The High Performance Journal

Workout Mistakes I Made In My 20's That I'm Avoiding In My 40's

4 minute fridays Nov 14, 2023

The High Performance Journal - November 14th, 2023

I've been working out and coaching for 20+ years and I've done a lot of things.

I've bought the workout contraptions you see on infomercials. I've tried almost every workout known to man. I've even done Zumba (but that was for charity).

This is all to say that I've made a lot of mistakes. Some of which I'm not too proud of. Not Zumba though. That was not a mistake It was quite a good experience.


As the saying goes,

"A smart person learns from their mistakes. A wise person profits off of the mistakes of others."

My hope for you is that you live a long life and keep working out well into your centenarian years.

I want you to enjoy using the gym as a way to build yourself up.

So in today's article, I want to share with you mistakes that I've made in my 20's that I'm avoiding in my 40's.

Heed these in your workouts and your body will thank you later.

Workout Mistakes I Made in My 20's That I'm Avoiding in My 40's

  1. Ego lifting. No one cares how much weight you lift in the gym more than you do. Use proper form & stop lifting weights to impress others you don't care about.

  2. Not eating enough protein. We lose 3-5% of muscle every decade and this rate accelerates after 60. If you want to build & maintain muscle you want to get at least .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Here's a great list of protein sources I recommend.

  3. Not drinking enough water. Water makes up 76% of muscle mass. Aim to drink half an ounce to an ounce of water per pound of body weight. Add a pinch of sea salt or electrolyte powder to increase your rate of hydration.

  4. Not putting enough time into the warm-up. The warm-up is a crucial part of the workout to prep your body and avoid injury. The truth is most people don't even know how to warm up properly. You want it to mobilize your body while prepping your nervous system. It only takes 6 minutes and it makes your body feel great. 

  5. Not tracking my workouts. What you measure is what you manage. The best way to improve is by tracking what you've lifted. One of the best things I've done is track my workouts using the (not sponsored).

  6. Bringing my phone to the gym. Scrolling on the phone makes my workouts longer & less focused. It's also been shown to hamper your performance. Use a journal or get an Apple watch to track your workouts.

  7. Doing fasted training. We perform much better with food in our stomachs than without. You'll get a better workout when you eat something as opposed to eating nothing.

  8. Not prioritizing my sleep. Sleep is the #1 performance-enhancing drug without all the side effects. Sleep helps your body recover, which helps it build muscle. Sleep regulates your hormones, which help regulate your appetite. If you want to learn how to improve your sleep habits use this guide as your sleep manifesto. 

  9. Not having a plan. A goal without a plan leaves you directionless. You want to know exactly what you're doing when you enter the gym. If you want to get lean you want to gameplan before dieting. Having a plan is better than not having a plan.

  10. Not learning how to breathe and brace. When lifting you want to create intrabdominal pressure through your breath. This fills up air in your stomach creating more "pressure". Then you want to brace your core by pushing it out. This is needed when lifting heavy weights to protect your spine. Here's a video posted to Twitter on how to do it.

  11. Thinking cardio was for fat loss. Conditioning (aka. cardio) is about training your cardiovascular system (heart, blood vessels, and lungs). Better cardio improves your VO2 max and capillary network while helping you have more robust heart, lung, and blood vessel systems. All of this helps you while you're lifting but, most importantly, helps you live longer.

  12. Believing cardio was either zone 2 cardio or HIIT when it's both. When you do HIIT you're training your max power output and your ability to handle working out at a maximal intensity. Zone 2 cardio is working on your heart, blood flow, stroke volume, and the mitochondrial system. You want to find ways to incorporate both into your life.

  13. Thinking running is the only form of cardio. The most enjoyable form of cardio is the one you can stick to the most. You can get your cardio doing pickleball, swimming, or anything else that keeps your heart pumping. Running is great but you don't have to run to improve your cardiovascular system.

  14. Always changing my workouts. Getting strong and building muscle is about doing the same workouts over & over while getting stronger at them. You'll get much farther by getting stronger by doing the same workout for 90 days straight rather than constantly changing your workouts.

  15. No mind-to-muscle connection. When lifting you need to focus on the muscles you're using to get the most out of them. This is especially true for muscles that are largely dormant like your chest, glutes (due to desk work), and back.

  16. Not using any machines. Machines are one of the best ways to take your body close to failure without wrecking your joints. A great workout incorporates a blend of both machines and free weights.

  17. Doing core work before my workouts. Your core is used in almost every movement in the gym. You want them to be fresh for whatever you throw at it. Leave them to the end of your workouts so you get the most out of your lifts.

  18. Doing the wrong core exercises. I used to think that the core was just the abs but it's much more than that. If you want a strong body you want a strong core. Here's an article on 3 exercises that might help.

  19. Using the gym as a way to "punish" myself for what I ate. Using a gym as a way to make up for your eating is a great way to ruin your relationship with it. Use it as a place to build yourself up. Do not torture yourself.

  20. Not getting a coach sooner enough. I have coaches when it comes to my business, my finances, and my relationships. They help me get from where I am to where I want to be sooner than doing it on my own. If you lack in any area of your life (especially health) invest in a coach. You won't regret it.

Profit From My Mistakes

I've spent a good portion of my life training and coaching and these are a few of the mistakes I've made. Trust me when I say there are more but we would not have enough time for all that.

Your job is to take this list, circle the ones you're currently doing, and eliminate them.

It's as profitable to know what to do as well as what NOT to do. Now you've got a list of them to avoid so you can keep lifting until you're 100+ years old.

Onwards and upwards 🚀

- Dan


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