Some of us can testify that we have on numerous occasions received unsolicited fitness advice in the gym. There are two sides to this. Some of the advice is legit while the rest is just broscience. The solid and legit fitness advice is welcome because it saves us, especially beginners, from making cringe-worthy fitness mistakes.
The first time I signed up for a gym contract, I expected something incredible to happen to my body. How it was going to happen though, I didn’t know and had no proper plan.
As a result, I started doing what everyone was doing. I was that girl you often see in the gym who runs on the treadmill for hours on end. If I saw someone with a great body on Youtube, following a certain program, I would hop on (well, for a few weeks and then I would abandon ship and seek something else that would give me faster results).
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I would compare myself to others who were far along the fitness journey than I was. This comparison always left me feeling both inadequate and demotivated to carry on with my fitness journey.
It wouldn’t be a strange thing to say that 80% of people in the gym start out almost the same way, as I did, especially if they do not hire a fitness trainer to guide them through at least the first few weeks.
5 Biggest Fitness Mistakes People Make
1. Skipping the Warm-up
During my earlier gym days, I used to waltz into the gym and immediately get started with whatever workout I had on my ‘to do’ list for that particular day.
I was quite observant and noticed that the seasoned folks would take time to warm up before training so I followed suit and years later, I can say my choice was wise.
Warming up helps prevent injury in that it increases blood flow to the muscles, at the same time increasing the muscles’ temperature which leads to faster muscle relaxation and contraction.
The best way to warm up
Depending on your preference, you can warm up for about 5-10 mins with low-intensity cardio or if you are a lifter and like to get straight into moving iron around, you can start off with very light weights and work your way up to your working weight.
2. Ego Lifting
Ego lifters put emphasis on how much weight they can lift before form and range of motion. Picture that person in the gym that is always swinging weights while doing bicep curls or that guy that performs partial squats because the weight is more than they can handle.
Ego lifters want to impress people that aren’t even interested in how much weight they can lift.
I used to lift with my ego at one point until I got trapped under the bar whilst doing bench press (you are allowed to chuckle). I learned from that and chose not to ever compromise my safety and form again.
Ego lifting increases the chances of injury and that is the last thing you want because that injury will leave you out of the gym for quite a while.
Leave your ego at the door, instead focus on getting your form right as well as isolating the targeted muscles in order to get the most out of your workout.
3. Fitness Mistake: Program Hopping
You see, most of us want instant results the moment we start training or switch to a new workout program. When that doesn’t happen, we blame the program and look for one that will yield significant results overnight, and so the program hopping continues.
Reality is, there’s no program capable of transforming your body in an instant.
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To see the effectiveness of any workout plan, you have to learn to practice two things: patience and consistency, in addition to watching your nutrition.
If you are in the habit of chasing that ‘best’ program which seems so elusive, you need to know that you are what drives results through consistency and patience. There’s is no perfect program out there.
Stay committed, start off with building stability and strength by concentrating on solid compound movements and progress from there.
According to the American Council on Exercise, you can make minor tweaks to a program from four to 12 weeks, but “those with more “hardcore” training goals should stick with programs and exercises for longer amounts of time to get the most from them”.
If you are lost on what program to follow, this article lists some of the best beginner strength training programs that you can follow.
4. Fitness Mistake: Comparing Yourself to Others
It is healthy, even advisable to look up to someone for fitness inspiration or motivation. But when you start comparing yourself to others, then Houston, we have a problem.
Comparing your fitness journey to another person’s will leave you feeling inadequate and defeated and if you are not strong enough, you will stray from the course.
The only person you must pit yourself against is yourself. Fitness is a journey, meaning every day, you are in the process of being better than the person you used to be and that may be both mentally and physically.
Along the way, you will encounter people who are in better shape or stronger than you and that is perfectly fine because they are also on their own journey.
You must never use people who are several steps ahead of you as a yardstick to your own progress because you do not know the factors that have helped in defining their physiques or overall fitness.
Everybody is different. Be your own competition. Find out what works for you and your body and stick to it. Set goals then demolish them one by one.
