Category Archives: Gym Stuff

10 Biggest Gym Mistakes You’re Making

It’s easy to look around the gym and know right away who the “newbies” are…or do you? Some of us have perfected the correct methods of weight training, and yet some of us (who have been doing it for years) still aren’t doing it right!

Personal trainers are the best people to ask when it comes to mistakes at the gym. They see it every single day. In this post, hear from several top trainers from around the country on how to correct your mistakes and train like a pro.

Here are the 10 Biggest Mistakes:

1. Squats and Lunges That Make Granny Look Twice:

granny squat

According to Caitlin Ritt, private trainer at Sports Club/LA, “The biggest mistake I see people do over and over in the gym is squats and lunges with the weight in their toes and their heels coming off the ground,” she says. “I have clients come to me all the time complaining about knee pain, and as soon as I get them to keep the weight through their heels, almost always the knee pain goes away.” Correctly doing squats and lunges will not only prevent injuries, but will also engage your glute muscles. And that is the way to a firmer and tighter butt…which you better know the girls hardcore dig.

2. Doing the Same Routine Over and Over and Over:


Don’t just go to the gym on autopilot. “You need to mix it up in order to avoid boredom and plateauing,” says Liam Fairbanks, a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness/Seattle. Dedicate different days to focusing on a different aspect of your fitness routine and don’t be shy about trying new exercises, it helps rest overused muscles. There are plenty of apps on the market that can show you exercises you’ve never seen before. I use Fitness Buddy and that app seriously helped my body move to the next level.


3. Staying in the Sad World of the Machines:


Gyms are filled with rows of machines and often people think that’s all they should be using at the gym. “Machines are horrible,” says Tim Rich, a personal training manager at Crunch/NYC. “They push you through a guided plane of motion which could cause pain and injury.” Instead, “make your body a machine” by doing strengthening exercises that use your own body weight (like push-up and lunges) or entering the mighty world of free weights, or, if your gym has it, a TRX suspension system.


4. Lifting Too Much or Too Little Weight, Son:

dynamite legs


Lift too much and you risk injuring your body. Lift too little and you’re not going to see results. “By putting more weight on than you can control, you end up breaking form to complete the reps. This can lead to countless compensations and injuries within the body,” Caitlin says. “On the other end of the spectrum, I often see people sit on machines with too little weight. You want to maintain good form first and foremost, but it should also be a challenge to the body.” Challenge yourself with a weight where the last couple of reps are difficult to complete, while still maintaining correct form. If, however, you’re worried about doing an exercise incorrectly, then start at a lower weight on your first set in order to focus on your form and correct movement prior to adding more weight.

5. Getting All Mr. Speedy Gonzales Up In Here:

bad form everywhere

You’ve already committed to spending time at the gym, so why slack with a hurried routine? “People rush through exercises and don’t go through a full range of motion; therefore, they don’t fully benefit from the exercise they are doing,” Liam says. Instead of trying to get to the next part in your circuit, focus on the exercise you are doing to make sure you have proper form and are making it effective.


6. Looking Like Bieber:

justin beiber

Walking around like a humpback isn’t the best training method. “I often see shrugged shoulders and rounded back,” Liam says. Since it may be hard to remember to keep your shoulders down and back while you’re moving from exercise to exercise, trainers often use this tip explained by Caitlin: “Imagine a yardstick behind your back and at the base of your tailbone. If you maintain correct form, your tailbone, between your shoulder blades, and the back of your head should be touching the yardstick at all times. Roll your shoulders back, open your chest, think about growing tall and drawing your belly button toward your spine.” Or, try Tim’s trick: visualize keeping your shoulders “tucked in your back pocket,” he says.


7. Only Doing One Set And Expecting Results:


If you’re only doing one set per exercise, you’re wasting your time. “I often see people do one set of a bunch of different random exercises,” Liam says. To make the most of your workout, repeat, repeat, repeat. “It is important to do at least two to four sets of each exercise to fatigue the muscles to get better overall results,” he says. Personally, I always do three sets of each. I definitely feel it by the third set and at the end up my session my body lets me know I killed it.


