The 28 things I’ve learned in 39 years.


I turned 39 a few weeks ago and was asked if I was going to write a “40 things I’ve learned by 40” post. “HELL NO!” For 1, life is never that organized to teach you 1 thing a year (mine isn’t anyway) and 2, why wait for 40? There are sure to be a few you disagree with and probably some contradictions if you dig. If you do, I’d love to hear what you find. Also, while I consider these all to be true, some are comical and some will get dark. So fair warning. Here are the 28 things I’ve learned in 39 years:

  1. Having a backbone isn’t about aggression, it’s about character.
  2. There are 3 limitations in life. # 1 & 2, only you truly know. # 3 you’ll never know.
    1. Your imagination
    2. Your determination
    3. You lifespan.
  3. Don’t work for anyone but yourself. Work WITH others and be selective. This doesn’t mean you have to be self-employed, just make sure your value is understood.
  4. Bring value.
  5. When looking at past performance
    1. Past performance is the best indicator for future performance.
    2. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.
  6. Staying in a safe place makes you less healthy & fit. Progressing health & fitness makes you safer in more places.
  7. Choose quality over quantity. While this sounds cliché, it covers everything: Goals, friends, food, experiences, opportunities… I have yet to find the exception.
  8. Communication is paramount in all relationships. This has less to do about talking than you may think. Listening to understand others points of view is a skill that must be developed. Entertaining additional points of view should be practiced. (especially those opposed to yours)
  9. Those that often point the finger at others as “bad communicators” are typically bad listeners.
  10. There are only 3 times it’s appropriate to wear skulls on your/as clothes:
    1. You have earned them…
    2. They’ve been given to you as a gift…
    3. You’re at Comicon.
  11. Sex first thing in the morning is better than sex just before going to sleep.
  12. Those complaining about a lack of work/life balance need to work on the balance in their life.
  13. Regardless of what all the science & facts say; if something feels right, do it. If it feels wrong, don’t do it. Science once told us the world is flat, 9 out of 10 Doctors preferred Camel cigarettes, and the 4 minute mile was considered impossible.
  14. If someone is always looking over their shoulder, you shouldn’t feel comfortable with them standing behind you.
  15. Everything is negotiable.
  16. There’s a time to study the root and a time to gather the fruit. Get good at both.
  17. If you’re offended by something on the Internet, you deserve it.
    1. Probably true outside of the internet as well.
  18. There are a few phrases you should never say: The 2 most common are; “You don’t understand” & “I don’t care.” The first implies you fully understand the others entire existence. The second isn’t true if you took the effort to say it.
  19. Everyone has thought about suicide. Realizing this is true should provide hope during dark times.
  20. The world is a mirror; you get out what you put in.
  21. Reality TV is for suckers. Yes, that show too.
  22. Sugar is a drug and is much worse for you than marijuana.
  23. Put your grocery cart back. There may be an exception or 2 to this rule but if you’re trying to come up with them, the rule was written for you.
  24. Someday quickly becomes never. Either set a deadline or let it go.
  25. Anyone who says, “It doesn’t matter what you meant, it’s what you said.” Probably won’t ever say anything meaningful.
  26. If you borrow a car, return it with a full tank. Both literally and figuratively,
  27. Everything I need to know about life, I learned through marksmanship: Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Learn the fundamentals; focus on getting better at them. Then compress the fundamentals. If you try to be the “fastest gun in the west” you never will.
  28. If there is no risk involved, there is either no pay off or the venture isn’t completely understood.

Would love to hear your thoughts. Please share if you enjoyed it.

The 11 General Orders Of Health & Fitness

The 11 General orders of fitness.

These standards are meant to be a guide for conducting yourself in a fitness facility. They are based on the following 2 principles: 1.) Health & Fitness is a culture of self-efficacy & communal respect. 2.) Enjoy your journey.

Should the person(s) overseeing your facility have a rule that contradicts these, adhere or go elsewhere.

