Common Fitness Mistakes

Technology and social media forums have made access to training programs and workout ideas easier in the last 10-15 years. With one quick search on the internet, people can obtain thousands of hours of workout material for free. Some programs may need a paid subscription but there is an infinite amount of free material out for people to follow and use. Starting a workout program can be a highly daunting task, especially without any significant prior knowledge or experience of the workout material itself. As a physical therapist, I see a vast number of patients who present with over-training injuries or patients who have progressed the intensity of their workouts too rapidly and now have new injuries. Whether an individual is a workout novice or an experienced fitness professional I think these tips can apply to anyone to continue improving their physical fitness and obtain health goals. Read on to learn how to not make these fitness routine mistakes. 


The key element to obtaining any fitness goal is staying focused on the long-term objective. Scientifically, it takes greater than 8-9 weeks to add strength to our muscles. Any time duration less than this 8–9-week timeframe is a neurological change where our nerve fibers and nervous system is making adjustments to the new stimuli being introduced to the body. This is a relatively long time to stay focused and on pace to make long-term changes. If an individual chooses a workout program initially that is too difficult for their current fitness level, this is a long time to work without becoming burnt out or having too much fatigue where one workout might need to be skipped. This may then snowball into more workouts being skipped and unfortunately, the domino effect becomes too great to overcome.

Find An Activity Your Enjoy

Another aspect of training and physical fitness I think is vital to long-term success is to have a form of exercise that provides some form of enjoyment. For some this may be running, for others this may be yoga, while others may enjoy resistance training. Regardless of the form of exercise individuals should aim for something they find enjoyment in and enjoy the challenge of the workout itself. I have enjoyed bodyweight circuit training mixed with running longer distances throughout the week. Running is a challenge for me, a very hard challenge. I have started with low volume miles and have slowly progressed the mileage every other week to slowly make the distances longer to promote adherence to the training program.

Rest or Recovery Days Built In

Often overlooked and often surrounded by a large amount of controversy is taking ample rest time or days in between training sessions to maximize the effect of training. Rest and recovery are a topic that I do think deserve their blog to discuss the different viewpoints. In general, for those that are looking for ways to stay consistent with their workouts and obtain their goals taking the necessary rest days to let the body recover is very important. If an individual pushes through the soreness from two back-to-back workouts and then cannot move their arms and legs the following 3 days due to so much soreness, then the chances of staying with this program over the long term diminish greatly. So, I do very much think for the individual looking to stay consistent with exercise, listening to their body and preventing an exaggerated amount of soreness is key for long-term benefit.

In conclusion, the three biggest challenges I see individuals make when starting any form of fitness routine are the following. Hoping for success very early on and losing motivation, picking a form of exercise that is not interesting to the individual, and not utilizing enough rest or recovery days to allow the body to optimize its function and capabilities. Individuals should look into their specific routines to make sure they are not falling into any of these categories to maximize their potential!

If you are uncertain what the right program or place for you to begin might be, working with a Freedom Physical Therapy Services Therapist or Personal Trainer may be the right place.


Joe has a passion for treating the overhead athlete and ensuring safe movement patterns for these individuals. He spends his off time coaching and working with baseball athletes through STiKS Baseball Academy in Waukesha. He also coaches the varsity baseball team at Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha.