Expert tips to help you break a sweat – not a bone! – at the gym

Your local gym, usually seen as a Mecca of health and wellness, might just be a ticking time bomb of personal injury! If you’re not careful, one small misstep on a treadmill can land you in the emergency room. According to the Federal Consumer Products Safety Commission, more than 50,000 people are treated every year for fitness-related injuries. We would like to share some tips from one of the toughest women in fitness, Tara Zimliki, founder of Tara ’s Bootcamp. Tara discusses some of the most dangerous practices at the gym – and how to break a sweat, instead of a bone!

Dangerous Distractions at the Gym:

Reading & Watching Television

Reading a book or watching your favorite TV show while you are on the treadmill or elliptical seems like a great idea: it makes the time go by quicker, you’re entertained, you hardly feel like you’re working out at all! According to Tara, “being absorbed into TV or a book while using a treadmill or elliptical greatly reduces the amount of effort you can put into your workout – hence the feeling like you aren’t even working out – you aren’t!” Tara notes that reading or watching television can help the time go by quicker, but don’t allow yourself to zone out for the entire time. She suggests using breaks in chapters or commercials to create an interval workout: keep a steady pace during your regular programming, then sprint for the duration of the commercials, or for 1-2 minutes between chapters if you are reading a book. This way you can “zone out” safely and still get a good workout in.

 Cell Phones

Chatting with your best friends while working out is not only annoying for those around you – it is very dangerous. Similar to driving and talking on a cell phone at the same time, you are not focused on the most important task at hand – staying on your cardio machine! According to Tara, “even when using a hands-free cell phone, being focused on a conversation will keep you from watching where you are stepping.” Tara also warns that texting while using machines is a big no-no: “the likelihood of falling while walking and texting is great – whether you are on a treadmill or simply walking around your neighborhood! If you need to text – stop the machine.”

Headphones & MP3 Players

“Music is a fantastic motivator…it can help you push through those difficult hills and energize you when you think you can’t go any further,” says Tara, “but I would say I see accidents at the gym because of a dropped iPod or tangled headphone cords on a regular basis.” Tara suggests wearing your MP3 player on your body and tucking your headphone cords into your shirt if you can, to allow you to freely swing your arms and move your legs. If you do drop your player – remember to always stop the machine before you get off and retrieve it – no iPod is worth a broken leg or sprained ankle!

Tara is a Certified Personal Trainer through The American Council on Exercise (ACE), and a Boot Camp Instructor. She has competed and trained with top athletes at the University of South Carolina where she was awarded a full cross-country scholarship. Tara has a B.A. from Rutgers University and specializes in fat loss and nutrition.  She is passionate about helping people change both body and mind, believing positive results stem from positive attitudes.  She helps clients maintain this attitude with fun, challenging and rewarding workouts. For more information, please visit


2 Responses to Expert tips to help you break a sweat – not a bone! – at the gym

  1. Laura Baker says:

    And NEVER EVER CLOSE YOUR EYES while running on a treadmill!! I learned this the hard way.. I was concentrating on my music and running really fast for the last 3 minutes of my workout and stupidly closed my eyes.. the worst part is after i fell off I tried to get back on while it was moving… many scrapes and bruises later I wont do that again!

  2. Wow! What an amazing piece of information. I just found your blog via Google and have been reading through. This article is amazing! Helped me find exactly what I was looking for! Great work, dude! Way to go!

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