Four Common Mistakes People Make When Starting a Workout Routine
Are you ready to start losing weight and get in shape? Have you invested in a gym membership and decided to commit to a new workout routine?
Many people who plan on losing weight and getting fit end up giving up on their goals shortly after they get started, often because they make one of these four common mistakes.
Read on to learn what to do — and what not to do — to make sure your plan to live a more active lifestyle is a success.
- Skipping the Warm-Up
A proper warm-up is essential for all gym-goers, whether you’re brand new or a seasoned pro. Warming up thoroughly before jumping into a workout doesn’t just prevent injury, it also helps you perform better during your exercises of choice.
When you take the time to warm up the muscles you plan on targeting with specific exercises — for example, doing some hamstring-specific warm-up exercises before doing deadlifts — you’ll have an easier time engaging them during your workout. Some professionals refer to this as muscle activation or priming.
Why should you care about engaging the right muscles during your workouts? Well, priming will also help you see results faster. Who doesn’t want that?
A good warm-up should include both some light cardio (walking or cycling, for example) to increase your body temperature and some activation exercises to get the muscles firing prior to your workout. You’ll be amazed at the difference taking ten extra minutes to warm-up thoroughly can make.
- Avoiding Weights
While some people make the mistake of lifting weights without priming their muscles first, others make the mistake of not lifting weights at all. This is especially common in women, who have a tendency to stick to cardiovascular exercise and avoid the weight room for fear of getting bulky.
Cardio isn’t bad, per se — it’s great for keeping your heart healthy and burning some extra calories. But, it’s also important to work on building muscle.
The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be. This means that you’ll burn more calories during and outside of your workouts — you won’t need to slave away on the treadmill because you’ll be burning tons of calories just going about your day!
- Forgetting to Stretch
Forgetting to warm up before a workout is a highly common mistake, but forgetting to cool down with a good stretch is right up there with it.
Many people give up on their workouts soon after they begin because they end up feeling extremely sore the following day. You can’t completely stave off post-workout muscle soreness, but you can minimize discomfort by stretching out your muscles when your workout is over.
In addition to minimizing muscle soreness, static stretching also helps increase your flexibility and prevent common exercise injuries like iliotibial band syndrome or ankle sprains.
If you’re someone who struggles with their flexibility or deals with a lot of back or hip pain, you might also want to dedicate one or two days a week to yoga or pilates classes. These will help you work on your flexibility while also burning calories and increasing strength.
- Not Working with a Professional
If you’re brand new to working out, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to begin. This is especially true when it comes to lifting weights and learning how to warm-up properly before your workout.
You could put your faith in some random fitness model on Instagram. Or, you could invest in a certified personal trainer who knows how to design a program that is tailored to your specific needs.
Working with a trainer also keeps you accountable and will help you see results faster. You won’t have to worry about wasted time in the gym — you’ll be able to walk right in and get down to business without having to figure out which exercises to focus on that day.
Regular exercise is a major component of a healthy lifestyle. But, starting and sticking to a new workout routine isn’t exactly easy. If you avoid making these common beginner mistakes, you’ll increase your chances of successfully creating long-lasting healthy habits.