Whenever a fresh beginner finally musters up the courage to get in shape, they often go in with a great deal of motivation but very little knowledge. Unfortunately, this often leads to mistakes that all beginners, and sometimes even more experienced people, tend to make. For the sake of some of you newbies, here are five beginner mistakes that you should try to avoid.
Number 1: Going Too Heavy Too Quickly.
I’m a huge supporter ofheavy lifting for building muscle and strength, but often for beginners, the idea of going heavy precedes a much more important factor: doing it right. Immediately lifting heavy makes it difficult to practice technique and you end up doing an exercise wrong over and over again. Eventually, it leads to some unfortunate boo boos.
Best practice: go moderately heavy until you get the movement right. And since heavy eccentric lifting also tends to lead to a higher degree of delayed onset muscle soreness, going lighter first can cut down on recovery time so you can spend more time lifting and less time crying when you try to walk.
Number 2: Too Much Cardio.
Just like lifting heavy, cardio can be great, especially for your heart. But it doesn’t mean that you should ONLY do cardio.
One common wish I hear from beginners is that they wanna get “toned” and not be bulky. Thing is, there’s no such thing as being ‘toned.’
It’s actually a matter of building muscle and losing the fat covering it.
If all you’re doing is cardio, especially steady-state cardio, you’re only focusing on half of that equation: the fat.
Not only will you not build any significant muscle with steady-state cardio alone, it also takes a long time to burn any meaningful calories. It’s much easier to skip that frosty donut each day than run 3 miles each day.
If you want that so-called ‘toned’ look, then the goal should be a mixture of cardio AND resistance training.
That goes for you too ladies. Plus, you can still burn fat while lifting weights or with calisthenics.
Number 3: Not Getting Enough Protein.
It’s true that you can’t outwork a bad diet, but you also can’t outgrow a lack of protein.
Protein is crucial in all physiological facets with the most pertinent being its importance to muscle growth. Exercise alone won’t build muscle.
It’s just a stimulus. It’s the nutrients, especially protein, that feeds the stimulated muscle.General guideline is to get roughly grams per kilogram of your bodyweight, but there is research suggesting that more might be optimal.
Number 4: Not Getting Enough Sleep.
Without a shadow of a doubt, you’re holding yourself back from getting the best results you possibly can if you don’t get enough quality sleep. Simply going to the gym tired and sleepy will cause your performance to suffer, you’ll feel slower, and probably make more mistakes.
Your testosterone levels drop and cortisol levels rise, which slows down muscle building and recovery.
To make matters worse, lack of sleep can lead to an erratic appetite due to imbalances between the appetite controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. That means eating more and getting worse results. Simply put, don’t mess with your sleep. Get your 7 to 9 hours, and reap all of your gains.
Number 5: Getting All Your Information from One Source.
Yep, that’s right. Fitness can be an overwhelming topic and you wanna remove all of the confusion by sticking to one person or triangle figure, but that one person isn’t guaranteed to be a perfect fit. For example, as much as I like to promote eating in moderation instead of going low carb, it doesn’t mean that low carb doesn’t work at all.
In fact, low carb IS the best option for some to actually practice moderation. But you’ll probably find a better source than myself that can teach you how to do it.
And, if you look around long enough, you’ll notice that all “experts” have varying opinions on virtually everything! From the best method of burning fat, building muscle, best diet, and heck, even the best lists of mistakes beginners make! And, of course, you have the occasional guru selling you fat coffee and pee injections.
As the saying goes, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Certainly, don’t put your entire health and fitness into one voice. Look around, listen to different folks, challenge those folks when you disagree with them, myself included, and never, ever stop learning.
Got more fitness mistakes you’ve learned the hard way and want to let others know? Feel free to share it in the comments. End of the day, we all make mistakes, and from learning from our mistakes we can only get stronger, figuratively and literally.
As always, thank you for reading.