  1. Leave your ego at the door. It is your enemy in this environment.
  2. Know your goal. Have a time bound plan to achieve it. Be adaptable.
  3. Know the difference between training and competition. Listen to your body in training so you can use your body to win in competition.
  4. Respect all Athletes, Exercisers, Gym-goers, Trainers, & Coaches. Do not compare their goal or programs to yours.
  5. Be personally hygienic.
  6. If you don’t eat or sleep well, don’t expect to perform well.
  7. If you are/maybe contagious, stay home.
  8. Some equipment is meant to be dropped, some is not. Learn the difference.
  9. Curling in the squat rack is the equivalent to killing kittens. If a 9 year old does it, he will be talked to, guided to appropriate resources, and monitored. If an adult does it, they suck.
  10. Clean up & put your equipment away in its proper place. (This may not be where you found it.)
  11. Do not give the staff a hard time.

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Why you should make an effort to be healthier immediately.


You may have read that title & had a few reasons pop into your head that push it back to Monday… or next month… or … New Year’s is right around the corner. I mean, I’ve got a HUGE project going on right now… & my coworkers are going out for happy hour this friday… & I want to enjoy the holidays…

So let’s set the record straight: Health, fitness, & nutrition are all about getting more out of life. More joy, more experiences, more knowledge, more energy & yes… more time on this earth. So every excuse you just made is actually a reason in disguise.

Let me explain; Your primary purpose on this earth is to be the absolute best you that you can be. And NO ONE on this earth doesn’t want to be the best them they could be, right? This means the best son or daughter, brother or sister, significant other, partner, provider, contributor or (place the positional noun that you aspire toward here) that you can possibly be. Eating right with consistent activity can… nope… WILL make you a better you. So let’s look at why people make excuses.


Fear of failure, ridicule or simply not knowing what to do. First, do not be afraid of failure. It will happen everyday. I’m sorry if no one ever told you that but its true. Just accept that it will happen at some point & you will move on from it.You might skip a day at the gym, you might give in to that piece of pie for dessert. Don’t get hung up on it. Michael Jordan says that he owes his success to continual failure. Why? Because you can always learn more from a loss than a win. It should force you to analyze your game. What could you have done differently to be better? (The best ask that same question after a win) And when you do win, you won because you pushed yourself to failure over & over again when your competitor was sleeping in & eating bad food.

Fear of ridicule? You are simply putting too much stock in the opinion of people that don’t matter. If someone mocks you for putting sincere effort into becoming better, that person’s life is a wreck. I don’t say this to make you feel better. It is a fact. Understand that they are undoubtedly in such a sad state, they truly have so little real meaning in their life that you should feel pity for them. This doesn’t mean you should go it on your own. Find a support system. Build your schedule of going to the gym, stick too it & talk to people. If you don’t find supportive people, find a new gym. *Side note* This can be an important decision & should be considered. The big chains will have their “brands” so if you’re joining one consider whether or not it will fit you. Do they offer “Free Donut Friday”? (Yes, I’ve seen gyms do this & even heard the manager say he creating repeat customers) Do not go to this gym.This is where personal studios have an edge. Sure, they will tend to be more expensive but if you do your research & find a place that get people results, isn’t that worth it vs. paying the “fat tax” that most gym memberships end up being when the well intended members don’t go and pay for a year or more?

Now… what to do? Start with what you like: Basketball, shoot some hoops; Boxing, do some :30 rounds on a bag; can’t think of anything, take at least 20 minutes a day & walk around your neighborhood, the park or the local strip mall or plaza. I guarantee it will brighten your day & be something you look forward to. Do keep in mind your activity level over the past year & be smart. Don’t go for an olympic performance on day 1.

From the nutrition side; I get it! There is so much misinformation out there & much of it coming from seemingly reputable sources. Read something health & fitness related everyday. Stay away from magazines or any source that claims to be “all you need”, read SEVERAL different sources, vet your fitness professionals by asking for references & just make a commitment to learning about fitness & nutrition for the rest of your life.

So here’s the point, just start! You will fail & that’s not bad! Giving up on something that you want is bad, failure is the sign you need to lift your foot to the next step in the staircase. Ridicule? Walk on! You’ll make a new friend right down the street and they’ll be headed in the same direction. What to do? Stop reading this right now & go.

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18 Tips to Kickstart Your Morning Workout

Had the pleasure of doing an interview with Here’s the link, but you can read my blurbs below.

