutes avoid pulling a muscle and to gain flexibility.
3. Being intimidated
The gym is often loud and packed with people. This can make it difficult to try new things or get on popular machines.
Whether you are intimidated by the "muscle guys" in the weight room, or the impossibly good looking supermodels on the mats, you have just as much right to the space as they do.
4. Staying quiet
When you have questions, keep in mind: Gym employees are paid to help you.
If you don't know how to use a machine or do an exercise properly, don't be shy. It's easy to be a little bashful but it's just as easy to injure yourself when you don't know what you are doing.
5. Not being prepared
We are all busy. So we need to utilize our time at the gym the best we can.
Always go to the gym with a plan. Otherwise, you will spend too much time wandering the floor aimlessly. Also, if you don't keep track of your exercises you may miss muscle groups, which can affect your results.
Journaling your workout keeps you organized and is a great way to challenge yourself to make progress.