Starting out fresh at the gym can be both very exciting and intimidating at the same time. Many people have all the energy and motivation they need to get the job done, however they are unfamiliar with their environment and hence tend to make many fitness mistakes.
Even as you progress, inevitably you are going to make some mistakes along the way, and that is what learning is all about. With that being said there are some easily avoidable things you should lookout for as a beginner which can really help you to not only gain muscle as quickly as possible, but to also do so in a safe manner.
Doing Too Much Too Soon
One of the biggest mistakes newcomers to the gym make is over committing, and doing way too much for what they can handle. Many people are too focused on their end game of losing 20 lbs or gaining 5lbs of muscle, and hit the weights really hard as a result.
Many newcomers end up with minor muscle strains, sprained joints or even worse actually tearing the tissue so badly that is requires surgery. Do yourself a favor and take things slow at the start to avoid hurting yourself.
Keep in mind that when you are first starting out, proper technique is what you should be focusing on, and not lifting as much weight as you possibly can.
It’s much less stressful and easier to make goals revolving around shorter gains such as an increase in reps done, or small increases in weight lifted. Shorter term goals are easier to stick to as well, setting you up for success.
Not Tracking Your Progress
One of the most difficult thing about exercise is putting all of that time and effort in to doing so, and not seeing immediate results. This can be really depressing and demoralizing, and is a major reason why many people give up on their exercise programs so quickly.
Tracking your progress is the best way to address this issue, as taking note of what you are actually getting done on a day to day basis will give you a much better idea of how far along you are progressing.
Being able to look back at that journal 3 weeks ago and see that you are now lifting 10lbs heavier on your dumbbell curls than you did back then for example can be a huge moral boost. It is also a great way to track your mistakes as well, helping you to avoid making the same ones again down the line.
Bring a notebook and a pen the next time you are going to the gym to track your progress. Leave it in your gym bag or in the car so it isn’t another thing you have to remember to take on your trip to the gym. It can really make a difference.
Having No Plan When You Get There
Going to the gym with the intention of working out without an exercise plan is another huge problem people face at the gym. Not going there with a plan in mind means that you are inevitably going to waste more time walking around trying to figure out what you want to do as opposed to actually getting it done.
Next time you are planning on going to the gym, know what routine you are going to be doing, or at least what muscle group you are working to get the most out of your workout.
Not Stretching Before and After Your Routine
Another huge mistake many people new to fitness make is that they neglect to stretch before and after they are finished exercising. Not only is stretching going to do the obvious in helping you to avoid injury, it also helps to improve your flexibility and range of motion as well, which are going to help your lifts.
Warming up isn’t so much about your muscles as it is your central nervous system. These nerves are what control these muscle contractions, and usually take more time to warm up as well as more time for recovery than our muscles do on average.
It may not seem like a good use of time, but stretching for 5-10 minutes before and after exercise is well worth it as far as reduced risk of injury are concerned.