Starting a fitness journey for the first time can and will be overwhelming, and it can be easy to get lost in the sauce. With so much information surrounding fitness, it’s no wonder many beginners start and quit just after a short time of starting a routine. But fear not, knowing what to avoid will help you in reaching your goals so you can move through your fitness journey with ease. Here are some common mistakes most beginners make when they start their journey.
1. Avoiding Strength Training For Fear of Getting Bulky
If you’re a fitness newbie, you may believe that the only way to fat loss is with cardio. While this is one way to reduce fat, there are many other ways you can move that will get you the same results.
Strength training is not just for bodybuilders, nor will it give you a body like one (if only it were that easy!). Bodybuilding athletes dedicate their lives to shaping their bodies that way, so don’t worry, big, impressive muscles don’t happen by accident.
Rather than building bulk, two to three days of strength training is going to help you build lean muscle and give you that muscle tone you’ve been looking for. Plus, it will help redistribute body composition, meaning your waist gets smaller as your booty gets rounder. And, it increases your resting metabolism! So you literally become a fat-burning machine! It takes more energy for your body to maintain muscle than fat, so you end up burning more calories while doing absolutely nothing (all thanks to strength training). Convinced yet?
2. Spending Hours on Cardio Machines to Lose Weight
If you’re trying to drop a few pounds, it may seem tempting to hop on the elliptical or treadmill for hours. But, despite what you’ve heard, there is no fast track to getting fit. And if there was one, this definitely wouldn’t be it.
Cardio is important, but it’s not the end all be all. Long, steady-state cardio sessions are also not going to sculpt the muscles you want, burn fat efficiently, or be sustainable. You may lose weight at first, but your body adapts quickly to this type of exercise, causing a discouraging plateau. There are many ways to incorporate cardio into your regular strength training routine by decreasing rest time or even in doing a vinyasa yoga flow where there is little to no rest. Even just 20-30 of consistent intense strength training 2-3 times a week will yield results.
3. Not Tending to Sore Muscles Correctly
Sore muscles are not a cue to stop exercising. In fact, post-workout soreness is just a sign of the recovery process and your body’s way of adapting to your new workout routine. The best way to speed muscle recovery is to get enough nutrients and protein in your diet, sleep, drink plenty of water, and move more, even on “off” days. Enters chat: Mobility training and yoga.
Mobility training and yoga on active rest days provide a low-impact workout that stretches and recovers your muscles after strenuous training. When your muscles are sore, they need more blood flow, which exercise produces. Mobility training should not be an option but a priority in your weekly fitness routine, as it helps to recover and reduce the chance of injury so you can progress in your workouts. There is a big difference between feeling sore from a new workout routine vs. chronic soreness that lasts weeks.
With that said, if you notice that you’re feeling sore for weeks on end, and it’s combined with fatigue and grogginess, you may want to take your workouts down a notch and/or consult your physician. This could be a sign of overtraining.
4. Thinking It Should All Click Easily at the Beginning
Change takes time. It will take time for your body, health, and mind to transform — this includes building and sustaining a new habit. Some days will be more challenging than others, but remember that this is all a part of the process and will progress you forward. Eventually, your new routine will become a habit, and you will find easier ways along your journey to do what works for you so you can stay motivated and consistent.
5. Believing Everything on Social Media Will Work For You
The beast that is social media can be overwhelming. With the number of fitness content surrounding what it will take to build a fit lifestyle, it can be difficult to become focused on how you should start and what that may look like. While it’s great to be inspired by online fitness trainers, if you’re a beginner to fitness, it’s important to remember that it is always best to start slow and focus on progressing on your journey based on your own skill level and interests.
No matter where you are in your fitness journey, understanding your own body in movement takes time and consistency. Learning what works for you along the way is what will make your journey your own. Successes, mistakes, and everything in between.