7 Mistakes that Gym Beginners Should Avoid
Whether you've just signed up for a gym membership or you've just bought a new piece of home gym equipment, many people who are just beginning to work out regularly make mistakes that can hurt your experience and your gains. Try and avoid all of these beginner mistakes to really maximize the effectiveness of the time you're working out.
Lifting with your Ego
Being realistic about the amount of weight you can lift is important to ensure that you can complete effective reps and be safe while working out. Don't get me wrong, pushing yourself to lift more is important to continue to grow and improve as a trainer; however, if you put on too much weight because you have an unrealistic view of your strength or because you want to impress other people, your workout will suffer. Either the reps will be less effective because your form is worse, or you could get hurt.
Ignoring Proper Nutrition
No matter how hard you train, you won't get the results that you want if you don't give your body the fuel to grow. If you want to get stronger and bigger, make sure that you take in plenty of protein, carbs, and water. This is a topic that could fill a book, but if you want a beginning overview of how to effectively prepare your body to succeed, I recommend this article as a start. It is important to remember that your nutrition should change based on what your goals are. The meal plan for a bodybuilder will be leagues different than one for someone looking to burn off some fat. Research nutrition plans that are good for your personal goals.
Not Having an Organized Workspace
When you're working out, regardless of if you are at a gym or in your home, treating the equipment well is important. When you're at home, you probably treat your own equipment well, but this is still important to keep in mind. Keeping the space organized helps eliminate down time between exercises and eliminate distractions when you need to focus on one final rep. Especially if you are at a gym, leaving all your equipment around is disrespectful to everyone else working there. If you use common sense and don't leave things everywhere then you'll be a much better trainer.
Not Properly Warming Up
Warming up for a proper workout is not as easy as doing a couple of static stretches. Make sure to fully stretch all of your muscles by doing a full suite of plyometrics and stretches. This will drastically reduce the chance of injury and guarantee that you can reach your potential without being held back by pulled muscles or hyperextended joints. For a good warm up to base yours on, click here.
Skipping Leg Day
No matter how often this is joked about, not working your legs is a common problem for newer trainers. Because muscular legs aren't as flashy as big arms or a big chest, it's easy to brush off its importance, but in order to really increase your strength and to make sure that you look proportional, don't skip leg day.
Cheating on Proper Form
Working out is very demanding. It takes focus, energy, and determination. When many new trainers are working out, they will slightly cheat on the form of a difficult exercise to finish the number of reps that they want to. By doing this, though, they lose a lot of the benefits of doing the rep in the first place. If you aren't doing an exercise correctly, it won't effectively work the muscles you want. Even worse, slightly changing the form of an exercise significantly increases the likelihood of injury. If you can't finish the number of reps you want to, that's totally fine. Use correct technique and soon you'll see much more noticeable improvement than if you had cheated.
Not Tracking Progress
Just working out consistently is fantastic for newer trainers, but tracking is critical to tracking and maintaining progress. It can often be difficult to gauge progress by sight. If you don't track the numbers, it may seem that you're making no progress. By tracking how much you're lifting and how many times, you can quantitatively see your progress as it happens. Tracking this also can show you which exercises are really good for you and which are less successful. Finally, it also serves as motivation to work out and lift more than you have before. Every time you go to the gym, you have a number of goals that you want to try and push past rather than trying to improve in an overall and vague sense.
Next time you're working out, make sure that you avoid these mistakes to maximize your workout.