Top 3 Fitness Mistakes I See As A Trainer


Whether you are new to the fitness game or a long-time vet, you may not be seeing the results you’ve worked for. You may think you’re doing everything right by kicking butt in the gym and properly meal planning in the kitchen, but as a trainer, I see common mistakes all the time with my clients. To help get you back on track to meeting your goals, I am going to lay out the top 3 fitness mistakes that I see as a trainer, and detail what you can do to fix them!


Mistake #1: Eat Less & Workout More

This right here is one of the most common mistakes I see when new clients come to me after trying to lose weight on their own. Most people like to think that if they eat less, cut out carbs and exercise more they will lose weight in a short period of time. The problem with this approach is that it simply doesn’t work. Yes, it’s true that this approach might have worked for a short amount of time but in the end, what happens when your body will no longer respond to the severe calorie deficits and high intensity workouts? 

With the extreme “eat less and workout more” approach, our bodies start to show signs like insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, depression, stomach problems and brain fog because our bodies don’t have enough fuel to function properly. When a severe calorie deficit is accompanied by excessive exercise, our bodies start to go into survival mode.  It will start to send signals to your brain informing it that you’re not getting enough food, which may cause an increase in appetite leading an individual to “binge eat.” Second, it will start to slow down your metabolism to help conserve the fuel it has left because it is not sure when the next available food source is going to be supplied. 

The Fix: Say Yes to More Food! 

Yes, you read that correctly! It’s important to create a calorie deficit to lose weight but one that is going to supply and support your body. We want to focus on eating “high nutrient” based foods while still being in a safe calorie deficit. Your daily food intake should include lean proteins, carbs and healthy fats. With this approach you will lose weight at a slower rate, but you will be able to build a healthy lifestyle and increase your quality of life.


Mistake #2: Overtraining

When it comes to fitness and working out there is logic that goes behind how to efficiently get results. When individuals decide to start their fitness journey most have the mindset of “get in as much as possible” and perform lots of cardio. Or they have no clue how to build a workout, so they just put random exercises together that they got off the Internet.  

Not having a routine gets people into trouble when it comes to working out. Working on the same muscle groups or constantly just doing cardio will have you in a fitness rut. Your body will start to become tight in certain areas, which can lead to exhaustion and injury. The body needs rest between workouts to help healing, muscle repair, fitness development and adaptation. 

The Fix? Separate Your Workouts!   

Incorporate both strength and cardio workouts. Strength training is highly effective for improving functional capacity, as well as for enhancing quality of life. 

The best plan is always to train smart and that includes everything from getting your warmup right, focusing on certain muscle groups at a time, to cooling down properly. Programming is necessary and so are rest days. Most training professionals lift 3-4 times per week at a maximum. They get results because they know the importance of rest and recovery. 

Start by planning out how many days a week you can commit to working out and schedule each day for a separate workout. 


Mistake #3: The Number on the Scale

As a trainer, this is a common mistake that I experience with the majority of my new clients. They jump on the scale every morning to see how much they weigh, and that number determines their mindset and mood. They start to lose confidence in themselves for working so hard with seeing little to NO CHANGE. 

They start to obsess over the number to the point that they don’t want to continue working out or they decrease their food intake, which starts to compromise their quality of life. One thing we need to focus on when it comes to the number on the scale is that your body composition is changing from the regular practice of strength training and that human body weight fluctuates daily. Sometimes your weight can change due to water retention, hormones or even excessive salt intake.

We also have to remember that our weight isn’t the only factor of our health and how we should view ourselves when it comes to fitness. 

The Fix? Track Your Progress!

Find other sources of monitoring progress.  Finding other ways to measure progress and feeling confident is key throughout your fitness journey. Here are a few ways that I recommend measuring progress without having to step on the scale:

  1. Progress pictures are king! Allowing you to SEE the change in your body.
  2. How your clothes fit! Your clothes start to feel a bit looser.
  3. Measuring inches! Loss of inches occurs even without the scale moving.


If you have read this far, it’s likely because you have made some of these mistakes yourself and you were hoping to have some misconceptions clarified.  Often times trainers make it seem as though there is a specific, “Right way” to achieving results and although there are many different approaches to diet and training, avoiding the common mistakes mentioned in this article will save you a lot of potential problems and will ensure that you are progressing at a pace that allows for steady progression while optimizing health and wellness at the same time.


About Your Author:


Katelynn Van Engelen, is a long-time ambassador with #TeamReflex, a Certified Personal Trainer, Holistic Nutritional Consultant and owner of KM Fitness & Nutrition from Calgary, AB. 

If you have any fitness questions, be sure to reach out to Katelynn via her website or Instagram.

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