Have you decided to start going to the gym to improve your health, fitness, and self-esteem? Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step to change your life and achieve your goals. However, it’s not enough to just join the gym and do the first thing that comes to mind. If you want to get optimal results and avoid injuries, frustrations, and dropouts, you need to consider a number of aspects that can make the difference between success and failure.
In this article, we’re going to show you the 10 most common mistakes you make without realizing it when starting out in the gym, and how you can correct them with a few simple tips. In addition, we will give you some tricks that will help you improve your performance, your motivation and your satisfaction when you start exercising. At the end of the article, you will also find some frequently asked questions that will answer the most common questions about fitness and training in the gym.
If you follow the recommendations we offer in this article, you will be able to avoid the mistakes you make without realizing it when starting out in the gym, and you will be able to enjoy a positive, healthy and rewarding experience. So don’t wait any longer and read on to learn how to get started in the gym in the best possible way.
The 10 Mistakes You Make Without Realizing It When Starting Out in the Gym
Mistake 1: Not having a proper training plan
The first mistake you make without realizing it when starting out in the gym is not having a proper workout plan. Many times, beginners get carried away by improvisation, intuition or the advice of a friend or acquaintance, and do not follow an exercise routine that suits their characteristics, goals and level. This can cause you to not make the most of your time and effort, you may not work all muscle groups in a balanced way, you may not progress properly, or you may become bored and lose motivation.
To avoid this mistake, it is best to consult with a fitness professional, such as a personal trainer, gym instructor or physiotherapist, who can design a personalized training plan for you, taking into account your age, weight, height, physical condition, medical history, goals and preferences. A good training plan should include the following elements:
- The frequency, duration, and intensity of training sessions.
- The exercises you should perform, with their respective technique, number of repetitions, sets and rests.
- The distribution of exercises according to muscle groups and types of training (strength, resistance, cardio, flexibility, etc.).
- The variations and changes you should make periodically to avoid stagnation and boredom.
- The complementary and preventive exercises you should do to avoid injuries and improve your health.
If you follow a proper training plan, you will be able to optimize your performance, progress and satisfaction when starting in the gym, and you will avoid falling into monotony, frustration and abandonment.
Mistake 2: Not heating or stretching properly
The second mistake you make without realizing it when starting out in the gym is not warming up or stretching properly. Many times, beginners skip these two fundamental phases of training, either due to lack of time, knowledge or importance. However, warming up and stretching are two essential habits to prepare your body and mind for exercise, and to recover and relax after exercise.
To avoid this mistake, you should dedicate about 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning and end of each training session to perform a specific warm-up and proper stretching. The warm-up should include the following elements:
- Low- or moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, running, jumping, pedaling, or rowing, to increase body temperature, heart rate, and blood circulation.
- Joint mobility exercises, such as rotations, push-ups, and extensions, to lubricate joints and improve range of motion.
- Muscle activation exercises, such as contractions, lifts and pressures, to wake up the muscles and prepare them for exertion.
- Specific exercises for the type of training you are going to do, such as squats, lunges, push-ups or sit-ups, to adapt your body and mind to the exercise.
Stretches should include the following elements:
- Muscle relaxation exercises, such as massages, vibrations or jerks, to release accumulated tension and stress.
- Muscle stretching exercises, such as inclines, twists and rotations, to lengthen muscles and improve flexibility.
- Deep and conscious breathing exercises, such as inhalations, exhalations and pauses, to oxygenate the body and relax the mind.
By warming up and stretching correctly, you’ll be able to improve your performance, recovery, and well-being when you start in the gym, and avoid injuries, aches and pains.
Mistake 3: Not taking care of technique or posture
The third mistake you make without realizing it when starting out in the gym is not taking care of your technique or posture. Many times, beginners focus more on quantity than quality, and perform exercises incorrectly, quickly, or sloppily, without paying attention to how they are executed or the position of the body. This can cause you to not work your muscles properly, not get the expected results, injure yourself, or fatigue yourself more than necessary.
To avoid this mistake, you should pay attention to the technique and posture of each exercise you perform, and follow the following guidelines:
- Learn the correct technique for each exercise, whether with the help of a professional, a video, a book, or a magazine, and practice it until you master it.
- Maintain proper posture, aligning your head, neck, back, and pelvis, and avoiding curvatures, twists, or imbalances that can damage your spine.
- Control your breathing, breathing in and out rhythmically and in coordination with the movement, and avoiding holding your breath or hyperventilating.
- Perform the exercises in a slow and controlled manner, without using momentum, inertia or brute force, and respecting the full range of motion.
- Adjust the load, number of repetitions, sets, and rests according to your level, goal, and feel, and avoid overloading or underestimating your ability.
By taking care of your technique and posture, you can improve your efficiency, safety, and confidence when starting out in the gym, and avoid mistakes, injuries, and frustrations.
Mistake 4: Not eating a balanced diet adapted to your goals
The fourth mistake you make without realizing it when starting out in the gym is not eating a balanced diet adapted to your goals. Many times, beginners think that going to the gym is enough to achieve their goals, and they neglect their diet, eating what they want, without taking into account the nutritional needs of their body or the energy requirements of their physical activity. This can result in them not getting essential nutrients for their health, not having enough energy to train, not properly recovering their muscles, not losing or gaining weight according to their goals, or suffering from digestive, metabolic, or immune problems.
To avoid this mistake, you must eat a balanced diet adapted to your goals, which provides you with the quantity and quality of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that your body needs to function properly and to adapt to exercise. In addition, you should follow the following guidelines:
- Drink water before, during, and after your workout to hydrate and flush out toxins.
- Eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, for energy and blood sugar.
- Eat foods rich in proteins of high biological value, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy and nuts, to repair and build your muscles.
- Eat foods rich in healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, salmon, and seeds, to protect your cells, hormones, and brain.
- Avoid or limit processed, fried, sugary, or alcoholic foods, which provide empty calories and harm your health.
- Divide your meals into 5 or 6 meals a day, and stick to the right times and amounts.
- Tailor your caloric and nutritional intake to your energy expenditure and your goal, whether it’s to lose, maintain, or gain weight.
If you eat a balanced diet adapted to your goals, you will be able to improve your health, performance and body composition when you start in the gym, and you will avoid problems, deficiencies and imbalances.
Mistake 5: Not getting enough rest or recovering properly
The fifth mistake you make without realizing it when starting out in the gym is not getting enough rest or recovering properly. Many times, beginners become obsessed with training every day, at all hours, without respecting the rest and recovery times that their body and mind need to assimilate exercise, regenerate tissues and avoid overtraining. This can lead to poor progress, injury, fatigue, loss of motivation, or health problems.
To avoid this mistake, you should get enough rest and recover properly, and follow the following guidelines:
- Sleep between 7 and 9 hours a day, and respect your sleep-wake cycles, to promote cell regeneration, hormone release and memory consolidation.
- Rest at least one day a week, and alternate intense training days with light or moderate training days, to avoid overtraining and exhaustion.
- Recover your muscles after each training session, with techniques such as massage, contrast bath, cryotherapy or electrostimulation, to relieve pain, inflammation and stiffness.
- Use nutritional supplements, such as creatine, glutamine, branched-chain amino acids, or collagen, to improve muscle recovery, strength, and endurance.
- Engage in leisure and relaxation activities, such as reading, listening to music, meditating, or going for a walk, to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
If you get enough rest and recover properly, you can improve your adaptation, performance and well-being when starting in the gym, and avoid injuries, aches and pains.
Mistake 6: Not Varying Exercises or Intensity
The sixth mistake you make without realizing it when starting out in the gym is not varying the exercises or the intensity. Many times, beginners get used to always doing the same exercises, with the same load, the same number of repetitions, the same sets and the same rests, without introducing changes or variations that stimulate their body and mind. This can cause them to stagnate, not progress, get bored, lose motivation, or get injured due to overload or lack of stimulation.
To avoid this mistake, you should vary the exercises and intensity, and follow the following guidelines:
- Change exercises from time to time, and try new movements, machines, accessories, or training modalities, to work different muscles and abilities.
- Increase the load, the number of repetitions, the sets or the rests progressively and periodically, to increase the difficulty and demand of your training.
- Apply the principle of variation, and alternate exercises and intensity according to the day, week, month or training cycle, to avoid adaptation and boredom.
- Use the cross-training method, and combine different types of training, such as strength, endurance, cardio, flexibility, balance, or coordination, to improve your overall fitness.
- Have fun and experiment, and look for exercises that you like, that challenge you, that surprise you or that amuse you, to keep your interest and your excitement.
By varying your exercises and intensity, you can improve your progress, performance, and satisfaction when you start in the gym, and avoid stagnation, frustration, and dropout.
Mistake 7: Not measuring your progress or adjusting your plan
The seventh mistake you inadvertently make when starting out at the gym is not measuring your progress or adjusting your plan. Many times, beginners get carried away by the routine, and do not evaluate the results they obtain with their training, nor modify their plan according to their progress, their difficulties or their changes in goals. This can cause them to not know if they are doing things right, not to realize their achievements, not to correct their mistakes, not to adapt to their needs, or not to set themselves new challenges.
To avoid this mistake, you should measure your progress and adjust your plan, and follow the following guidelines:
- Record your training, and write down the exercises you do, the load, the number of repetitions, the sets, the breaks, the duration and intensity of each session, to have a control and a reference of your physical activity.
- Measure your results, and use tools such as the scale, meter, caliper, mirror, camera, heart rate monitor, pedometer or stopwatch, to assess your weight, body fat, muscle mass, strength, endurance, speed or flexibility.
- Compare your data, and look at the evolution and difference between your records and your current and previous measurements, to see if you have improved, worsened, or maintained your level.
- Adjust your plan, and modify your training according to your results and sensations, increasing, decreasing or changing the exercises, load, number of repetitions, sets, rests, duration or intensity.
- Set new goals, and look for new challenges that motivate you, excite you and make you get out of your comfort zone, always respecting your limits and your health.
By measuring your progress and adjusting your plan, you can improve your follow-through, feedback, and self-esteem when starting at the gym, and avoid disorientation, indifference, and demotivation.
Mistake 8: Comparing yourself to others or following meaningless fads
The eighth mistake you make without realizing it when starting out in the gym is comparing yourself to others or following meaningless fads. Many times, beginners are influenced by what they see in others, whether they are real or fictional people, and look at their appearance, performance, training, or diet, regardless of their differences, their circumstances, or their interests. This can cause them to feel inferior, frustrated, obsessed, injured, or put their health at risk.
To avoid this mistake, you should compare yourself to others or follow nonsensical fads, and follow the following guidelines:
- Respect your individuality, and recognize that each person is unique and different, with their own characteristics, goals, needs, and preferences, and that there is no single or ideal model of beauty, health, or performance.
- Trust yourself, and value your qualities, your abilities, your achievements and your efforts, and don’t let yourself be carried away by envy, insecurity, pressure or competition.
- Go at your own pace and style, and train and eat according to what suits you, what you like, and what makes you feel good, and not according to what others do or say, whether they are celebrities, influencers, friends, or strangers.
- Seek information and advice from reliable and professional sources, and don’t be fooled by fads, myths, false promises, or miracle products, which may be ineffective, dangerous, or counterproductive.
- Enjoy the process, and don’t get obsessed with the result, and remember that the important thing is to feel good about yourself and what you do, and not about what others think or expect.
If you don’t compare yourself to others or follow meaningless fads, you can improve your self-knowledge, self-esteem and autonomy when starting out in the gym, and you will avoid dissatisfaction, frustration and anxiety.
Mistake 9: Not Listening to Your Body or Preventing Injury
The ninth mistake you make without realizing it when starting out in the gym is not listening to your body or preventing injuries. Many times, beginners push themselves more than they can handle, and they don’t pay attention to the signals their body sends them, such as pain, fatigue, tiredness, lack of appetite, insomnia, or bad mood, which can indicate that something is not right. This can lead to injury, illness, depression, or burn.
To avoid this mistake, you should listen to your body and prevent injuries, and follow the following guidelines:
- Listen to your body’s signals, and notice how you feel before, during, and after your workout, and if you notice any symptoms or discomfort that alert you to a problem.
- Respect your limits, and don’t overdo it or push yourself more than you can, and adapt your training to your level, your goal and your feeling, and avoid pain, exhaustion or stress.
- Prevent injuries, and use the right equipment, footwear and clothing, warm up and stretch properly, take care of technique and posture, vary exercises and intensity, and recover your muscles and joints.
- Consult a professional, and if you have any doubts, queries or problems, go to a doctor, a physiotherapist, a nutritionist or a psychologist, who can guide, diagnose, treat or refer you.
- Take care of your health, and not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally, and find a balance between training, work, leisure and rest, and between body, mind and spirit.
By listening to your body and preventing injuries, you can improve your health, safety, and quality of life when you start in the gym, and avoid problems, ailments, and suffering.
Mistake 10: Not enjoying the process or celebrating your accomplishments
The tenth and final mistake you inadvertently make when starting out at the gym is not enjoying the process or celebrating your accomplishments. Many times, beginners take training as an obligation, a sacrifice or a punishment, and not as an opportunity, a pleasure or a reward, and focus only on the result, and not on the journey, and forget to have fun, to have fun and to recognize their progress, their improvements and their successes. This can cause them to lose interest, enthusiasm and joy in training, and become discouraged, bored or give up.
