Everyone’s got to start somewhere but I’m sure more than one of you out there has committed one of these mistakes when you started out in the gym, or even still today…
6 Common Mistakes People Make In The Gym
1. Thinking only cardio can help you lose weight
In every commercial gym, there will be cardio machines. People often feel doing something new can put you out of your comfort zone and this is why everyone tends to stick to cardio machines. Why? Because it’s easy and doesn’t require much technique plus the chances of you looking stupid on a treadmill or cross trainer (apart from finding the start button) are pretty slim. This is why newbies in their first few months in the gym will stick to cardio machines. The weights area is usually left to ‘the bodybuilders’ Lifting weight can be very technical and complicated but if you never do it, you will never improve. It’s important to lift weights in order to progress with strength and general health. Lifting weights burns plenty of calories plus it decreases the risk of osteoporosis. Weightlifting can be scary at first, but I can assure you after a few attempts it becomes second nature and then, when you start getting your results you will never look back again.
2. Don’t track what you’re doing or have a set routine (program hopping)
When it comes to training it’s important to progress right? You don’t want to stay in the same place or have the same amount of strength for the rest of your life because that will get boring. You want to get better, fitter, stronger. If you stay looking the same and feeling the same when you’re training 5/6 times a week, then you’re obviously doing something wrong. This is why it’s very important to track and stick to specific programs over a period of time. When it comes to progress, being able to follow a plan and routine while tracking how much you’re progressing/getting strong is the best way to see the difference.
3. Setting yourself unrealistic goals
“I started the gym 1 week ago and I’m planning on having a six-pack next week.” Really? No, not really. It’s all about making things realistic, planning what you’re going to do and working towards it. Personally, I set a target figure of how long it’s going to take me and reverse engineer this and stay consistent. Setting unrealistic goals can be demoralizing when it comes to the dates you have in mind or what you want to achieve if you don’t get there. Set yourself short, medium and long-term goals. This will help keep you motivated. If you achieve a small goal, short term, this will give you something to look forward to. Your long-term goal could be ongoing or 3/4years down the line. Imagine trying to stay motivated for a goal that’s 1460 days away? Find ways to keep you going or you’ll just be signing yourself up for failure.
4. Eating enough food to maximize training
Eating is just as important as training itself. Not eating the correct foods can be very detrimental to your progress. The first thing you should consider is protein intake. To make it as simple as possible, Protein is your muscle building blocks and Carbohydrates and Fats are your energy and recovery sources. Being able to maximize the 110% effort you put in the gym, you will need to have a well-balanced diet. If you need help with how much you should be eating use our TDEE calculator to work out how many calories you should be consuming which will be dependent on your long-term goal.
5. Going too heavy too early
The majority of people think you have to go extra heavy with weights in order to build muscle. This can be the case in some instances but not always. If you’re new to the gym as long as you are stimulating your muscle through some sort of resistance training, your body will change, and you will develop muscle. Going too heavy as a newbie could not only damage you and cause injury, it could also affect your recovery time. When you’re sore from the gym, you tend to want a rest, which means fewer days in the gym. In turn, this could prevent you from progressing as quickly. Every heard of newbie gains? Well, that’s a real thing. Your body tends to change a lot quicker when you originally start training than someone who has a few years in the gym under their belt. This is another reason why it’s important to lift the correct weight, so you can maximize your newbie gains. Leave the heavy lifting for the more experienced stronger people. You should focus on technique and I promise you the increased strength will come in due time. Patience is the key to success. Nobody is born as strong as Eddie Hall. Chances are the guys in the gym lifting the biggest dumbbells have been lifting progressively over a period of time and built their way up to this strength. Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.
6. Focusing only on the “Mirror Muscle”
When I talk about mirror muscle, everyone knows exactly what I mean, the muscle you see first when you look the in the mirror. This is why everyone wants a six pack. But then when you get one, you realize it actually isn’t anything special, but everyone still wants one – CRAZY! Everyone seems to go through a phase of working the mirror muscles too many times a week and all this is going to do is cause muscular imbalances (talking from experience). When I first started training all I wanted was big biceps, so I trained my biceps 4 times a week, even at home. I bought a set of dumbbells just so I could do some bicep curls when I got home before bed. Because I was new to the gym they grew a lot and my arms started standing out from the rest of my body and I looked very disproportioned. This meant I had to spend the next few years bringing up other muscle groups, so I didn’t look too silly. Learn from my mistakes people. Having a good muscle group split in your training plan will prevent you being imbalanced and having posture issues in the future. Think of your body as a sculpture and all you’re doing each gym session is carving away to reveal all the hard work you’re putting in.
Bodybuilding is a marathon, not a sprint it takes years to build a physique you will be happy with but you will always want more, never compare your physique to someone else’s you are your own and you can only be the best version of yourself. Don’t wish for it work for it