Before you blame genetics, “big bones” or think you must force yourself to like being plus size – ask yourself if you’re making any of these gym mistakes.

Spending too Much Time Doing Ab Exercises

If you want to lose a chunky stomach, you need to create a job opening for all its stored fuel (fat).

Working the tiny muscles of the midsection won’t create this opening. Only when you hit the LARGE muscle groups (butt, legs, back, chest) will your body go into an energy deficit, for which stored body fat will be used for recovery.

Going Through the Motions with the Weights

You may already be doing the best fat-burning exercises with weights – but if the resistance is too light, you won’t create that energy deficit, nor will you add enough lean muscle to perk up your resting metabolism.

Spending too Much Time on Cardio Machines and not Enough Time Lifting Weights

Spend as much time strength training as you do on cardio, and spend as much time on cardio as you used to with the weights – and see what happens.

Thinking Long Slow Cardio will Get the Job Done

Long duration aerobics is INFERIOR to high intensity interval training – on every level – including fat loss, improvement of cardiovascular health, increased energy and time savings.

Holding onto the Treadmill

Stop this already. When the body is forced to adapt to a challenging stimulus, more fat is burned.

When you hold onto a treadmill, there’s nothing to adapt to, because it’s easy to walk while holding onto something. Here’s 10 reasons to get your hands off the treadmill.

Hugging the Revolving Stair Case Rails

If it’s too hard to let go, then set the speed slower. Step upright, like you would on a real staircase. This will improve balance, engage more muscles including the core and ultimately burn more fat.

Avoiding Certain Exercises Because You Think They’ll Bulk You Up

The very exercises you think might bulk you up are the very exercises that are great fat-burners. I recommend including the following in your regimen:

• Squat
• Leg press
• Bench Press
• Incline dumbbell press
• Seated row
• Lat pull-down
• Standing overhead barbell press
• Seated overhead dumbbell press

Not Lifting Heavy Enough

Why are you still using 10 pound dumbbells for your seated overhead press when you’ve been doing this for months?

Progressive resistance (using heavier weight loads over time) increases LEAN muscle mass – which leads to a faster resting metabolism and a smaller looking body relative to its weight.

This is why the “after” photos of some women, who’ve employed progressive resistance, look leaner than the “before” images, even though the “after” weight is the same or even heavier!

Not Pushing Hard Enough

Don’t let some bopo influencer trick you into thinking that it’s a sign of self-hate if you push hard at the gym.

It’s actually a sign of self-love: You love your body and health enough to work hard enough to soak your clothes or get nearly breathless after most sets.

Skipping Gym Workouts Because You Think Housework Is a Substitute

Never do this. I can write a book on this, but just trust me, there’s a reason why the “Housework-only” body looks a lot different than the “Women on Weights” body.

Getting Offended when a Personal Trainer Approaches You with Some Advice

Don’t be a schmuck. It’s possible the trainer is hoping to get you as a new client – and if that’s the case, you can STILL get free advice!

Politely tell him or her that you’re open to new suggestions, but there is nothing wrong with also telling them you’re not interested in personal training. A helpful skilled trainer will STILL give you good advice.

It’s also possible (and I speak from experience) that the trainer likes his or her job so much that they actually enjoy offering unsolicited advice WITHOUT trying to get your money.

I’d approach gym patrons whom I already knew would never hire a personal trainer (sometimes, you can just tell who these are) and start a conversation about what they were doing.

Do not resent getting unasked-for advice. After all, you could be doing something incorrectly or not efficiently – which would explain why the weight hasn’t come off.

These 10 gym mistakes are an incomplete list – there are many more errors I can think of, done by plus size and skinny women and all of those in between.

But undoing the above mistakes is an excellent start to achieving your fat loss goals.

Gym mistakes can also be preventing you from reaching goals unrelated to fat loss. So if losing fat isn’t at the top of your list, you should still be open to suggestions on improving your form and making the most of your gym workouts.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.