To avoid this mistake, you should enjoy the process and celebrate your accomplishments, and follow the following guidelines:
- Train with pleasure, and choose a workout that you enjoy, that motivates you, that you have fun with, and that makes you feel good, and not one that bores you, overwhelms you, disgusts you, or makes you feel bad.
- Train with humor, and don’t take training too seriously, and look for the positive, funny, and funny side of every situation, and laugh at yourself and others.
- Train with friends, and find a partner or training group to accompany you, support you, encourage you and make exercise more bearable and enjoyable.
- Recognize your accomplishments, and value every small step you take, every goal you meet, every challenge you overcome, and every result you get, and don’t compare or push yourself more than you can.
- Reward yourself for your accomplishments, and treat yourself, a gift, a compliment, or a round of applause every time you achieve something you’ve set out to do, and celebrate your victories with pride and satisfaction.
By enjoying the process and celebrating your accomplishments, you’ll be able to improve your attitude, motivation, and happiness when starting out in the gym, and avoid apathy, boredom, and dropout.
How to fix the most common mistakes when starting training
You’ve already seen the 10 most common mistakes you make without realizing it when starting out in the gym, and how you can avoid them with a few simple tips. However, if you’ve already made any of these mistakes, don’t worry, all is not lost. Below, we’re going to show you how you can correct the most common mistakes when you start training, and how you can recover and get back on the path to success.
To correct the most frequent mistakes when starting training, you should follow the following guidelines:
- Review your training plan, and see if it suits your characteristics, goals and level, and if it includes all the necessary elements for an optimal workout. If not, modify it or ask a professional for help.
- Check your technique and posture, and check if you perform the exercises correctly, slowly and controlled, and if you maintain proper posture and rhythmic, coordinated breathing
- Review your diet, and check if you are following a balanced diet adapted to your needs and goals, and if you are consuming the quantity and quality of nutrients that your body needs to function and adapt to exercise. If not, modify it or ask a nutritionist for help.
- Review your rest and recovery, and check if you are getting enough sleep and well, if you are respecting rest and recovery times, if you use techniques and supplements that help you recover your muscles and joints, and if you are doing leisure and relaxation activities. If not, modify it or ask a psychologist for help.
- Review your attitude and motivation, and see if you enjoy the process, if you celebrate your achievements, if you are confident in yourself, if you follow your own pace and style, and if you seek information and advice from reliable and professional sources. If not, modify it or ask a coach for help.
By correcting the most common mistakes when you start training, you can recover and get back on the path to success, and you can enjoy a positive, healthy and rewarding experience when you start in the gym.
The tricks that will help you improve when you start exercising
You’ve already seen the 10 most common mistakes you make without realizing it when starting out in the gym, and how you can avoid and correct them with a few simple tips. But if you want to go further, and further improve your performance, motivation and satisfaction when you start exercising, we are going to show you some tricks that will help you achieve it. These tricks are small details that can make all the difference, and that will make training easier and more enjoyable.
To get better when you start exercising, you should follow the following tricks:
- Find a partner or a trainer who motivates and supports you, and who will accompany you, encourage you, guide you and make the exercise more bearable and fun.
- Choose a time and place that is comfortable and pleasant for you, and that suits your pace of life, your availability and your preferences, and that makes it easier for you to train.
- Wear appropriate and comfortable clothing and footwear that fit your size, shape, activity and climate, and allow you to move freely and safely.
- Listen to music that cheers you up and gives you energy, and that you like, motivate, relax, and make exercise more enjoyable and fun.
- Hydrate well before, during, and after training, and drink water or isotonic drinks to hydrate, eliminate toxins, and replenish electrolytes.
- Use an app or device that helps you track your activity and performance, showing you data such as distance, speed, time, calories, heart rate, or oxygen level, and allowing you to track, analyze, and share your workout.
- Reward yourself with something you like after each session, and treat yourself, a gift, a compliment, or a round of applause every time you achieve something you’ve set out to do, and celebrate your victories with pride and satisfaction.
- Seek information and advice from reliable and professional sources, and don’t be fooled by fads, myths, false promises, or miracle products, which may be ineffective, dangerous, or counterproductive.
- Be positive and confident in your abilities, and value your qualities, your abilities, your achievements, and your efforts, and don’t get carried away by envy, insecurity, pressure, or competition.
- Have fun and don’t obsess over the results, and remember that the important thing is to feel good about yourself and what you do, and not what others think or expect.
If you follow these tricks, you’ll be able to get better when you start working out, and you’ll be able to enjoy a positive, healthy, and rewarding experience when you start at the gym.