18 Tips to Kickstart a Morning Workout Routine | LIVESTRONG.COM#slide=3#slide=3 NoneNoneNoneNone

11. Force Yourself Out of Bed

If your alarm is right by your bed, you’re more likely to reach over and hit snooze repeatedly. “I set my phone’s alarm and put it in the bathroom — not next to my bed,” says personal trainer Shane Allen. “This means I physically have to get up, stumble into the bathroom and turn my alarm off. By then, I’m already up. Might as well stay up!” But don’t be too hard on yourself early in the morning. “Try to use an alarm note that is as un-alarming as possible, but will still wake you,” says Brandon Mancine, Texas-based NASM-certified personal trainer and Level 2 CrossFit coach “You want your movement to wake you, not a sense of emergency. This will spike your stress response and leave you sluggish the rest of the day.” Try an app like Wake Me Up or a device like Philips Wake-Up Light HF3550.

14. Ease Into Your Morning Workout

Your body has just been at rest for seven to eight hours; don’t force it into an intense workout right off the bat. “Don’t start with marathon sessions,” says personal trainer Brandon Mancine. “If you’re strength training, get a few (one to two) major moves in with one to two assistance moves and work your way up. For your cardio, start at about 50 percent. See how you feel the rest of the day. With both, make sure you allot time for warm-up and cooldown.” Or start even simpler from the comfort of your own home. “Start with a 10-minute workout you can do at home before work,” says Santa Barbara-based fitness trainer and motivational speaker Jenny Schatzle. “It’s proven that even 10 minutes a day changes your brain.” Try her 10-minute body-weight workout. Do each move for 45 seconds, write down how many you did, rest for 15 seconds and start the next movement: squats, push-ups, jumping jacks, triceps dips and crunches.

Goal setting 101


A recent study stated that 73% of gym joiners in January have a weight loss goal and over a 365 day period only 14% of those will succeed. Let’s talk about how to up the success rate. Without a doubt, setting the right goal is the most important part of your fitness journey. Read any piece about success; what it takes to get there, who did what & how. All will come back to some version of, “Start with the end in mind.” This makes overcoming obstacles along the way easier especially the more desirable the end result is.

Change is difficult. Very difficult. People make the decision to change when their current situation is more uncomfortable than their perception of the change. Since 2001 as a Fitness Professional, when I ask people any variation of, “What are your goals?” or “What are you training for?” The standard reply is…”Lose weight & tone up.” (LW&TU). If this is your goal I have one request; DO NOT join a gym. Let me explain why. Someone with a LW&TU goal wants their life to change, but they haven’t yet decided to change their life. If that last sentence didn’t click, read it again. I’ll wait.

So let’s look at something most can relate to; Consider two people who want financial success. One wants to, “Be rich”. The other wants a successful career in Law. The first commits to buying at least one lottery ticket every week and checking in on the numbers. The latter knows he is not where he wants to be and sets forth on a journey to find the missing links. He will meet new people, see and experience things he never imagined. He may also make missteps along the way but hopefully knows that is not just the cost of taking steps but a lesson in and of itself. The former will become entrenched in a community of shortsightedness and selfishness. Each ticket they buy moves them further into a position of entitled victimization that becomes harder and harder to return from.

It doesn’t mean they can’t be coaxed.

The fact is many will bring me the LW&TU goal over the next few weeks. To which I will reply, “Why?” This usually spirals into a cycle of generic answers vs. quick Why replies… like, “Because my doctor told me I have to lose weight” Or “So I can run a 5K.” Or “Because I want a six pack like (favorite celeb).” or any of the defensive BS that people put up, until I hear a little bit of truth. Something like, “Because I want to feel better!”

JACKPOT!!! Understand that this isn’t the total answer that I’m looking for. But it is the crack in the built up wall that can lead us to the truth. As soon as I hear anything along these lines, The tempo of the conversation changes. Instead of the sharp Why!?! replies, I let their statement sink in. I’ll then ask, “Can you tell me more about that?” “When is the last time you felt really good?” Or one of my favorites, “Paint me the picture of you feeling GREAT.” This is where they tell me about time playing with kids, activities with friends and experiencing LIFE! The life they want back! NOW, we can come back to their current positions and start building daily tasks to get from here to there. Now we build their plan.

