Everyone starts as a beginner. And as we get comfortable with working out, eventually we learn the basics: how to use the machines, how to observe gym etiquette, and what happens if we don’t wipe the gym equipment. Thank goodness!
But even after you ditched the training wheels, you could still make grave rookie mistakes—those that sabotage your progress and leave you frustrated, confused, and exhausted. Even if you worked out for years, it could still happen. To build an awesome body and take your fitness to the next level, you must avoid these nine worst beginner mistakes. Learn how they happen and how you can beat them.
Not Warming Up
When some beginners warm up—if at all—they’re jogging for a few minutes on a treadmill and doing some stretches they learned back in Physical Ed. But this does nothing to prepare your muscles, joints, and nervous system to lift weights. Instead, do a comprehensive warm up filled with dynamic stretches, activation exercises, and movement preparation to help your body feel great and lift a lot of weight.
Working out Too Much
When starting up a new routine, it’s easy to get caught up in wanting to make gains as fast as you can. But if you don’t add in enough rest time between workouts, you’re actually not taking full advantage of the work you’re putting in at the gym.
Muscles need time to rebuild and they can’t do that if you’re breaking them down again too soon. In addition, working out too much can lead to burnout or injury. When you leave the gym, you want to leave feeling like you put in a great effort. You don’t want to be so worn out that all you can do the rest of the day is lay on the couch.
Take it easy and go at your own pace. You’re not competing against anyone. Simply putting in the effort to improve your own life is inspirational.
You don’t seek a professional evaluation
In addition to getting medical clearance and a complete physical before starting an exercise program, it’s a good idea to also find a certified and experienced trainer to determine what you should and should not be doing. A qualified trainer can help you in terms of the specific exercises, machines, intensity and duration that are best for you. An evaluation not only reduces your risk of injury, but ensures you’ll get results.
Not taking sleep seriously
You need enough sleep to allow your body to heal from your workout.
If you want to get healthy and fit, you need to sleep. Seriously. Stop playing video games and watching Netflix until way into the wee hours — set a bedtime, and go to sleep. Your body (and mind) depend on sleep to sharpen and rebuild, and many people who don’t take sleep seriously end up forgoing any gains (or losses) they were hoping to achieve.
“I’ll start tomorrow” is a common phrase for beginning exercisers who put off the start of their fitness activities by waiting for the “right moment.” Another issue is putting off your exercise until later in the day, but never actually getting to it.
For the “start tomorrow” syndrome — the best time to start is right now. Don’t keep putting off your exercise for another day. As for when you should do your exercise, choose the time that’s right for you, put it into your calendar and do it. Think of it as a regular appointment to be kept like any other. If you plan to go to the gym after work, take your gear with you to the office. Stopping at home to change your clothes, have a snack or tidy up the house is likely to land you on the couch watching a rerun of your favorite TV show rather than in your spin class.
Lack of Consistency
You exercise once and believe it should have some immediate effect — like losing weight.
Exercising once in a while is not bad, but it’s being consistent that will bring results. You need to pick an activity or activities that you can do at least five days a week for months at a time to get real sustainable results. That’s why it’s important to try several types of exercise routines and make sure you really like the one(s) you finally choose.
Expecting Immediate Results
If only a month of training was all it took to be slim and trim for that beach vacation! Many beginners have unrealistic expectations about how long it will take to achieve fitness goals. Some spend too much time training and end up injured. Others don’t spend enough time in the gym and quit when they don’t see results.
You set astronomical goals
When you’re setting up an exercise program, focus on the small goals. Don’t worry about losing 30 pounds or getting a six-pack in six weeks; these types of goals just set you up for disappointment.
Not thinking about proper nutrition
What you eat is as important as your workout routine. A balanced diet is supposed to complement the workout. Not eating properly can sometimes cancel out all the effort you invest in your local fitness gym. For example, bodybuilders; they think about nutrition ALL THE TIME. Proper workout and nutrition combo definitely yields two-fold results.