5. Fitness Mistake: Ignoring the Importance of Proper Diet
This is the number one fitness mistake that one can ever make. Whatever your fitness goals, diet is the most important part and you can never out train a bad diet no matter how many hours you spend on a treadmill, trying to burn it off.
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Once you jump on the fitness mill, the first thing you must sort out is nutrition. I am not for and never will be for cutting out any food groups from your diet.
Carbs are great for your body and so are fats, do not be afraid of them. Processed foods, on the other hand, is what you need to be mindful of. Strive to eat whole foods.
Eat the right amount of calories by calculating how many you to need to consume based on your fitness goals. You can consult a dietician for a customised diet plan that fits your health and training needs.
20 thoughts on “5 Biggest Fitness Mistakes Beginners Should Avoid Making”
Warmups are SO important. It’s equally important to stretch when you are done working out, too. So many people miss the stretching and pay for it later 🙁
The picture with the splits is kinda terrifying.
My first gym sign up I got the personal training as well. That made a huge difference in my experience at the gym and helped me from burning out. I did it for two years until finances didn’t allow for the membership anymore, but I loved every second of it.
I think a warmup is important but an individual thing like slowly working up to speed. Stretching on cold muscles hs never worked for me. I wholeheartedly agree with eating properly and i eat only unprocessed vegan style.
These are all so true. I think when any of us start a fitness program for the first time we feel like we can go all out, from the start, and then sadly mistaken when we can’t move the next day due to improper warm ups or cool downs.
Completey and totally agree! Last time I joined a gym, I hired a personal trainer right off the bat and I can’t even begin to tell you how much my body changed just by hiring a pro! I ended up managing that gym a year later as an employee and always recommended that members sign up for at least 3 sessions to make sure what they were doing was benefitting their bodies! Great post!
This is all great advise. I think many of us when going to the gym or starting a new routine think we will see instant results and often forget the important parts. I know I am definitely guilty of it
I think these are really good mistakes not to make! Some people might tend to overdo themselves, or get impatient. I’ll remember these, should I take the jump and get into the gym.
I’ve been focusing on working out and getting fit this year and it’s really important to never compare your progress or yourself to other! It’s going to help you stay motivated to keep going on.
Your post resonates with me because I have definitely have fallen to one or two of those issues in the past. I am considering hiring a trainer. I know they are expensive but very effective. We shall see. Thanks for your tips!
Yes…diet is so important! It makes me so sad when I see people really committing to a fitness program and thinking that’s all they need to do. And then they get so disappointed by the results. You need to watch diet no matter how much you’re exercising. Unless maybe you’re training for the Olympics or something. Great list of exercise mistakes.
I agree with all of these, especially comparing yourself to others. There is no way I will ever look like some people in a gym because I just don’t have the same body type. And food is so important. What’s that saying? You can never out-train your diet? Or something like that! How about abs are made in the kitchen. I know I’ve heard that one!
I’m terrible about the good diet this time of year! And warming up I always miss also. Great tips!
Diet is really very important but not stretching is also a HUGE mistake. These are really to focus on and learn more about.
I am horrible with sticking with a program. As soon as I start to see results I switch to something else. I have no idea why!
Yes, the diet part has just become more important to me in the past few years. I have realized what an important part it is. And people who do regs with too heavy of weight and do them improperly make me laugh.
Oh yes. If grade nine gym class taught me anything it was to warm up before exercising! Totally agree with you. Some of those photos are hilarious! In a good way!
I’m definitely guilty of skipping to different programs because I get bored and see no results. I guess I forget that I’m not in my 20s anymore where I could see results faster, but I’m so frustrated by trying things and not seeing any improvement in my body or my endurance or strength.
Wow – these are great tips! It’s so easy to make a mistake in the gym that could really injure you! I also like your advice of not comparing yourself to others. That’s hard to do some days.
Great to know! After baby comes I have to get into more of a fitness routine, and have no idea how to even jump into it. This is some great info!
This is a great reminder to be safe with while getting back into the swing of things. It’s hard to not compare yourself to others but it’s so important for a healthy change.