This is where it gets really interesting. This is where they come back to me with “next level” goals. I’ve had people bring me, ‘Climb Kilimanjaro’,’Be a competitive Fencer’ or my personal favorite; ‘compete and place in Ballroom Dancing competitions’. This was a woman who had never taken an athletic venture in her life. 5 months after joining the gym she placed 2nd in her category. How many times in those 5 months did she step on a scale? 0. She felt better, she looked better, she had more confidence; so who gives a shit what the scale says. By the way, when she finally did step on a scale, the BMI charts scored her as over weight. But the beautiful part was she no longer cared. She was too busy becoming what she wanted to be. I should also note that her Doctor was amazed at the up turn in all her health markers.

Now, to come back to your goal for this year; close your eyes, picture 10, 20 or 30 years from now. Who do you want to be? Get that crystal clear picture. Then start your plan.

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Is Less Really More?


I keep hearing, “Less is more” and WANT to agree with this statement but kept feeling like there’s more to it (ironic, I know). Left to just, “Less is more” most would have more questions. I know I did.

So today I was reading an article on “11 Simple Concepts to Become a Better Leader” and saw the epiphany inducing quote by Milton Glasser… “Less isn’t more, just enough is more.” The concept of less being more allows people to continue to believe that starving themselves is making them healthier or that they need to give up a happy life for a healthy one; when any sane healthy person knows that getting more out of life is THE driving force behind health and fitness.

So I wanted to come up with a concept that would help people make better decisions as they look to get healthier. And I had this idea in my head that makes SO MUCH SENSE… to me. But, as I’ve passed the advise on it’s taken as a clichéd note. So I wanted to define it as clearly as I can, word by word:

Living Lean Helps You Live Lean.

Living – Life. The day to day. Day in and day out of the same thing. This patterned monotony often drives us to “retail therapy”. A quick fix to make us feel like we’ve accomplished something. What we are really doing is just filling a void. A void that is rooted in depravity and truly healed setting a goal that you are committed to. Something that, maybe scares you a bit but also stirs a passion in you.

Lean – Minimalism. You don’t go without, you hack away the unessentials to life. You rid yourself of the deadweight in life that slows you down. You don’t hunger for consumptive possession. You look to create something; an experience of a homemade meal that the whole family is part of, a project that you and your daughter work on that becomes her first car, and the goal you set doesn’t take away from the important parts of your life (career, family, social, etc) but fits within them and possibly connects them even more.

Helps – Teaches. These choices put you in positions where you build experience. Where you learn exactly what you are truly capable of. You learn that when all else fails, you won’t.

You – This one should be the easiest, right? Maybe. You at your core. I heard John Wooden say that, “Your reputation is who you are perceived to be, your character is who you really are.” ‘You’ is your character.

Live – Thrive. This is not “maintaining life”. This is L-I-V-I-N, LIVIN’!!! When you go to work on Monday, the rest of the office can’t wait to ask you, “What did you do this weekend?” ‘cuz you’re the guy who always has the amazing answers.

Lean – Healthy. Mind, body and soul. We’ve all felt one or more of these parts of our life cluttered at one point or another. Lean is not cluttered. Lean is functioning at full capacity and loving every minute of it.

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The Best Workouts for Sexual Stamina

This was an interesting interview. Often, when people seek out a Trainer or Coach, “getting some” is high on the list of goal. As I said in my contribution to the article (#2) you should view it as an athletic event you can get better at.

The Best Workouts for Sexual Stamina. by Astroglide.

Imagine that the thing you want most in the world is at the top of a steep mountain. You lace up your hiking boots, strap on your backpack and set out to reach the summit with a smile of iron-willed determination. The climb gets steeper, but you persevere. The rocks under your feet crumble and you slip backwards, but still you push on. The air grows thin and just as it seems the thing you want most in this world, the thing at the top of the mountain peak, is within reach, your lungs give out and your knees buckle. You slide backwards, trip and tumble until you’re back at the bottom of the mountain with no backpack, one hiking boot and zero energy to try again. Now imagine the thing at the top of the cliff is an orgasm.

