Common gym mistakes for beginners
First and foremost, your gym should not be an intimidating place. If you are starting to focus on fitness, or wanting to return to form, it is better that you train in a comfortable environment, surrounded by a well-behaved and supportive gym community. That said, there are various ways you can help yourself and play your part.
If you want to be good to yourself (and others), here are 10 common mistakes to avoid in the gym.
- Lifting too heavy
Strengthening muscle comes from gradually increasing resistance. Even gym-goers who “lift heavy” will start with warm-up sets to make sure they avoid injuries. Start small – consistency is key.
- Training too often
Your muscles need time to recover. If you’re new to the gym or have taken a long hiatus, make sure to ease yourself into a routine. It’s easy to get a sufficient amount of exercise per week within three sessions.
- Not training enough
Take it easy but don’t lose your muscular and cardio gains by taking long breaks. There’s no formula that applies to everyone but too much rest can be detrimental. Try to work out at least once per week.
- Not getting enough sleep
Exercise benefits sleep and sleep benefits exercise. There is a synergy between the gym and the bed since you can work out harder if you have better rest – and deep sleep is perfect for muscle recovery.
- Overspending on PTs
For those who can afford the service, personal trainers are an incredible way of learning about your body and staying on track with your goals. That expense, however, is not entirely necessary. Check the DFC website for a wealth of inspiration!
- Overcomplicating your workouts
Don’t know your clean and jerk from your Turkish get-ups? Some of the best exercises are the most simple. With jogs, squats, push-ups and pull-ups you’re already hitting most major muscle groups. Browse some HIIT and calisthenics workouts to strike the right balance.
- Hogging equipment (or not putting it back)
It’s a simple kindness we learnt in school – take turns and put things back in their place. Most gyms need to put up signs to remind users to extend these common courtesies. We have to share these spaces so let’s help each other out.
- Not striking a balance
We’ve all heard the phrase “don’t skip leg day” – but we really do need to find a balance with our muscle groups. If you push, make sure you pull. If you work your upper body, make sure you work your lower body. It also applies with corresponding muscles: if you work your biceps, you should use your triceps too!
- Not considering hygiene
Now more than ever we have to be responsible. Keep wearing masks and sanitising your equipment after use. Even before the Covid-19 outbreak it was good gym practise to wipe down your bench, weights and other equipment – so let’s keep diligent.
- Eating junk food
We are told that weight loss comes down to the 80/20 rule – it’s 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. That ratio may be up for debate but weight loss certainly comes down to ‘calories in’ versus ‘calories out’. In addition, we need to put good fuel in our bodies for more efficient workouts. Simply put, you won’t feel great in the gym if you’re only eating hot dogs and nachos.
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