If you’re looking to get into shape and bump up your level of physical fitness, that is great news! Deciding to get started on improving your physical fitness is your first step in your journey. But, there are a few common mistakes that you may find yourself making along the way. By learning about typical mistakes made by workout beginners, you can get a head start on workout out the right way. These mistakes can hinder your progress and delay the goals you have set for yourself.
Here are seven of the most common workout beginner mistakes to watch for and extinguish before they become a habit.
1. Not Warming Up
This cannot be stressed enough – if you’re going to work out, you must, absolutely, without a doubt warm up first. Warming up preps your body for the workout you’re about to do, so your muscles are all primed and ready to get to work. Sure, you’re going to add a few extra minutes to your time but in the end, you are engaging in a more effective workout and helping to prevent potential injury. Including yoga, pilates, or barre exercises can be of great benefit – here’s what you may expect from your barre exercise workouts.
2. Gripping On For Dear Life
While you’re on different equipment, you may feel the urge to grip the handles like you are hanging on for dear life. In reality, all you are doing is negatively impacting your workout because you are likely causing your body to slouch over the equipment, which not only rounds your back but also prevents you from moving your arms to really get a good cardio pump happening. Instead of taking a tight grip, a sports writer at Ukwritings Niles suggests, “Rest your fingers on any handgrips, starting from index to pinkie. With each workout or every other workout, remove one more finger until you’re down to just one – if needed – for that sense of security.” But if you are finding yourself having back pain after your workouts, we have some suggestions for how to deal with this.
3. Focusing on Reading
You’ve likely seen many people doing it and thought, what a great idea, while I’m running on the treadmill or using the elliptical I can catch up on some reading at the same time! While it does seem like a great idea at first, in practice it just doesn’t work. Typically workout beginners take a while to recognize this because they are just kicking back on a static cardio machine, but you don’t have to waste your time doing it this way. When you’re at the gym focus on the workout.
If you are really looking to get a good workout, bringing a book along is not going to help achieve that goal. Academized lifestyle blogger Georges explained, “I thought it was a great opportunity to do some reading since I was just running in place anyway. But I quickly discovered that it was either one or the other.” If you’re focused on reading, you aren’t focused on your workout and getting that heart rate up, so save your book for your post-workout cooldown.
4. Skipping The Stretch
Much like a warmup, stretching preps your body for the work it’s about to do. Sure, it’s boring and sometimes uncomfortable but stretching can help prevent injury, can increase your flexibility, and can improve the results from your workout. It just takes a few minutes before and after your workout and is the perfect time to reflect on your goals and how you will continue working to achieve them. Workout beginners and experienced athletes should always use dynamic stretching to help warm-up and light to moderate static stretching to help cool down.
5. Focusing On Cardio
Cardio is fantastic, but it’s not the only thing you want to focus on when working out. While it does but calories, cardio does not help build muscle which is necessary as we age in order to prevent falls and other injuries but can also contribute to a slower metabolism.
Muscle-heavy youths can go hard with cardio, but once they are in their 30’s more resistance training is needed to maintain a strong physique.
6. Skip Out On A Personal Evaluation
Getting a personal evaluation from a professional trainer is like getting a complete once-over on your car before you take it out on the race track. A professional will be able to guide you with regards to where you need to focus, where your weaknesses lay, and what exercises you can include helping improve your fitness while negating your weaknesses.
7. You Go To Hard Too Fast
When you’re motivated, it can be hard to stop the momentum. But you can’t go from zero to one hundred in one step. There are many small steps you’ll need to take along the way and you will need to learn to be patient with yourself and the process. Try to rush too much too soon and you’ll only end up disappointed and potentially hurting yourself.
When you’re ready to start working out, try to take the time to do things right and avoid the most common mistakes made by workout beginners, so you can achieve optimal results.