In pursuing physical perfection, nothing brings on the pressure quite like needing to have a bikini-ready body. Or trying to figure out what exercises will help you get into a healthy weight range. Or what about the stress of fitting into that dress in your wardrobe – even though you knew it was a size too small when you bought it?
The truth is, getting fit and being healthier requires a lot of effort, patience, and consistency. So, when it comes to getting to your ideal shape, a lack of experience and ‘quick fix’ diets are bound to trip up your progress.
But don’t beat yourself up over it. We’ve all been there. Most of these fitness faux pas’ are harmless and can be corrected. For many beginners, the most difficult part is getting started. And it looks like you’re already further than most just by reading this post. So, here are 5 mistakes fitness rookies make and how you can avoid them.
1. Not Setting Any Goals
It’s all about setting intentions, not expectations. Expectations can make you rush the process and set unrealistic standards. Setting intentions for your fitness journey means making a plan that will help you track your progress.
Not doing so is as aimless as going shopping without a grocery list. When you go without a shopping list, you’ll walk around the store for hours picking up things you don’t need. But if you head out with a list, you will use your time effectively and only get the things necessary. And the same principle can be applied to your fitness.
2. Forgetting to Stretch or Warm-Up
It’s a basic rule, so a lot of beginners tend to forget about it or skip it altogether. But skipping a warmup is probably one of the worst fitness mistakes you can make. Always begin your workout with some dynamic stretches that will prepare your muscles, joints, and nervous system for the task at hand.
Stretching is crucial in improving your flexibility and most importantly reduces your risk of injury. It’s also best not to skip out on the cool-down session of your workout. The cool-down stretches will help improve blood flow and make you feel less stiff or sore the next day.
3. Doing Too Much Too Soon
While we’re on the subject of setting goals, be sure to note that these goals should only give you an outline of what to work towards. Many beginners tend to get overzealous about the goals they have set and do far too much when they start. While you may feel like you aren’t working hard enough at the beginning, it’s important to remember that it’s a marathon and not a race.
The myth that surrounds overtraining is that by doing more you’ll reach your goal faster, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. When you overtrain, you experience longer muscle soreness and increase your risk of injury.
4. Not Including Enough Variety In Your Workouts
When you do the same workout routine over and over again you’ll get stuck in what we call a ‘fitness rut’. Don’t be ashamed if you do, it’s something that is easy to fall into. Especially if you’ve spoken with a personal trainer and had them tailor make a workout plan for you.
But if you keep doing the same exercises your body will adapt to the routine and your progress will plateau. Once this happens, your body is begging for more of a challenge in your plan. By staying in a rut, you will only be developing certain muscle groups while other areas will remain woefully underdeveloped.
5. Failing To Eat A Healthy Diet
This may be hard to hear for many fitness rookies but…no amount of exercise can ever compensate for a bad diet.
Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. Far too many beginners believe going to the gym will fix all of their problems but to achieve your fitness goals, you have to eat a healthy diet. So be sure to give yourself the appropriate nutrients it needs to keep your body healthy and happy.
These mistakes may seem minor, but they can drastically impact your progress. Also bear in mind that our bodies are always changing, so be forgiving. Instilling this mindset before you get started will unlock the motivation you need to stick to your plan.