In this article, we’ve shown you the 10 most common mistakes you make without realizing it when starting out in the gym, and how you can avoid and correct them with a few simple tips. In addition, we have given you some tricks that will help you improve when you start exercising. By following these recommendations, you’ll be able to optimize your performance, progress, and satisfaction when starting out in the gym, and you’ll be able to enjoy a positive, healthy, and rewarding experience.
We hope you found this article useful and interesting, and that it encouraged you to get started in the gym in the best possible way. If you have any questions, queries or suggestions, do not hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us by email. We will be happy to assist and help you. And if you liked this article, share it with your friends and family, so they too can benefit from these tips and tricks.
Thank you for reading this article, and remember: start in the gym on the right foot, and see how your life changes!
Frequently asked questions
What is fitness and what are its benefits?
Fitness is a physical activity that aims to improve people’s physical condition and health, by developing different abilities, such as strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination or balance. Fitness has multiple benefits, both physical, mental and emotional, including:
- Improve the functioning of the cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular, bone and joint systems.
- Prevent and combat diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, osteoporosis or depression.
- Improve body composition, reducing fat and increasing muscle mass.
- Improve body image, self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Improve mood, joy and happiness.
- Improve intellectual performance, memory, and concentration.
- Improve social relationships, communication and integration.
What kind of exercises can be done in the gym?
Different types of exercises can be done in the gym, depending on the goal, level and preference of each person. Some of the most common types of exercises are:
- Strength exercises, which involve lifting weights, either free or on machines, to increase the strength, power, and volume of the muscles.
- Resistance exercises, which consist of maintaining physical exertion for a long time, whether on a treadmill, bicycle, elliptical or rowing, to improve endurance, aerobic capacity and fat burning.
- Cardio exercises, which consist of performing fast and repetitive movements, either in group classes, such as aerobics, zumba, spinning or body pump, or in circuits, to improve endurance, anaerobic capacity and calorie burning.
- Flexibility exercises, which consist of stretching muscles and joints, either in group classes, such as yoga, pilates or stretching, or individually, to improve flexibility, mobility and relaxation.
- Balance exercises, which consist of maintaining the stability of the body on an unstable surface, either in group classes, such as fitball, bosu or trx, or individually, to improve balance, coordination and proprioception.
These are just a few examples of the types of exercises that can be done at the gym, but there are many more. The important thing is that you choose the ones that you like the most, that suit you and that you have fun, and that you combine them in a balanced and varied way, to work your body in a comprehensive way and avoid boredom and stagnation.
What frequency and intensity of training is recommended for beginners?
The frequency and intensity of training that is recommended for beginners depends on several factors, such as each person’s age, weight, fitness, goal, and availability. However, a general guideline can be established to guide you from getting started in the gym safely and effectively. This guideline is as follows:
- Frequency: it is recommended to train between 3 and 5 days a week, alternating training days with rest days, to allow recovery and adaptation of the body.
- Duration: it is recommended to train between 45 and 60 minutes per session, distributing the time between warm-up, specific training and stretching, to avoid exhaustion and overtraining.
- Intensity: It is recommended to train between 50 and 80% of the maximum heart rate, which can be calculated by subtracting the age from 220, to improve aerobic and anaerobic capacity, and calorie burn.
These are just a few general recommendations, which can be modified according to the characteristics, objectives and feelings of each person. The important thing is that the training is adequate, progressive and personalized, and that it adapts to the needs and preferences of each one.
What Supplements Can You Take to Improve Performance and Recovery?
Supplements are products that can be taken to supplement your diet and improve performance and recovery when starting out in the gym. However, they are not essential or miraculous, and should only be taken under the supervision of a professional, and if the diet is not enough to cover the nutritional and energy needs of each person. Some of the most common and effective supplements are:
- Creatine, which is a substance found in muscle, helps increase muscle strength, power, and volume, and improve recovery.
- Glutamine, which is an amino acid found in muscle, helps prevent muscle catabolism, improve recovery, and strengthen the immune system.
- Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are three essential amino acids found in proteins, help prevent muscle catabolism, stimulate protein synthesis, and improve recovery.
- Collagen, which is a protein found in connective tissues, helps prevent and repair joint, tendon and muscle injuries, and improve skin elasticity and hydration.
- Protein shakes, which are products that provide proteins of high biological value, and that help to meet protein needs, repair and build muscles, and improve recovery.
These are just a few examples of supplements that can be taken to improve performance and recovery when starting out in the gym, but there are many more. The important thing is that you consult with a professional before taking them, and that you use them in moderation and judiciously, and not as a substitute for a balanced and varied diet.