8. Hitting the Gym Brutally Hard:

great workout

New Year’s resolutions, beach vacations, weddings, first dates – there’s always a new reason for wanting to get in shape. Just don’t be overzealous about how much your body can handle. “The all-or-nothing attitude can be very dangerous,” Tim says. “Hitting the gym so hard and obsessively that your body can’t cope with the added stresses can lead to injury.” Start slowly and safely if you took a break from the gym and are just getting back into it. The last thing you want is to injure yourself and be out of the gym for several months or more.


9. Only Focusing On the Muscles You Can See:

bicep day is every day

Strength training isn’t just about having six-pack abs. It’s important to work on the muscles you don’t see, especially if they are little used in real life. “Our society is very much about the ‘show me’ muscles [like abs, chest and biceps],” Tim says. “You need to provide your body with balance by hitting the “Go Me” muscles [like hamstrings, upper back, and inner glute muscles] equally” to develop power and to make sure you aren’t creating imbalances. There’s not much worse than a gym body that isn’t symmetrical.


10. Having Poor Body Awareness:


Not everyone has the time or the resources to hire a personal trainer to watch them exercise, but trainers see many people performing exercises incorrectly because they don’t know any better. “Books, magazines, and video exercise products are great, but most people have very poor joint awareness and coordination,” Tim says. Add that to the fact that most people sit at their desks all day and it makes for “deviations and imbalances that make it nearly impossible to safely execute the movement.” Even if you don’t want to hire a personal trainer, ask one for help if you’ve never used a machine or don’t know if your form is correct. “Trainers are there to help and should passionately do so,”Tim says.


Tristan "Lucky"

Written by: Tristan “Lucky”


Kill Your Gains With These 5 Mistakes

Ever wonder where the name Ripped Science came from? Building muscle and getting mad gains isn’t rocket science, but it’s actually bio-science. Today we’re going to help you learn 5 mistakes that are killing your gains.These mistakes are easy to correct, but only if you’re honest with yourself. So, pay attention!

Mistake Number One:
You’re Not Listening To Your Body

You’re about to sprint into the gym for a big chest day, but your triceps and front delts are hollaring at you from yesterday’s shoulder workout. You stayed up until the wee hours watching back-to-back episodes of Family Guy and you feel like the new member of The Hangover gang. What do you do?

Many #gymfreak4 life guys will hit it anyway. I mean, doesn’t everyone say, “No pain, no gain?” Which is true—to a point. There comes a time when you’re only stacking abuse on top of abuse.

You need to listen to your body and what it’s asking—or screaming at you. Maybe it’s saying that a day of straight-up, no-strings-attached rest is necessary.

Or perhaps it’s telling you that knocking against the ceiling of your abilities every day isn’t the way to go, and that a program with a bit more rest time is a better fit for your abilities and lifestyle.

Athletes learn and improve. You know who doesn’t? Injured athletes. Muscle tears, strains, and systemic over-training will all cost you time and muscle mass. Don’t give up performance in the name of ego! Trust me on this. Been there, done that.

Mistake Number Two:
Not Mastering Mind-Muscle Control


Maybe because of all the intense (and sometimes hilarious) faces that people make in the weight room, it can be easy to forget how much fun training actually is. It’s like a playground for adults, with every station offering a different adventure.

With so many options to choose from, it can be tempting to simply move from station A to B, push weights from points A to B, and trust Yoda that it’s working. If you’ve accomplished everything pages 42-45 of your muscle mag said to do, the workout was a success, right?

Yes and no. In reality, half the battle is the process. If you really think about each muscle fiber squeezing and contracting as you lift the weights, you’ll dial into the zone and work the muscles you aim to. You’ll maximize the time under tension (TUT), which is a proven way to grow. Allowing stronger muscle groups to take over a movement pattern is the fastest way to miss out on gains in the muscle you actually trying to target.