Reaching the heights of sexual pleasure can sometimes seem impossible, especially if your own body is working against you. Luckily, there are steps you can take to sexercise your way to better sexual stamina. We asked sex, health and fitness experts which workouts they recommend to clients who want to have sex longer, stronger, and well, just plain better. Here’s what they had to say:

5 Exercises for Sexual Stamina

  1. Make it Bounce. The workouts you do to increase sexual stamina don’t have to be boring. In fact, Sex Therapist Jacqui Olliverrecommends one that you’ve probably loved since you were a kid — jumping on a trampoline. “Rebounder bouncing, or bouncing on a mini trampoline, increases blood flow to all areas of your body and strengthens your lower body support muscles including your pelvic floor, abdominals, hips, thighs and lower legs,” says Jacqui.

“Rebound for 10 minutes a day to enhance your overall health and sexual fitness.” Feel a little silly bouncing around? Set up your trampoline in your TV room and bounce while you watch your favorite show — or watch music videos and jump along to the beat!


  1. Focus on Strength. According to Personal Trainer and Nutritionist Brandon Mancine, “There are 10 physical skills that can be developed to enhance performance. Of the 10, strength has the greatest carryover to every other skill. So if you’re looking at sex as an athletic performance (and you should, for you and your partner’s sake) work on pound for pound strength. This type of training also happens to elicit a hormonal response that will increase sex drive so its a win all around.”

Which exercises does Brandon recommend for building strength? “Squats will have the greatest effect on total body strength, kettlebell swings are a great addition as well for a easy to do anywhere strength, power, endurance workout (good hip action too!)” You can do these in the TV room too, but we definitely recommend swinging the kettlebell AWAY from your flatscreen.

  1. Stretch It Out. Ever wonder why dancers have a reputation for being great in bed? Donna Flagg, the creator of Lastics, credits it to the flexibility that comes from consistent stretching. “I’ve had many students tell me, (very surprised) that their sex lives improved from my stretch classes. And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Stretching (if you’re doing it right) not only creates flexibility but also control in the muscles, particularly in the pelvis.” Try Lastics for yourself, or create your own stretching in the morning or before and after your regular workouts.
  2. Practice Second Position. Jennifer McCamish is a former Radio City Rockette, personal trainer and owner of Dancers Shape, a barre and Pilates studio in Austin, Texas. She agrees that when it comes to improving sexual stamina, you can learn a lot from professional dance. “The stronger and more flexible you are around the hip joints, the easier it is to spice up your sex life by exploring different positions that might normally be difficult to get into or hold for an extended period of time,” says McCamish.

To help achieve these goals, she recommends getting into second position. “Bend your knees as low as you can without letting your shoulders collapse forward or your tailbone stick out. Engage your abdominals back towards your spine and pull your ribs together so you are supported through your lower back. Begin to dip one inch down and lift one inch up and feel the weight in your heels with light toes. With each lift, exhale and feel the area between the sits bones and pubic bone pull together and upwards.

According to McCamish, “This exercise will work the most critical muscles needed for enjoyable sex, the pelvic floor, while at the same time stretching and strengthening the inner thighs, glutes, quads and knees to help you conquer more exciting and adventurous sexual positions. It also builds body awareness so you know what muscles to activate for a more intense climax.” Sounds like it’s worth a try to us!

  1. Pace Yourself. Want to know how to have better sex? One of the easiest changes you can make is varying your pace. Alternate between faster, more forceful thrusts and slower, more sensual moves. This will help with sexual stamina by making it easier to stretch out sessions, and it’ll also build up your sexual energy so when you orgasm you REALLY orgasm.

Fitness Trainer and Health Coach Clint Fuqua says a great way to work on switching it up is to do sprints and HIIT (high intensity interval training). “Even if you’re going for a marathon session in the sack, you’ll need to be able to go from slow to fast pace over and over again. The best way to keep your body from giving out before you get off is to make sure it can handle all the ups and downs for as long as you want to go or until that little blue pill loses effectiveness.” The more you practice sprints and other cardio of the HIIT variety, the easier time you’ll have!

