We tend to see a pretty big influx of beginners to the gym in the first couple months of the year. So I thought it would be great to go through a few of the biggest mistakes beginners tend to make when first starting out at the gym and how to avoid them!
1. Too much cardio, too little weights
First of all, for the 5,000th time, NO...DOING WEIGHTS WILL NOT MAKE YOU BULKY! Cardio is great, don't get me wrong, and it is a very necessary component of a fitness regimen. However, it is just that, a component. Weights (or any resistance style exercise for that matter) are important for overall strength, muscle tone, injury reduction, and just as a bonus it will help increase the body's resting metabolism (so you can keep burning calories even after you leave the gym).
A lot of beginners find themselves stuck in a cardio comfort zone. We all know how to walk, run, ride bikes, etc. so these cardio machines are nice and simple for a gym newbie. The weights and resistance equipment can seem intimidating if you haven't ever used them before. This is why we have personal trainers here to help you! They are here to help you get comfortable with all aspects of the gym so that you can use your membership to its fullest potential. Come talk to any one of our amazing trainers to see how they can help you!
Post exercise fuelling is important. We want to replenish lost nutrients, and help the body rebuild the injured muscles. BUT, there is a fine line between fuelling and over-fuelling. The average workout might put you in a caloric deficit of 300-600 calories (this number can vary greatly and is just an average). So, don't assume you can go home and eat your weight in peanut butter and its all good because you did a 30 minute workout. It is all about balance.
When you finally get that motivation to get yourself a membership to a gym it is hard to not get carried away initially. You want to start seeing those results you are longing for, and it is very hard to not become impatient. So you go to the gym everyday, sometimes twice a day to get those results FAST. We all know the tortoise and the hare story, so just insert that here. Slow and steady results are the best kind. First of all, we can reduce the risk of overtraining injuries (which can set you back as you try to recover). Secondly, lifestyle changes that are too drastic (such as training 7+ days per week) are not sustainable, and therefore the results you achieve become unsustainable. Train hard but train smart.
4. Not making specific enough goals (or not having goals at all)
Best way to stay on track with a fitness goal is to actually have one. So often we hear "I just want to get in shape". Well what does that actually mean to you? Narrow it down to specific goals like:
- "I want to lose 15 lbs by summer"
- "I want to be able to run a 5k race by next year"
- "I want to be able to fit into this outfit for my high school reunion"
Specific goals with a timeline are the best for keeping you on track, keeping you motivated, and they feel pretty damn good when you achieve them. If you need help making some goals for yourself, this is yet another perk of hiring a personal trainer.
5. Comparing yourself to others
Fitness is a journey. We are all at different stages of this journey. At no point (but most especially at the start of your journey) should you be comparing yourself to others. There is nothing wrong with admiring what someone else can do, and saying to yourself "hey, I think I would love to be able to do that some day", but don't base your worth on it. Other people in the gym are NOT your competition. YOU are your only competition.
Thanks for reading!