Are You Making One of These 5 Mistakes That Slow Fitness Gains?


Cathe Friedrich teaches you how to make Fitness Gains in her new STS 2.0 workouts

If you’re like most people, your goal is to get fit!  But with so much information out there and so many options for different kinds of workouts, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You might be going through the motions of exercise every day, but are you getting results? If not, it could be due to one of these common mistakes:

  1. Not having a plan or schedule for your workouts

Having a plan and schedule for your workouts is important. If you don’t have one, your progress will be slow or non-existent. Of course, it’s not about having the perfect workout plan; it’s about having a workable plan —and sticking to it.

Here are some tips on how to get started:

Know what you want out of your fitness goals. Do you want to lose weight? Build muscle? Become more athletic in general? Staying focused on what it is that motivates you will help keep you motivated when times get tough in the gym or at home.

Set realistic goals based on what’s possible right now—not tomorrow, but right now! It may take time before you see tangible results from working out, so try setting smaller milestones along the way and celebrate those small achievements. Doing so will help you stay motivated.

  1. Not warming up or cooling down properly

Warming up is a crucial part of any exercise routine, especially if you’re doing something strenuous like running or weightlifting. Even the most basic activity can cause serious injury if you don’t prepare your body by warming up first. Stiff muscles don’t respond well to movement.

The benefits of a good warm-up include reducing the risk of injury, increasing flexibility and range of motion, and helping your heart rate gradually increase in response to the stress of exercise. Although there’s a lack of solid evidence that warming up reduces injury risk, as one study points out, the evidence favors a risk reduction.

Don’t forget about the cooldown either! A proper cool down after an intense workout will help you recover quicker, improve circulation, allow your heart rate to come down in a controlled manner, and reduce your stress level. You earned a slow, relaxed cool-down after a hard workout!

  1. Not adjusting your lifestyle to your goals

There is a lot of talk about what you should be eating and how much sleep you need, but diet and lifestyle are not the same things. Your diet is simply what you eat—it’s a tool for fueling your body. Your lifestyle is more than just food; it’s how you live. How much time do you spend in front of the TV or computer? Do you go to bed at 9 pm every night or stay up until 2 am every morning? These factors can impact your fitness goals as well as your health.

You might be surprised to learn that sleep and stress management play a major role in achieving fitness goals. Sleep is the time when your body recovers, so if you’re not getting enough of it, it’s hard for your body to repair after intense workouts and build new muscle tissue. Stress can also impact your immune system, making you more likely to get sick during busy seasons and less able to recover after illness takes its toll.

In addition to causing weight gain or loss by disrupting hormones (stress causes cortisol production), chronic stress can make you crave unhealthy foods like sugar and fat while we sleep—which means that even if you get plenty of restful shuteye at night, those late-night snacks can still make it harder to manage weight and improve your body composition.

The best way to avoid this pitfall is to manage both physical and mental stressors in your life as much as possible. Try meditating every day or taking time for yourself before bed each night; schedule gym sessions around stressful times; take outdoor walks; eat healthy meals instead of relying on junk food. What you do outside of formal exercise training matters too. Make sure your lifestyle supports your fitness goals.

  1. Focusing too much on the calorie burn

If you’re trying to lose weight, you might structure your workouts around burning calories and gravitate more toward aerobic exercise, like running, but that would be short sighted. Focus less on a what the scale says and more on improving your body composition. When you shift the focus toward building metabolically active muscle, your body becomes stronger, leaner, and tighter. Also, focus on how you feel. Are you getting stronger and have more stamina? These things are more important than a number on the scale.

  1. Being too ambitious (and expecting too much too quickly)

Many people set their goals too high at the beginning and then give up when they don’t meet them right away. If you want to lose 10 pounds of body fat or gain a few pounds of muscle, don’t try to lose it all in one month or even two months. Instead, start with smaller goals and work your way up to the bigger ones over time. Getting fit isn’t something that happens overnight — it takes time, consistency, and patience.

The truth is that getting fit takes discipline and determination — two things that aren’t always easy to come by in today’s world of instant gratification and busy schedules. But if you want your body to look and function better, or if you want to live longer so you can be around for your family, then make a commitment to fitness and stick with it until you reach your goals. Keep those goals manageable and realistic though!


We all make mistakes like this, and it can hamper fitness gains. The key is to learn from them and adjust your workouts and lifestyle accordingly. If you are trying to improve your fitness, track what you’re doing right and wrong so that you can maximize your results. Keep redefining your goals. Document your journey in a fitness journal, so you have objective information about how you’re progressing. If you don’t have data, you don’t know whether you need to adjust. Hopefully, this article gives you insights into mistakes that can limit your progress, so you can avoid them.


  • “Benefits of Physical Activity | Physical Activity | CDC.” 16 Jun. 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm.
  • “What Are SMART Fitness Goals? How to Set Them and More – Healthline.” 28 Oct. 2021, https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/smart-fitness-goals.
  • “Accountability With Physical Fitness Goals | Psychology Today.” 27 Feb. 2017, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/free-range-psychology/201702/accountability-physical-fitness-goals.
  • Fradkin AJ, Gabbe BJ, Cameron PA. Does warming up prevent injury in sports? The evidence from randomized controlled trials? J Sci Med Sport. 2006 Jun;9(3):214-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2006.03.026. Epub 2006 May 6. PMID: 16679062.

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