Avoid These 10 Beginner Exercise Mistakes
As a beginner getting started with exercise, chances are you’re getting mighty excited about the journey ahead.
You’re looking forward to seeing some excellent changes to your body, seeing a boost to your day to day energy levels, and seeing improvement to your overall health.
Along with this excitement may also be some anxiety. Are you going to do things properly?
How hard will it really be? Do you actually know what to do to see results?
To help reduce this anxiety, let’s walk you through ten exercise mistakes beginners make.
This way, you can ensure you side-step these and move forward to see the results that you’re looking for.
Beginner Mistake #1: Cardio Overload
Cardio, cardio, cardio. When most beginners enter the gym, they head straight for the cardio machines.
While getting a good cardio base is important, don’t overlook how vital strength training is.
A beginner program should consist of a balance between resistance exercise and cardiovascular training.
Aim for 30 minutes of resistance training first followed by 20-30 minutes of cardio training.
Beginner Mistake #2: Fearing Heavy Weights
Speaking of resistance training, this brings us to the next error – neglecting heavy weights. Too many beginners start lifting the 2.5 kilo weights, thinking this will get results.
If you aren’t very strong to begin with and that 2.5 kilos is actually challenging, then by all means start there, but for most people, they’ll need something heavier.
Don’t fear challenging yourself. Especially if you’re a woman who’s worried she’s going to get bulky. This just will not happen, so lay that fear to rest.
Beginner Mistake #3: Neglecting Help When You Need It
Another mistake to avoid is neglecting help when you need it.
If you aren’t quite sure what to do in a particular machine, ask someone around you or consider scheduling a session with a personal trainer.
Most beginners don’t know what all the gym machines do, so don’t feel bad if this is the situation you are in.
Reach out for help when you need it – it’s one of the best strategies to get started on the right foot.
Beginner Mistake #4: Forgoing Rest
Another big error too many beginners make is neglecting rest. They’re very motivated so think they’ll hit the gym 7 days a week. This works for about the first two weeks.
Then fatigue sets in. The following week, they try six days. The one after that? They’re down to two. Following that? All motivation is gone and they’ve fallen off.
Balance is key. Realise rest is just as important as work and aim to get at least two days off away from the gym each week.
Beginner Mistake #5: Too Much, Too Soon
Along with forgoing rest, another related mistake is the too much, too soon syndrome.
Don’t hit the gym and try to do an hour of cardio and 45 minutes of strength training your first week in.
Even advanced level trainees typically don’t do this, so don’t think you can.
Slow and steady will win this race. If you do too much at the start, it may feel good while you’re doing it, but the next morning you’ll hardly be able to move.
Nothing will put you off the gym faster than this scenario.
Beginner Mistake #6: Forgetting To Cool Down
Cool-downs are an important element of any training program, but yet are also something that beginners tend to neglect as well.
Make sure that you are taking the time to stretch the muscles and bring your heart rate back down to normal.
This will help to reduce the level of soreness you experience after that workout is finished and will also ensure that you are not feeling light-headed from stopping intense exercise immediately.
10 minutes every workout should be devoted to this. If you aren’t, it’s time to start.
Beginner Mistake #7: Doing The Same Workout Over And Over
The next error? Doing the same workout over and over again. Remember that your body adapts to exercise – that’s the whole process of getting stronger.
So if you hit the gym and do the same workout over and over again, guess what’s going to happen? You’ll adapt and soon, you’ll stop seeing results. Ongoing progress comes from ongoing changes.
Try and change something about your workout each and every week. This doesn’t always have to be more weight lifted.
It could be something like adding more reps, doing another set, changing the order of the exercises you are doing, or adding a new exercise entirely.
Small changes will add up.
If you need assistance with this, you can also consult a personal trainer who will design a program for you that incorporates some element of change into the protocol as you move along.
Beginner Mistake #8: Overlooking Proper Form
The next beginner error to take extra precaution against is neglecting proper form.
Now is the most important time to be checking your form and ensuring it’s correct as you’ll be building your habits during those first months in the gym.
Once you’ve developed a habit of poor form, it’ll be very challenging to correct this. And, this in time could mean a much greater risk of injury.
When you first begin at the gym, it’s not a bad idea to perform the exercises without any weight at all until you get proper form down pat. Do this for 3-4 sessions so that your body and mind learn the movement pattern.
Then, only once you feel perfectly comfortable and balanced doing the exercise should you begin to add weight once again.
Remember that adding more weight while using proper form will never get you optimal results. You’re far better off using less weight but using perfect form.
And, if you don’t know what proper form is, again, this is the perfect time to reach out to a trainer for help.
Beginner Mistake #9: Making The Gym A Social Setting
Another error to avoid is making the gym a social setting. While you may want to get a workout buddy who will attend your workouts with you, try not to turn it into an all-out chat session.
Remember, while you’re at the gym, you are there to work.
If you’re constantly stopping to talk, this will impact the intensity of your workout as well as your focus.
Both mean fewer results will be seen. Talk after the workout is over if you want, but keep gym time to working time.
Beginner Mistake #10: Wearing Improper Clothing
Finally, also be sure that you are wearing proper clothing. While it’s great you want to look your best while in the gym, make sure that whatever you wear is comfortable.
If it isn’t, it’s going to make exercising that much less pleasant.
Proper gym wear shouldn’t be overly baggy and should allow for a full range of motion. At times, this may mean forgoing the latest styles for something a little more appropriate.
So keep these mistakes in mind as you enter the gym for the very first time.
If you can ensure you aren’t committing these errors, you can feel good that you are moving along on the right track.