Learn how to really focus and tune in on a muscle, and you’ll see an instant boost in how your workouts feel and your body grows. May the force be with you!

Mistake Number Three:
Not Staying Accountable During the Weekend

Staying accountable during the week isn’t a problem. Most guys get into a scheduled routine that is relatively constant and can control when and what they eat, usually avoiding major diet no-no’s.

Then the weekend hits, and you find yourself out with friends putting back some cold ones with cheeseburgers and basket of loaded tots. Even if you just go out and “let loose” one evening each week, you can seriously set back your physique goals—especially if alcohol is involved.

A drink or two is one thing, but let’s get brutally honest: Getting straight-up drunk on a regular basis has no place in a serious athlete’s life. And if people are telling you that you have a problem, fact is, you probably do. Compromise happens in fitness and in life, but it’s still up to you to decide what’s most important to you.

Are you willing to sacrifice maximum gains in order to redefine a cheat day to meet your lifestyle? Or, is making the absolute most progress possible a top priority? If it is, then you’ll want to think about being the designated driver next time.

Mistake Number Four:
Overdoing Cardio to Stay Lean

A lot of people say you don’t need cardio at all and that setting foot on a treadmill or biking a trail is going to cost you gains and leave you skinny-fat. Eh, I’m not a 100% believer. Cardio does serve a purpose in most programs, but it’s definitely possible to overdo it, particularly if you do hours of it every week in order to “stay lean” while trying to bulk. You’re doing two different concepts: leaning out and bulking up. It’s like a gym comedy routine.

First, overdoing cardio training can dramatically decrease your energy to produce the growth stimulus you need during your lifting session. Remember, it’s TUT that really pushes muscles to grow and you need energy to produce it. And if you’re eating to build muscle, you especially need to maximize your strength training, otherwise; you set yourself up to add fat where muscle should be.

Second, too much cardio stacked on top of weight training can also cause your testosterone levels to drop. . . *gasp*. Men who have low T levels tend to maintain higher body fat levels and lower levels of total lean mass. Those are two mega strikes against overdoing cardio.

While trying to get mad gains, stick to high-intensity interval training for cardio—provided that it doesn’t interfere with your recovery. Save the low-intensity cardio for other training cycles throughout the year.

Mistake Number Five:
Under-Emphasizing Calories and Over-Emphasizing Protein

When someone tells their trainer that they’re struggling to add muscle, the immediate reply is to consume more total calories—a great suggestion. But in the quest to both stay lean and add mass, trainees too often try to perform an elaborate macro-nutrient dance where they shoot protein intake through the roof while cutting carbs and sometimes fat. Mucho bad idea, bro.

Too many people go to the gym and train hard, but don’t eat enough calories to support gaining muscle mass and size. I have fallen victim of this in the past while trying to keep my body fat low and abs showing. I would virtually strip out all carbs for long periods of time. All this did was kill all the gains I made over the previous few months.

There’s no denying the importance of protein in any mass-building diet, and sure, you’ll need more of this crucial macro-nutrient than someone who’s a couch potato. Just remember that carbohydrates are what the body uses as fuel while it works to assemble protein into new muscle tissues.

If you don’t have enough carbs, the protein you eat won’t be put to good use. Likewise, fats are required for optimal hormonal levels, and your hormones are the foreman of your body’s muscle construction crew.

So when aiming to build muscle, eat more of everything, not just more protein. Once you reach 1-1.25 grams of protein per pound, step back and make sure you do not neglect another macro-nutrient.

Tristan "Lucky"

Written by: Tristan “Lucky”

Shut Up and TRAIN: Gym No-No’s

For many of us, the gym is like a sanctuary – sacred ground. You walk in with a sense of reverence and respect as your mind and body become one in the zone.

You turn on your favorite pump music, grab a set of dumbbells, sit down to do an Arnold press and the guy next to you is on his cell phone talking to his bro about the girl he took home the night before. All of a sudden, your sacred temple turns into the gateway of hell.

