The Biggest Rookie Mistakes Made at the Gym
Everyone has to start somewhere when it comes to getting fit but without any prior knowledge about the gym there are a lot of mistakes to be made. And making mistakes at the gym can mean making yourself more susceptible to injury, burning out, and spending time doing things that really aren’t that effective. Here are some of the biggest rookie mistakes made at the gym and how to fix them.
You might become a pro, but when you’re just starting out you don’t need to load on the weight or try to pressure yourself to keep up with people who have been working out for years ahead of you. If you try to take on too much too soon your odds of keeping up are lower and that makes you more likely to burn out from discouragement and even from fatigue. Move at your own pace at your own level and build from there.
The concept of a warm up is there for a reason. When we don’t warm up the muscles and then jump into strenuous exercises it can injure the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Even if you don’t feel any pain jumping into things it’s good to get into the habit. Just a few minutes of the treadmill or even doing gentle weights can help warm up the body for whatever you’re planning to throw at it.
Gyms have a lot of fancy machines that are made to hit specific muscle groups, but for most beginners utilizing and mastering the free weights is going to be a lot more beneficial. Free weights require that you understand your form and proper movements which can help you understand the basics of weight lifting and prevent making mistakes in various workouts. They also require that you use core strength to keep yourself in the proper alignment so sometimes free weight exercises can actually work the body more than some of the machines can. It’s good to switch things up, but start with the basics and then add from there.
Overtraining is absolutely a thing and it should be avoided. If you do too much when you are just starting out you can tire yourself out and keep yourself from reaching your maximum results. When you’re new to weight training in fact, you can see huge results from only lifting weights every other day, and then just alternating in cardio on the other days.
If you add on a lot of weight and try to hit it every day then you will just cause unnecessary fatigue as well as miss out on giving yourself the opportunity to recover. We have to take rest days otherwise the muscle has no time to repair itself after the work that we have done and muscle tears we have caused while lifting the weights.
Certain exercises are always going to be more fun (or comfortable) than others, but don’t skip out on hitting all the muscle groups just because it burns. You can create uneven progress that way which should be avoided for aesthetics as well as safety.
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About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.