11 Beginner Workout Mistakes to Avoid
Leaving nutrition out of the picture. Exercise alone won’t get you all the way to reaching your health goals. A solid work out plan is incomplete without an accompanying nutrition strategy. We hesitate to use the word “diet” here; ultimately, what you’re doing is learning a new lifestyle that incorporates healthy eating and exercise routines. When you fuel your body well, exercise will be far more effective.
Being distracted. It’s easy to want to multitask at the gym, but you’re better off just not. Reading on the elliptical, for example, isn’t doing you any favors. Taking time to stop and chat between reps or machines isn’t helping, either. Set a game plan for your time at the gym, stick with it, and be laser-focused about your workout.
Wanting impossible results. There’s no such thing as a “magic” exercise program or diet. Health and fitness simply take time. Many people start a workout plan wanting to see dramatic results in a short amount of time. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have the beach-body you want after two weeks. Stick with it, and you’ll start to see improvement and eventually have an Let’s face it: being a “newbie” at something isn’t anyone’s favorite place to be. It’s intimidating and a little embarrassing, especially when it’s in an area you feel like you should have all the answers – like working out. But everyone starts somewhere, right? And until you take the steps to learn, you’ll never know. Setting goals to get healthy and lose weight means you have to start exercising. We know it’s intimidating, but your health isn’t worth not facing the learning curve. To help you out, here are 11 beginner workout mistakes we frequently see that you can avoid:
Overestimating your ability. This is also known as trying to do too much too soon. Yes, you need to “feel the burn” and push yourself in your exercise routine. But before you try doing it all at once, realistically assess where you’re at and don’t be afraid to start small. The last thing you want to do is overdo it and risk seriously injuring yourself. Pay attention to your body because there’s a distinct line between a good, sore kind of pain and pain signaling you’re actually injuring your body.
Thinking more is better. In reality, the quality of your workout is more important than the frequency. When you’re first starting out, you may need to work out less intensely more often, but as you build up strength and stamina, it’s actually better to work out fewer days so your body has a rest day in between. Giving your muscles adequate time to recover will help you in the long run. The same is true for reps. Doing a smaller amount of an exercise right and well will always be better than a sloppy version you’re able to do more of.
Forgetting basic gym etiquette. This might seem silly to include, but it’s important! Don’t be the chatty Cathy holding everyone up from getting to their workout, put away weights you’ve used, and always make sure to wipe down any machines you’ve used. Basic, but don’t skip on learning your gym manners.
Warming up the wrong way. What the first thing you do when you get to the gym? Like a lot of beginners, you might go for some stretches to warm up. This is actually the last thing you want to do as part of your workout. The best way to begin is a quick five minutes on the elliptical or a brisk walk on the treadmill. Use your cool down as a good opportunity to stretch it out.
Not balancing cardio and strength. Both are important, and an imbalance will result in inconsistent results. Strength training tones your muscles, cardio keeps your heart healthy. If you only do cardio, you run the risk of losing muscle. Here’s a free tip: get the most out of your workout by starting with your strength training and ending with your cardio.
Skipping out on a plan. Without a goal, it’s hard to stay committed. Set specific goals for yourself and find a plan to get you there. A trainer can help create a custom plan, or there are thousands of great online resources you can find online. Keeping track of your progress is a great motivation-booster.
Never learning proper form. There are right and wrong ways to perform exercises, and the difference is often a fairly small adjustment. One consequence of doing an exercise wrong is it won’t be nearly as effective in helping you see results. A second and more serious consequence is the potential of a serious injury. If you’ve never been taught, there’s no shame in taking the awesome body to show for all your hard work.
Failing to create habits. Ultimately, it’s all about changing your lifestyle to be a healthier person. If you’re exercising (or dieting, for that matter) solely for the purpose of losing weight, you’re not setting yourself up for the long haul. What you really need to focus on is making better choices for your overall health. This long-term goal means you’ll stick with it even once the weight comes off so you can keep it off.
Taking on the challenge of a new exercise routine can be daunting, but you can do it. Just remember, the old saying is true that practice makes perfect. And following this cheat-sheet of beginner workout mistakes to avoid will help you be a pro in no time.