Any of these moves will help you sexercise your way to increased sexual stamina, and the more work you put in outside the bedroom, the easier it’ll be to put in work inside. But keep in mind that your overall performance level is affected by other habits and choices too! Here are just a few more things you can do to keep yourself at peak sexing shape:

  • Stay hydrated throughout the day
    Limit your alcohol before sessions
    ●      Eat a balanced diet full of whole foods
    ●      Limit your refined sugar intake
    ●      Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
    ●      Take a daily multivitamin
    ●      Limit smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke
    ●      Remember to slow down, switch positions and change things up

Remember that above all, sex should be fun! So if you’re straining and struggling don’t be ashamed to take a break or suggest a different position, or to break open that free sample of Astroglide to cut down on the friction. Anyone who isn’t understanding and accommodating isn’t worth doing all that sexercise for anyway.

Have you tried any of the moves we mentioned? Have your own unique tip for increasing sexual stamina? We’d love to hear it — tweet us @Astroglide and share your thoughts!

Are You Overtraining? Here’s How to Tell:

Overtraining. 10 years ago it was the buzzword that kept a lot of people from seeing results. Now it’s almost a goal for some. As if their effort is the payoff in gym regardless of results (I’ve seen plenty of people bragging about injuries from “going so hard”) Others state that there are only a few people in the world that are capable of overtraining. If you think this is the case, then start squatting now and don’t stop until I personally tell you to… like face to face.

So, are you overtraining? Here’s how to tell: Does your exercise program make your life more difficult? If yes, then you are overtraining.

This does not mean that being sore is overtraining. If you are looking to compete in a bodybuilding or figure competition then you have accepted what comes with it… ALL that come with it (the muscle stiffness that comes from hypertrophy) and you will have some rough days. But you’re an adult and that is your choice. If you have decided to train for athletic competitions, Crossfit style or OCR then you can expect some bumps and bruises, because that’s what comes with these competitions. These are a sport and just like any other and again, being an adult, you need to take ownership of that.

Now, if your goal is to increase longevity and quality of life because you want more energy and to spend time with your family, but you can’t walk for 3 days after you workout, then you may not be getting what you want from exercise. So make sure you’re putting the right effort and resources into it. You should feel that there is change happening in your body and you should be progressing but ultimately health and fitness is about getting more out of life.

Put in work. Eat for fuel and recovery. Learn something new. Have some fun. Get some sleep. Repeat that 90% of the time and you are a fit and healthy person.

Don’t Be a Dumbbell: Avoid These 11 Common Gym Mistakes

Written by Amy Roberts.

Trainers see just about everything when it comes to bad gym behavior, from moves that put muscles and joints at risk to careless habits that endanger the health of others (or simply annoy them).

SafeBee asked several trainers about the most common mistakes they see, and for their advice on how to stay injury — and embarrassment — free at the gym.

Mistake #1: Engaging in boot-camp madness

You’re pumped you made a commitment to get fit, and you can’t wait to crush your first workout. But do too much too soon, and at the very least you’ll be very sore. “Two-a-days and high-intensity boot camps are for sports and the military, not for building a solid base of a healthy life and body,” says Dallas-area fitness trainer and health coach Clint Fuqua, NASM-CPT. “Simply surviving a workout is not the way to increase health for the long term and will normally leave you on injury reserve, getting depressed and fat on the couch.”

Mistake #2: Diving in without warming up

You want to get in and out of the gym in the most efficient way possible. But don’t just go full-swing into yourkettlebell swings or strength circuit or sprint intervals without first priming your muscles for the demands you’ll be making on them. “I rarely see anyone do anything related to a warm-up: no foam rolling, no stretching, let alone a dynamic warm-up,” says Henry Halse, CSCS, ACSM-CPT, a trainer in Philadelphia. Spending a few minutes doing arm circles, leg swings, and a few warm-up squats, for example, can save you pain and possible injury later.

Related: Injury-Proof Your Exercise Resolution

Mistake #3: Believing the calorie burn on the screen

Cardio machines display all sorts of numbers: distance traveled, speed, heart rate. And every gym-goer’s fave: calorie burn. Sad news: This number could be inflated — by up to 42 percent, according to one report.

