Exercise is no joke. It’s challenging and requires extreme effort. After you’ve put in your hard work, you want to see results. Unfortunately, bad workout habits can slow down — or even stop — your progress.

If you aren’t seeing the results you’ve wanted, chances are you’ve made one of these fitness mistakes. Here’s what to look out for:

You don’t have clear goals

Have you ever walked into a gym and mindlessly wandered from one random exercise to the next? We’ve all been there. This is extremely common. However, it is one of the worst workout mistakes you can make.

Without concrete goals, you have no way to define your progress. This is why following an exercise program is so helpful. Follow a when, what, and why approach with your workout.

Figure out when you’re going to exercise (and for how long!), what you’re going to exercise, and why you’re exercising.

What motivates you? Keep your goals in mind. If you do, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come!

bad workout habits

You’re not on top of your diet

When many people start exercising, they want to lose weight and lose it fast. As a result, many people eat far too little for their bodies.

This is a common fitness mistake I see with women. Unfortunately, if you’re caloric goals are too low, you’re more likely to binge and eat far too much when the opportunity presents itself.

Plus, you’ll be weak, and you won’t be able to work out to your full potential.

If you’re not sure about whether you’re eating enough, read this blog post to learn how to calculate your daily calorie intake.

You might have the opposite problem. Maybe you’re regularly eating or drinking too much. To see results (especially if you want to slim down), you need to curb mindless snacking and drinking. Try to be conscious about what you’re putting into your body! Save the treats for special moments.

In the past, I struggled with overeating and undereating.

Both hurt my body long-term and hindered my workout progress. You can read more about the mistakes I made during my fitness journey. Take it from me: nutrition is key to seeing and maintaining real fitness progress.

Finally, make sure you’re eating the food that’s right for your body. You should be eating a diet full of vegetables, healthy fat, and protein.

Also, did you know that your body type can determine what types of food are best for you? To figure out your body type, take my free body type quiz.  

bad workout habits

You aren’t getting enough rest

Sleep may not feel like a priority. You’re busy with a life to live!

However, I cannot stress the importance of sleep enough. Without enough sleep, your muscles cannot fully recover, and you won’t be able to give your best to your exercise.

Clearly, lack of sleep is a fitness mistake.

Additionally, sleep helps you manage your stress levels, and it helps keep your hormones in check.

Stress, hormones, and weight loss are connected. I’ve written more about my own story with adrenal fatigue, and how to combat negative stressors. Your body needs rest to function at its best.

Most experts suggest that you get 6 – 8 hours of sleep every night, but everybody is different. Try to aim for an amount that makes you feel alert throughout the day. It’s best to wake up and go to bed at the same time too.

bad workout habits

You’re building up your strengths, not your weaknesses

It’s human nature to do things that are comfortable to us. However, in the gym, sticking to what you’re good at is harmful. In fact, it’s a bad workout habit that you must avoid.

Your body requires new challenges in order to get stronger, leaner, and healthier. You might be a wonderful runner, but if you never try something else, your progress will suffer.

This workout pitfall is especially common among people that have been exercising for at least a few months. By this point, you know a variety of exercises and you know what you like to do.

This is another reason why working with a physical trainer or following a workout program is beneficial. Professionals will be able to objectively help you determine your weaknesses. You’ll be able to overcome them faster.

Remember, your body is connected. Eventually, your legs will need strong abs to perform a correct squat. When you’re pushing through exercises that you hate, know that you’re improving your entire self.

You stick to traditional cardio exercises

Maybe you don’t want to get bulky. Or maybe you just love cardio. Whatever your reason, it’s easy for women to avoid ANY type of resistance training or HIIT exercises in favour of cardio workouts.

Cardio has its place. If you read my post regularly, you know I’m all for doing cardio. It’s a great way to burn a lot of calories, and it helps your heart.

However, sticking to cardio alone is one of the fitness mistakes most people can make. Overdoing cardio can weaken your body and even lead to a stall in your weight loss regimen.

Instead of focusing on cardio alone, try incorporating multiple types of training styles into your routine.

If you don’t want to get bulky but aren’t sure what are your options, you can take a look at some of the HIIT and resistance training exercises that I do.

When you’re looking for a workout program, consider the types of exercises you’ll be doing. If it is just cardio, reevaluate your options.

bad workout habits

Related post: How To Lift Weights Without Getting Bulky

Your form is off

This bad fitness habit may be obvious, but it takes patience to avoid. When you’re learning a new exercise, take time to get it right. You can work on speed later.

Bad form hurts your muscles and joints. Your body will take longer to recover, and you might get injured, pushing your progress back even further.

Most of the time, performing an exercise with bad form is easier than doing it properly.

Bad form lets your muscles cheat, but good form requires you to use your muscles properly, and you’ll be able to see (and feel!) the results.

We all make mistakes, and we all have areas of improvement. The longer you stick to bad workout habits, the longer they’ll take to break.

Take the time to evaluate your fitness routine. Ask yourself what you’re doing right, and be proud of the hard work you’ve put in.

However, also consider what you need to improve and take the steps to get rid of your bad workout habits. You’ll thank yourself soon.

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

4 Responses

  1. Hi! I’ve recently done a few barre classes that have been heavily focused on glutes, core, and inner thighs. Super hard too! Would doing barre once a week be a good option of remaining lean instead of doing two heavy resistance leg days, and since barre works your muscles like to fatigue much like endurance/cardio with the high reps and pulses?

    1. Hi lovely,
      Barre classes can be great, but it depends on the teacher and the style of barre they do. It’s better than heavy weight training, but I would recommend avoiding too many squats and lunges.

      We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program.

      The program has been designed to include the perfect type of resistance training and cardio to give you a lean and toned look, without making you bulky.
      It’s an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).
      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.

      You can find out more about the Lean Legs Program here:

      Lean Legs Program

      For more helpful info please have a read of this blog post:


  2. I’m confused. You say, “However, sticking to cardio alone is one of the worst fitness mistakes most people can make. Overdoing cardio can weaken your body and even lead to a stall in your weight loss regimen.” but, I’m just doing walking programs (cardio) because you also said “In all my experience, the best exercise for getting rid of inner thigh fat is walking. Not running, swimming, cycling, elliptical, dancing, etc. WALKING.”.

    What am I supposed to do if I want to get fat off and slim my inner thighs without bulk? I’m an Endomorph, so what’s the additional exercise to all the power walking I’m doing?

    1. Hi lovely,
      I understand it can be confusing at times and yes, power walking is the best workout for slimming down your legs. I also recommend doing resistance training for toning up. Doing resistance training for your hips, butt and thighs will help tone up the entire area, and cardio will help slim down your legs and get rid of the excess fat.

      For more helpful info please have a read of these blog posts:


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