We've all been a newbie at one point or another in the gym and I know when I first started I wish that I had someone point out everything that I should NOT be doing in the gym.
So, I created this short list of my top 15 mistakes by new fitness goers!
Please pay attention and read thoroughly, trust me it will save you time and injury.
1. Not Warming Up
A decent, quality warm up before your training session is extremely important. Not warming up is the worst mistake anyone can make in the gym. You may get hurt and have serious injuries due to lack of warm ups. This can lead to weeks or even months out the gym. That is a setback that you don’t want. Most of the injuries new goers get can be prevented simply by warming up properly. Warming up sets the tone for what you need to do on that training day. A good warm up is vital for your overall performance and long term physical health.
2. Ego Lifting
As per Urban Dictionary’s definition, ego lifting is the act of lifting heavy weights for the sole purpose of impressing other people in the room. This is usually done with awful form and gratuitous grunting noises. The primary reason for this is because one aims to impress friends, the opposite sex or a more experienced lifter. Though the people you are trying to impress might think it is cool, you are putting yourself at high risk for injury. Decreasing the range of motion helps you lift more weight but we also know that the weight will be reduced in half if you were to do it right.
3. Not Putting Weights Away
This is one of the primary gym etiquette. Not practicing the simple act of putting weights where they are supposed to be is not just annoying and inconsiderate but it’s also dangerous. People may trip, tumble and hurt themselves with your mess. Racking your weights as part of your workout is a great way to exercise discipline. After all, discipline is one of the main keys to reach your fitness goals. Why not start with the simple act of putting your weights where it’s supposed to be.
4. POOR HYGIENE
The formula of sweat plus sharing the same facilities with people in the gym makes it a perfect avenue for the spread of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Fungal infections of the skin are common, especially among athletes and gym goers who work out regularly. Some tips to practice good gym hygiene could be: Wash your hands or sanitize if you can’t wash. As much as possible use Germ-proof gym equipments. Shower ASAP and dry off with a clean towel, then put on dry, clean clothes. Always wash and dry your workout clothes each time you wear them. And most of all, don’t share personal care items.
5. TOO MUCH SOCIALIZING
The main goal when going to the gym should be to get a great workout. You can find many likeminded people at the gym. Before and after workouts are proper times to socialize because it isn’t getting in the way of your workout. Always be conscious if you’re chatting too much to the point your sweat dries and your muscles are not warm anymore.
A fitness tip I always do to keep my focus on my sets is to wear headphones. Not only does it keeps other people from bothering me during my workout, it also keeps me pumped up and ready to train.
6. Not Having A Plan
Having a plan when you’re doing anything is extremely important. It helps if you keep a journal and write every workout you do with it. You need to have a workout split. Which tell you what muscle groups do you plan to hit on a certain day, a log of training results, including sets, reps and weight and also a cardio schedule. This will help you monitor your growth. Having a systematic plan will boost your workout towards your fitness goals. Most beginners do not plan ahead, they wait till they get to the gym and just do whatever they want. This leads to a lack of direction and slow progress.
7. Using a Same Workout Plan Over And Over
A downside of having a workout plan is the temptation do it again and again due to convenience. Your body is smart, if you keep doing the same things, your body will adapt leading to a plateau in your fitness growth. You won’t see the same amount of results as if you were to keep your body guessing with different workouts.
8. Using the Wrong Weight and Speed
If the weights you will use is too light, it will limit the benefits gained. On the other hand if it is too heavy, it can lead to injury. The ideal number of reps should be between 8 and 12 for muscle growth and 1-7 for strength. If you can't lift at least 8, this may be an indication that the weight being used is too heavy. Using the same analogy, being able to do more than 12 reps means it is time to add a little weight and push a little harder in order to get results.
9. Sloppy Form
Proper form is extremely important when strength training. A sloppy form can also put pressure on joints and the spin in ways that can cause injuries. Not only can we potentially cause injury to ourselves with sloppy form, but we are also not working the intended muscle groups too. Proper form ensures that correct muscle are being targeted on your work outs. You will know when you are using bad form. This can be manifested by being too fatigued to something is too heavy. It is better to lower the weight or ask someone to spot you.
10. Resting Too Much
It’s good to breath hard and keep your heart rate high even if you are lifting weights doing this can be a form of cardiovascular training. It will also make your body burn more calories. When you rest too much, you’re ruining your results. Rest is good but having a right work and rest ratio is important if your goal is to add muscle or burn fat.
Resting for too long can cause your muscles to get cold. Doing this will make your workout be longer. This may also make you lose focus. Track your rests using a clock or timer. If you’re goal is muscle gain, keep your rest periods under two minutes.
11. Copying Someone Else’s Work Out
Copying others’ moves in the gym may lead to injury and lack of progress towards your fitness goals. Aside from the person you are copying may be doing something completely wrong, might be being performed with a sloppy form and it might not be effective.
Even if they aren’t, what they are doing may not be what you want to do for your needs. A great idea for this is to ask a professional to write out a workout program for you based on what your specific needs. “Monkey see-monkey do” isn’t the best strategy to do in the gym.
12. Using maladjusted machines.
Weight machines are designed for individuals of all shapes and sizes. However, all of us are extremely individualized and have different needs. You must adjust equipments to fit your needs if you want to get results and avoid injury. Have a qualified professional to show you the proper settings for your physique and fitness goals.
13. Being a weekend warrior.
If you're only exercising two days a week, you'll never get where you want to be. A proper exercise program is done several times a week this gives you more strength and endurance. For example, if you want to lose weight, you should be exercising at least 3 or 4 days a week. Another is your body needs recovery time between workout sessions and you need to exercise different muscles on different days. This is not feasible if you only exercise on weekdays.
14. Focusing On "Running" To Lose Weight
Doing excessive cardiovascular in the gym will eat away your muscle mass. Weight training is needed in order to gain and maintain a muscle tone. Running too much takes a lot of energy with no real gains, except for cardiovascular. Do not defeat your progress by running too much.
15. Not having enough NUTRITION
Having the right nutrition is 90% of the formula for your objectives. Training and nutrition are inseparable if you want to achieve your fitness goals. One cannot succeed without the other. Majority of new fitness goers make the mistake of working hard in the gym only to waste all that hard work because they did not have the right nutrition. Having the right nutrition is having the right kind and amount foods according to your needs. A customized meal plan is the not so secret sauce to sky rocket your way towards your health and fitness goals.
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