Mistake #4: Sticking to all cardio, all the time

Access to treadmills and ellipticals may have been your impetus for joining the gym, but don’t get cardio tunnel vision. “If you do the same aerobic workout every day, your body will adapt and you won’t see the changes you want,” says Kate Vidulich, ACSM-CPT and the founder of Mixing up your routine is essential to keeping your muscles — and you — from getting bored.

Be sure to also lift weights or do some other form of resistance training, especially if you want to maximize your calorie burn even after you leave the gym (this is known as the after-burn effect). “Strength training increases basal metabolic rate (BMR) meaning you use more calories to live,” says San Antonio-based personal trainerBrandon Mancine, NASM-CPT.

Related: How to Stay Germ-Free at the Gym

Mistake #5: Lifting weights that are too light

“Women in particular tend to underestimate their lifting ability, and therefore never reach their full training potential,” says Vidulich. “Why? They don’t want big muscles. But lifting light weights for a billion reps won’t create the intensity required to get any noticeable results.” How do you know that you’re properly loaded? If you can do 10 reps and feel like you could do easily do five or more additional ones, you gotta go up. Ideally, you should have just enough gas to maybe churn out two or three more.

Mistake #6: Lifting weights that are too heavy

Overloading yourself is a bad idea, too, and a recipe for injury. “Not everyone has the biomechanical or neuromuscular structure to control heavy squats or bench pressing, so don’t put square pegs in round holes,” says Marc Megna, CSCS, an NFL player turned strength coach and co-founder of Miami’s Anatomy at 1220. “There are regressions, progressions, and alternatives for every exercise. The goal of every training session should be to be able to perform the next training session.” If you’re not sure how to choose the right weight or exercise for you, ask a trainer.

Related: Can’t Get Into the Exercise Habit? Try this Trick

Mistake #7: Ignoring your form

How you perform an exercise is as important to your wellbeing as getting to the gym in the first place. Bad posture, incorrect or incomplete range of motion, and compensating with one muscle when you’re looking to work another — all of these mistakes not only sacrifice the quality of your workout but increase your risk of injury. “For strength training, I tell my clients: Learn the movement, then challenge the movement,” says Mancine. This often means literally going through the motions with no weight at first.

Mistake #8: Zoning out on cardio machines

Bad form can happen on cardio machines, too. It’s easy to just let the machine chug along and not watch your posture, or worse. “I can’t tell you how often I see people on stepmills looking to work legs and butt, hunched over in a posture that makes it impossible to fire their glutes fully if at all,” Mancine says. Never hold on to a cardio machine unless it’s designed for you to do so (like ellipticals with moving handles), and look straight ahead — not up at a TV or down at your magazine — to avoid neck troubles.

Mistake #9: Not consulting a pro

For some reason, people are unlikely to ask for help or advice from the trainers at the gym. (Educated guess: They’re worried she’ll try to hard-sell them to buy sessions.) Instead, they watch other gym-goers to get ideas, or chat with the lifter on the bench next to them. “Commercial gyms are also universities of ‘broscience,’” Halse says. “When someone has a question, everyone instantly becomes a fitness/nutrition/rehab expert and gives their two cents — it makes me cringe.” First, the advice might be flat-out wrong, and second, what might work for one person’s body or goals may not work for another’s. Many gyms offer complimentary training sessions when you sign up. Take advantage. Ask lots of questions. (And have your “thanks but no thanks” speech ready for the sales portion, if need be.)

Related: How to Avoid a Treadmill Accident

Mistake #10: Not dressing for success

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it happens. “Booty shorts and flip-flops both have their place and it’s not in the gym,” Fuqua says. “Leave the beachwear in the bag and come to the gym dressed to train so you can look great at the beach later.” That means, ideally, wearing clothing made of performance material that wicks sweat away from your skin and dries quickly, and choosing appropriate shoes for your activity.

Mistake #11: Being a slob

Do your part to keep this shared space tidy. Follow the rule kids are taught in kindergarten: If you use it, put it away. And that’s not all. “I get it — working out is sweaty business. But not wiping down the equipment or cleaning up after yourself really gets up my nose,” says Vidulich. “Please use a towel!” Wiping down surfaces before and after you touch them is also a good way to avoid getting sick at the gym.

Amy Roberts is a certified personal trainer. She writes about fitness, health and a variety of other topics for many well-known publications.

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