Being new to the gym can be overwhelming. You walk in and assume everyone knows what they’re doing, they’re super fit and it comes really easily to them. Of course, these assumptions aren’t true 99% of the time, but it’s something we all think when we’re getting started. Add to that that most machines look like they can do some damage if used improperly (and they can) and it’s not always super obvious how they’re meant to be used. Layer on all the conflicting and bad information we see about fitness and working out online and in magazines and it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll make mistakes as a new gym member. Here we’re going to break down the 5 most common mistakes that beginners make in the gym.
They Don’t Take Advantage of Fitness Consultations.
We get it. You’re new and that Personal Trainer with the great biceps is intimidating. But letting your misconceptions about trainers stop you from meeting someone who can get you started on the right foot and could potentially become one of your biggest cheerleaders would be a mistake.
A Fitness Consultation gives you a chance to talk to someone who is educated and passionate about how to help people just like you reach their fitness goals. It’s also a great opportunity to figure out exactly what you should be doing when you come into the gym so that you’re making the most of your time.
Even if you never plan to meet with your trainer again after that complimentary consultation session, you’re going to get a lot of good information from it that can have a direct impact on not only your results, but how quickly you start seeing results.
They Give Up Too Quickly.
People expect to see results overnight. They spend years engaged in the behaviors that made them unhealthy in the first place and expect to undo all that effort in just a couple of weeks at the gym. The worst part of this scenario is that most people who start a fitness program and give up, end up giving up just before they’d start seeing real results!
Think about it. Skipping one trip to the gym won’t make you fat. And likewise, one trip to the gym won’t make you fit. But just because you’re not seeing results doesn’t mean that changes aren’t happening. It’s just that it takes a while for those changes to be visible in the mirror, or for those changes to show up on the scale.
Some benefits, while not immediately visible, are instant. For example, when you exercise your body pumps more blood to your muscles, which increases your blood flow which can increase your brain function. And this is an IMMEDIATE benefit.
They Do The Same Thing Over And Over.
We’ve all heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. Similarly, you’re not going to get the body you want or achieve the fitness goals you’ve set for yourself by going to the gym and doing the same thing over and over again. Your body will adapt and the repetitive nature of your workouts will stop producing results. This is why so many people experience exercise plateaus.
One of the reasons for joining a gym instead of a fitness studio (see our take on that here) is that you have so much more variety available to you. Not only will this help prevent boredom from setting in (and making you less likely to stick with your program) but it will keep your body guessing and stop it from adapting to your workouts.
Get out of your comfort zone and try that group fitness class, hire that trainer or just learn a new machine. Your body (and results) will thank you for it.
They Go Too Hard Too Fast.
Unless you’ve been pretty active prior to joining the gym, you have to expect your body is going to experience some initial discomfort. You’re going to be sore. That’s natural.
It’s your body’s way of telling you, “Oh! This is new. I need a little time to recover from that.” Listen to your body.
Meet with a trainer for a fitness consultation and ASK the question: “If I’m just starting out, how much time should I be spending working out?” and then follow that advise. Going too hard too fast can cause a number of issues that derail you from reaching your goals from injury to increased recovery time.
They Try To Go It Alone.
We are social creatures. There’s no denying it. It’s been shown over and over again in a multitude of studies that people who work out with a friend, in groups or in social environments get better results and stick with it longer.
One study actually discovered that 95 % of people in a weight-loss program with a friend or partner finished their program, compared to 76%of those who went solo. The social participants were also 42% more likely to maintain their results.
Whether you find a social environment like Cross Training workouts or Group Fitness classes, or you bring a friend to the gym using your gym’s Buddy Program – consider making your solo act a group effort to see better (and longer lasting) results!
BONUS MISTAKE: Not getting started at all.
There is, of course, only one way to guarantee you’ll get NO results and see NO changes. And that’s by not getting started at all. Sure, beginners make a lot of mistakes and have a lot to learn before becoming seasoned pros who are reaching their goals predictably and reliably – but the good news is that nobody is a beginner forever.
Need a place to start? Try Elevate Fitness for FREE: