Taking the bold step of adopting an active lifestyle is indeed a great decision. Working out on a regular basis plus healthy eating is the ideal lifestyle the human body needs. Going to the gym, doing some cardio and trying out some weight machines, seems pretty straightforward. Despite the simplicity, there are quite a number of exercise mistakes beginners make that expose them to injuries.
Some of these exercise mistakes beginners make could quite simply defeat the main goal of working out in the first place. Exercising and staying active lowers our risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, just to mention a few, but while we are at it, we need to ensure we are reaping the rewards by working out properly and safely.
As a beginner getting started with an exercise routine, it is very normal to get excited about the fitness journey ahead. Despite the excitement, it is very vital that mistakes are avoided. Workout mistakes can not only put us at risks of injuries, but can also slow down the health benefits we stand to gain from regularly exercising.
Especially for those injured or recovering from injuries, it is always important to consult a qualified doctor before starting your new workout routine. Stay safe and embrace a moderate progression.
Before we start our work towards a healthy, stronger and happier us, here are 10 exercise mistakes beginners make. These mistakes are honestly, not difficult to avoid.
1. You Expect An Overnight Miracle
When it comes to adopting an active lifestyle, embracing a moderate and steady rate of progression is always key. As a beginner, you need to understand and accept that, no matter your training goal, progress is never instantaneous. The perfectly sculpted bodies you see in the gym took months of training to achieve, but the sad story is that many beginners expect results overnight.
We currently live in a world where people sign up as gym members and suddenly expect to hit their fitness goals overnight. It really doesn’t work like that. That weight loss goal, for example, you set yourself, requires some time, commitment and hardwork.
Allow plenty of time from the start of your training to your end-goal and progress slowly.
2. Not Wearing The Right Gear
Wearing improper clothing can have a negative impact on your workout experience and overall progress. It also increases the risk of injuries while working out.
The ideal gym clothing should allow for full range of motion and not be oversized.
Wearing the wrong training shoes increases the pounding impact on your joints and often leads to injuries….injuries that could have been easily avoided.
Always ensure whatever you wear is safe and comfortable.
3. Not Warming Up
One of the biggest mistakes anyone can do as part of a workout session is under-estimating the importance of warm-ups. As a beginner, you need to understand that warming up is just as important as the workout session itself. Warming up prepares your nervous system for your training session, keeps premature fatigue at bay, prevents skipped heart beats and injuries.
It is quite tempting to forgo warming up before a workout session, but dedicating 5 to 10 minutes for a warm up will go along way to improve your workout experience. You do not need to ‘beast’ yourself for a warm up, all you need is a light activity that causes you to break into a light sweat.
4. Ignoring The Importance Of Proper Form And Technique
Neglecting proper form and technique during the first few months of your gym membership is the last thing you want to do as a newbie. Adopting the right form and technique during your early days is very vital because once you develop and stick to a habit of training with an incorrect form, it becomes very difficult to correct yourself.
Working out using the wrong form and technique increases the risk of strain and injury.
Not sure of the right technique and form? If yes, then you definitely need to consult a qualified trainer. One deadlift with the right posture and technique is better than 10 incorrect deadlifts .
5. Overloading On Cardio And Avoiding Weights
A common misconception among beginners is that you only need cardio exercises to keep fit. Yes, cardio exercises increase your heart health, improves endurance and burns calories, but strength training has an equally important role to play in your overall level of fitness.
Strength and resistance training burns more calories and increases your resting metabolic rate. It also builds strong connective tissues, ligaments and tendons. Resting metabolic rate is the total number of calories burned when your body is completely at rest. Muscles burn more calories at rest than fat.
As a beginner, your workout program should consist of a balance between cardio and strength training. Your strength and resistance training can be done with either free weights or your own bodyweight. Strength training is ideal for improving your functional fitness.
6. Doing Too Much Too Soon
It is important as a beginner, to set realistic targets and progress slowly up your new workout regimen. Allowing your new-found source of excitement to push you to overdoing it is a recipe for disaster. Assuming that the more often, faster or heavier you train, the faster you’ll see results, is a prime cause of burnout and injury.
As a beginner, you just need to take one step at a time and build your intensity gradually. There is absolutely no need to impress others in the gym by taking on more than your body can handle.
7. Doing The Same Workout Routine Everyday
Doing the same workout routine over and over again impedes your progress and prevents your from reaping the full benefits of your workout program. Hitting the gym and doing the same workout routine every time allows your body to adapt and get used to the routine. This causes your body to hit a plateau and then you stop seeing results.
Try mixing up your workout program with different routines each week in order to confuse your muscles. Confusing your muscles results in your muscles becoming challenged and increases the muscles’ fat burning potential.
8. Failing To Understand That Exercise And Diet Go Hand-In-Hand
A common mistake among beginners is failing to realise that quality of nutrition and the regularity of workout sessions go hand-in-hand. For a beginner looking to lose weight, exercising alone without keeping an eye on the amount and quality of nutrition prevents the body from reaping the full benefits of your workout program. The journey towards your weight loss goal drastically slows down if your choice of nutrition is poor.
9. Seeing Workout Sessions As A Chore
When you lose the fun in your workout sessions and start seeing it as a chore, then it’s about time you gave your workout routine a re-shuffle. Your level of interest in the workout sessions should be at a decent level by approaching each session with the right mental attitude.
Not seeing the results as quickly as expected could make you frustrated. You just need to remain consistent and determined. Rome was not built in a day!
10. Not Seeking Help When Needed
It is highly recommended that you seek medical advice before starting a new workout regimen, especially, if you’ve never done that activity before, recovering from an injury or have some health concerns.
Besides the medical side of life, neglecting the importance of seeking the input of a qualified fitness trainer is a common mistake among beginners.
Reaching out for help on how to use gym equipments, and what exercise and training intensity you need for your fitness goal allows you to get the best start to your workout regimen.
11. Neglecting The Stretch
Beginners tend to neglect the importance of cool-downs after workout sessions. Taking the time to stretch and cool down enables your heart rate to come back to normal. Stretching and relaxing the muscles reduces the level of soreness experienced after workout sessions.
Stretching is to be done at the end of each workout sessions and not at the start. Stretching cold muscles puts you at the risk of injuries.
With age comes muscle tightness and inflexibility. We lose elasticity and fluid in our joints as we age, so incorporating flexibility training into our workout schedules is highly recommended. Yoga and Pilates are a great way of ensuring our muscles stay relaxed and keep the tendons and ligaments elastic. This gives us a more stable posture and reduces the risk of injuries during and after workouts.
12. Ignoring The Importance Of Sleep
During workouts, your muscles get broken down so new stronger muscles are built as result. With the help of quality sleep, the body undergoes its recovery process. A poor quality of sleep has a negative impact on your body’s recovery process and slows down your rate of progress. Not sleeping enough affects the level of energy required for your workout sessions.
As a beginner, you need to make a conscious effort to avoid these exercise mistakes beginners make. This ensures you get the most out of your workout sessions.
Feel free to leave your contributions, questions and suggestions in the comments section below. I am aware there are other exercise mistakes beginners make that have not been mentioned in this blog post. Let’s hear them!