Going to the gym can be tough, but not always because getting in shape is hard work. For some, the problem is that they’re not exactly sure what they’re doing in there. The environment, the equipment, the exercises, and heck even the fashion trends can be difficult to grasp. To lighten some of our fellow beginners and even some of you, seasoned gym goers, here are 5 beginner gym mistakes that you might want to fix.
1. Only using machines.
There’s nothing exactly wrong with machines as they do simplify many exercises, and are for the most part easy to use, but its simplicity has its drawbacks. One, is the machines typically accommodate only average height ranges, making it tough to use if you’re too short or too tall. Some machines also follow a natural movement path, which can be uncomfortable to use. Free weights are much freer, allowing you to work with better more natural patterns, also one huge disadvantage is the lack of strengthening stabilizer muscles. Machines already have you set any fixed stable position; thus, you will need to kick in much of your stabilizers to keep balance and control, free weights in contrast will require just that.
Now again, that doesn’t mean machines aren’t good at all. In fact, one of the best machines in all the fitness are the cable machines, but they do still have their limitations and it’s important to integrate free weight exercises into your program wherever you see fit, especially if your goal is overall fitness.
2. Too many isolation exercises
Yes, I’m talking to you, the one staring in the mirror while doing your 18 to sets of bicep curls, believe it or not, there’s more to being in shape than the size of your arms. The single joint isolation exercises like curls, side raises and triceps push downs, only tend to focus on one muscle group at a time, large compound movements like squats, deadlifts and shorter presses however, hit multiple muscle groups at once, meaning more work and significantly less time. Compound movements also allow you to work with much heavier weights, which is great if you want to build overall strength and muscles. Now, isolation exercises are still important, they are great at hitting specific muscles than you more work, and they’re more effective in controlling specific volume targets for any given muscle, but the point is you don’t stick with isolations only, do integrate compound movements too.
3. Only use light weights
It’s understandable that beginners will hesitate to lift heavy. However, avoid doing so, goes against one key fitness component; progressive overload, the concept that one must persistently increase the demand placed on the muscles, to effectively become stronger and bigger. Sure, you might toss on a few more pounds once in a while, but nothing even close to your maximum potential. You need to push your limits for results, especially if the goal is getting stronger. Studies repeatedly showed that strength gains are best achieved when lifting heavy, that means, you need to lift the weight you can only do maybe 5 or 3 reps max, or even just once. and then after you achieve that, try even more the next time around, but no more 40 rep sets, unless your goal is strictly endurance.
4. No water
One simple but crucial mistake many people make not only beginners. The thing is our body is 2 thirds of water and on average, we sweat off roughly one liter of water for every hour of exercise. If we do not replenish the lost water it can lead to dehydration, which comes with many nasty symptoms, like muscle cramps, fatigue, poor concentration and headaches, you certainly wouldn’t want during your physical activity.
The simple fix is to bring that water bottle with you, there’s really no reason not to and it’s better than relying on the gyms water fountain. Also, if you’re doing anything super intense or long endurance, you might want to consider a sports drink or coconut water instead to help replenish the loss of electrolytes, plus it has sugar which replenish energy stores. Just make sure you account for the added sugars into your overall diet.
5. You don’t ask for help
There has been a long build stigma of anti-social sentiment in the gym, unsolicited fitness advice is often discouraged, since no one likes to be told what to do even with the best of intentions, but such a contentious pride to be independent means, we suck at asking for help. As a beginner, there’s no doubt you’ll need all the help you can get, we also have studies showing that people with social indoor coaching support are much more likely to be successful with their goals. It’s both a motivational and educational benefit to have someone encouraging and helping you along the way.
I’m personally a huge advocate of working with actual professionals, even personal trainers with enough diligence, but i understand not everyone has the financial means to do so. In that case, put your pride aside and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Contrary to popular belief, gym fellows are more than happy to help, after all they understand how difficult it was once as a beginner themselves.
That was the five gym mistakes you might want to start working on as a beginner. i hope you left this article with at least some extra knowledge you can take to the gym. If you have enjoyed your reading, kindly hit the share button and happy lifting.