12 bad habits you need to kick to get better in the gym

I suck at singing, so I don't sing around friends - I don't even sing solo in the shower or the car. I suck at dancing, so I stick to weddings after several hearty toasts to the bride and groom when it will become a hazy memory in the morning.

Do you suck at the gym? You might, if:

1. You don't warm up

I recently saw a guy enter the gym and go straight into full range glute hamstring developer (GHD) sit ups – risking his lower back and spine health. To warm up, do some dynamic stretching and get your heart rate up. You'll get better workouts in while avoiding physio visits.

2. You don't wipe

On the toilet you know the drill, but why not in the gym? If you're leaving bodily fluids on equipment, don't forget to wipe for other users that aren't keen to absorb your sweat on their clothes. Be polite, be clean, and there's less chance gym equipment will be dirtier than toilet seats (sadly a scientific fact).

3. You don't have a plan

Are you leaning up, adding bulk, or building strength? For every fitness goal, there's a journey, and that journey requires a plan. Get a personal trainer or do some serious fitness research online.

4. You use poor form

It pains me watching curved spines during deadlifts - but, it's your pain. Good health requires good form whether you're biking, running, pushing, or pulling. Save your back, improve your posture.

5. You use the worst machines

The leg extension, leg press, seated chest press, and seated ab crunch machines are near useless and can be dangerous. Squats, push ups, and an array of ab exercises on the floor trump being boxed in a machine when it comes to efficiency and safety.

6. You repeat workouts with no results

"The definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

7. You negate a workout with poor nutrition

If you end a morning workout with a muffin and smoothie loaded with sugar; if you end an evening session with fast food and a six-pack of beers, you're pouring sand into the petrol tank of a Ferrari.


8. You're attached to your smartphone

If you're tending to your body, your mobile has no reason to follow you into the gym. Sure, some fitness apps require attachment, but a phone is more a distraction of potential work calls-messages-emails, app notifications, and messages from friends. Leave the phone in the locker room and workouts become efficient.

9. You're in love with yourself

Wanting to look good and a splash of vanity gets a free pass. But your love affair with the mirror and the endless instagram body shots and workout pics? Well, you might be a wanker.

10. You don't do weights

I get it – we don't do what we don't like to do. But you've got muscles, so use them with weight bearing movements. From free weights to machines to TRX to bodyweight movements – they all strengthen joints, muscles, and bones. It's not about "how much do ya bench" but rather the strength and health of your musculoskeletal system.

11. You don't go outside

I often see a regular at my gym walking 4kms/hr on the treadmill while staring at Sydney Harbour – day after day after day. Why not get out there? Outdoor cardio sessions are more effective than the treadmill, and by adding the sun, fresh air, and movement by the water, an outdoor session is great for the body and soul.

12. You don't do a thing

You skip the gym and hit the couch, and then cash in your superannuation early to pay for weight loss surgery – an ever increasing (and sad) trend in Australia.

If you're reading this while nodding your head, that's great. Acknowledgement is the first step towards lifestyle change and sucking less. After all, getting better at the gym isn't a cheeky matter – it means a healthier Australia.

Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his "Cut The BS" diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.

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