Here are a list of gym etiquette so you respect a place that deserves respect:

1. Shut Up and TRAIN: Get off your phone. It is obviously not enough you’re glued to it 24/7. Pretty soon guys will start asking if they can legally marry Siri. Stop talking, stop texting, stop updating your facebook status, stop stalking your ex, stop watching cat videos. If you want to be on your phone ,there’s a place for that – OUTSIDE of the gym.

2. Stop Looking at Yourself and TRAIN: Sure, we realize there are mirrors everywhere. But, if you’re that one dude who stares at himself the entire time….you know, the guy who watches himself even while he is walking from one bench to another…it’s time to focus your attention elsewhere. Put your mind in your muscle, not on lusting after yourself. It’s fine to be proud of your body, but it’s another to be a narcissist about it.

3. Stop Taking Selfies and TRAIN: Yes, we have probably all been guilty of this at some point. I know I have. We like to have photos that show our progress and it isn’t a bad feeling to have positive comments on the web. The problem is when you’re taking multiple shots during one training session. Between sets you’re posing, not to practice for a competition, but for a photo.

4. Clean Up Your Sh*t and TRAIN: One of the worst things for me as a germ-phobe is getting to a bench that is still drenched in some other dude’s sweat. I’m glad you’re working hard and all, but the least you can do is wipe off the bench. Common gym courtesy. It is also logical not to make every bench turn into a slip-n-slide.

5. Re-rack Weights and TRAIN: I’m not one of the heaviest lifters at the gym, so when I go to do some chest presses, having 350 lbs on the bar for me is nothing short of a miracle. Then, on the flip side, I can’t stand it when I go to grab a set of 45’s and one is there, but the other one is on the floor, alone, sad, and solo. Not to mention, I wasted 5 minutes trying to find it.

6. Stop Staring and TRAIN: Obviously, there are usually some smoking hot gals training at the same time you’re there. It is natural to take a glance or two, but the long stare at the perfect curve of her a$$ isn’t helping your muscle gains, except for one. Plus, she’s there to train, not to have guys undress her with their eyes. Pay her respect and instead of staring, give her a compliment that is not sexually inappropriate.

7. Stop Clubbing and TRAIN: Pumping through your earbuds is your favorite tunes and sometimes you want to just sing along and break out in Michael Jackson “Thriller” moves. Hold it in, bro…hold it in. Remember that show ‘So you think you can dance?’ – ’nuff said. This also isn’t an audition for American Idol. I’m guilty of doing the head nod with each bass beat, but I’m not getting jiggy with it between sets or rapping Jay-Z at the cables. Save your mad skillz for Saturday night.

8. Stop Interrupting and TRAIN: There you are, on your 4th rep and some dude walks so close to you that you have to move over even though there is ample space. Speaking of space, ever heard of personal space? Then, that same guy, walks over to you on your 7th rep to ask if he can use your bench. If you’re that guy, take a clue. Give people enough space to train without having to move and don’t talk to them during sets. You can wait until they’re done.

9. Stop Stinking and TRAIN: To the dude who doesn’t wear deodorant, c’mon man…I need clean air to breathe. Nobody likes a gym skunk. I know after training hard we don’t smell like a bed of roses, but you can always quickly find the guy who just reeks like he hasn’t bathed in weeks and fell into a vat of cat urine. Respect the gym air and go clean thyself.

10. Don’t Drop-n-Scream and TRAIN: There is just nothing better than hearing a huge amount of weight hit the floor following by a loud scream of a caveman on hunt for Stegosaurus. It is distracting for everyone else who is trying to concentrate. You can’t help but break out of your zone and turn around making sure someone didn’t just drop the weight on top of their head. Don’t throw the weight down. Seriously. Just stop it already.

Thanks for reading! Now go TRAIN.

Tristan "Lucky"

Written by: Tristan “Lucky”