When it comes to working out, everyone is a beginner at some point. Little by little, we pick up the basics: how to perform the workouts, use the machines, choose the best workout clothes, etc.
But even after you’ve mastered the fundamentals, you could still make serious beginner mistakes that undermine your results. Moreover, some workout mistakes can hinder the health benefits of exercise and even increase the risk of injury. All this can feel frustrating and make you want to quit.
But don’t worry. Workout mistakes can happen even to those who exercise for years.
Since you’re putting serious efforts, you need to make sure to reap all the benefits. So, if you want to build a great body and feel awesome, these are the 6 beginner mistakes you must avoid.
1.Don’t Skip the Warm-up
Warming up prepares your body for exercise, helping you prevent premature fatigue and irregular heartbeat. It is especially important if you’re doing HIIT; in this case, if you skip the warm-up, you might easily end up injured.
A proper warm-up consists of an activity that raises your body temperature just enough to cause light sweating. It can be walking, squats, arm circles…Any of these activities (or even all of them) are great to get you ready to work out.
2.Don’t Forget About Your Legs
Many rookie exercisers think that playing soccer, cycling, or jogging on a regular basis is enough to build strong legs. This is simply not true. No activity will give you the endurance, size, and strength like lifting weights. Besides building muscle mass, weight workouts also improve your bone health, boost your metabolism, and help you build a full body balance.
3.Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
When you first start working out, you might assume that the more frequently you hit the gym, the faster you’ll see results. But exercising too often can only result in an injury or burnout.
It’s very important to start with low-frequency and low-intensity workous, then increase gradually. Your body needs time to adjust to the new routine, but it also needs time to recover properly in between sessions.
You should also bear in mind that as the workout intensity increases, the frequency can decrease. For instance, beginners can perform high-intensity workouts 3 times a week without overwhelming the body.
However, as your endurance and strength improve and you keep pushing yourself to the maximum, each workout session will place a greater amount of stress on your body. Once you reach that point, you should lower the frequency of workout sessions and allow your body to recuperate.
The recovery period is important because this is the time when the body adjusts to the stress of exercise and the real effect of the training takes place. Recovery also allows the body to restore energy and repair damaged tissues.
But how do you know if you’re working out too frequently? If you feel exhausted instead of energized after the training, or you’re sore for days, then it might be wise to cut back a bit and let your body recuperate.
4.Don’t Skip Workouts
On the flip side, many beginners tend to skip workouts. You may feel too sore or tired, have lots of work to do, fall ill… Sometimes you lack the motivation to exercise, other times you just feel lazy. Some rookies may feel discouraged from the lack of tangible results or because they find the workouts too difficult to complete. There’s a number of excuses that will keep you away from the gym.
But skipping workouts is not the same as spacing them appropriately in order to allow your body to recover. If this becomes a habit, your fitness level (and your body in general) will suffer the consequences, and negative changes will come much faster than you think.
The key to building a great body is consistency. To motivate yourself, think about why you decided to work out in the first place. It helps if you find an activity that you actually enjoy. You can also a new activity every now and then to avoid boredom. For instance, if you usually do weight training, try cycling.
Make a workout schedule and stick to it. If you’re usually very busy during the day, try scheduling morning workouts so your daily activities don’t get in the way. If you still find it too hard, cut the workout routine to one day a week and make sure not to skip it.
5. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Professional Advice
If you aren’t sure what’s the best workout routine for you, it is best to consult a qualified fitness trainer. He/she will recommend the best workouts to reach your goals, be it weight loss, muscle growth, improved performance, or something else.
A fitness pro can draft a special fitness program tailored to your needs. This way, the workout duration and intensity, as well as the nutrition will be designed to help you reach your goals and prevent injuries. A fitness trainer can also show you how to properly perform individual exercises like pushups or lounges to maximize your results.
As an alternative, you can use fitness apps. These apps offer customized workout routines and meal plans, as well as tips and videos from pro trainers. They also allow you to keep track of your progress, which is great for motivation.
6.Don’t Think That Running Is the Only Effective Form of Cardio
Not that there is anything wrong with running. But there are other more interesting and more effective forms of cardio.
High-endurance training, like running for one hour, can put too much stress on your heart. Research has shown that short intervals of high-intensity workouts (HIIT) are more effective (and much safer) than standard cardio activities. In this case, the workouts are shorter and combined with rest periods, the total workout lasts for no more than 20 minutes.
Rookie exercisers often make mistakes: skipping warm-ups, overdoing it, not seeking help from qualified trainers, etc. These mistakes can prevent you from getting the most out of your workouts, but also increase the risk of burnout and injury.
Remember, the beginning is always the hardest, but once you get moving and start feeling better, you’ll be more motivated to overcome all the obstacles on your way.