Fitness: Top 11 Newbie Mistakes
Top 11 Newbie Mistakes in Fitness: ”Don’t be that guy…”
-By Zino Ostendorf
All the people who get the results you want, pay close attention to what they eat. If you neglect a proper diet, you’ll probably join the club in the number 1 mistake of all.
1. Lack the Proper Diet
This is without doubt the most common made mistake. But don’t worry, this one is not just for newbies. This is something I had to figure out the hard way. For several years I worked out intense 4-5 days a week with barely to no results. Trust me, a well balanced nutrition plan, is so important in the equation. Got this locked? Then your body has the fuel, the building blocks it needs to take it to the next level.
If you’re thinking “I got this! Post workout protein shake right?!” than keep reading, you have much to learn. Eat, train, sleep. But more about that later.
Really, it doesn’t matter if you’re still living at home or you have a limited budget. No excuses! It is no problem you have to eat what’s served for dinner. As long it isn’t fries and burgers everyday, you can compensate with other meals just fine. And remember, good food doesn’t have to be expensive; chicken breast, eggs, cottage cheese and milk are great examples.
Sure, it is very badass to pound 450 lbs on the Smith-machine, but doing tiny 4 inch squats kind of ruins the image don’t you agree? The only exception I’ll allow is when your crush (you have been too shy to greet just yet) so happens to be there and you need to show off your manliness, of course. But other than that, use the weight you can perform the exercise correctly with.
When you are new at this, take some time to get to know your body
- What are your strong/weak muscle groups?
- How long does your body need to recover?
- Which excercises work out for you, and which not so much?
It is really pointless to do 300 reps or whatever. Start with a mass gain plan, heavy exercises that address multiple muscle groups at once like death-lifting. The best way to determine what is the right amount of weight for you is try. You should be able to do 6-10 reps, for 4 sets. Can you easily do 12 reps, increase the weight. Are you unable to finish the last set, take it a little lighter. And remember, proper execution of exercise is key! Do this for the first 4-6 weeks to get a flying start, and be sure to disregard the standardized schedules, because those are meant for the senior citizens with arthritis.
Training 1: squat, row, benchpress, overheadpress, curl
Training 2: deadlift, pull-ups, dippen, overheadpress, curl
Alternate these workouts and try to hit the gym at least 3 times a week, for example Monday-Wednesday-Friday. It is very easy to make variations, try different widths on your bars, tilt the bench or use dumbbells instead of the bar. Also change up the number of sets and reps. Be sure to finish your workout within 45 to 60 minutes. The body needs to refuel by now and you also have a life outside the gym.
This is what you want to do next time at the gym.
3. Bad Execution
When I look around in my gym I see many people struggle to execute exercises the right way. When you do the workout the wrong way you can sustain injuries ór you get little to no results. In fitness and bodybuilding it is all about quality! Make sure to train in a smooth, controlled fashion en be effective.
Don’t be too shy to ask someone for tips or some help doing the exercise. Employees can help you quite well with the basics, unfortunately often not more than just that. Especially when doing exercises like benchpress, deadlifts and squats, pay extra attention to form.
4. Train With The Wrong Partner
You’ve seen this yourself many times, two guys walk into the gym. One wants to get right to it, work like a beast! Very motivated to get that physique of his and her dreams, lose weight, get those abs or gain muscle. But the other one just came to show off his latest super cool outfit, discuss his awesome weekend or drinks Alligatorade at the bar.
Do NOT train with those people. Just don’t.
Many people want to train with a partner, but the fact is if that person does not have the same goals or at least the will to train seriously… You are better off alone. When you get results on your own, people will want to train with you eventually because they want what you have! Later on you will need a partner to push you past failure.
What counts for ‘the other guy’ counts double for yourself of course. When you decide to spend an hour of your day at the gym, make sure you use your time wisely. You’ve seen groups of people standing around the machines discussing and bragging. There are much better places for that, like a bar maybe? Just spitballing here. You want to do your reps and sets first with the proper amount of rest in between. This is a very important aspect. Remember, you should finish your routine in about 45-60 min.
6. BE… PATIENT…
Just before the summer there are hordes of men and women who want to get their bodies beach ready in 3 weeks. Big arms, slim thighs and that flat stomach.
Give yourself time to grow, you are changing your body. Sculpting your body takes time, but when the results start showing it is very rewarding and more than worth the effort. Think of all the looks you’re getting from the opposite (or same) sex. But be realistic, forget about weeks and think in months. If you do things right (by reading this you’re off to a great start) for 2-3 months you WILL see results. Eat right, train hard, sleep well.
There is no magic pill, no instant succes, no “no effort all the gain” miracles. Keep that money in your pockets, please. You can do way better things with that, am I right? It takes willpower, discipline and patience. Or you can stay at home, eat your potato chips and complain about how you get fatter every year.
7. Avoid Limiting Machines
Most gym’s are packed with these monsters; big machines that offers one guided motion for one exercise. Because every body is different, those machines can cause injuries to joints en muscles. Ignore those if you can. Use free range of motion exercises, free weights like dumbbells, benchpress and squat with bars. Using these attributes forces your body to balance, so often you use more than one muscle (especially your abs benefit alot). You get that natural look you want, because you do real moves.
Please keep in mind that safety does come first. When you train alone, don’t max out and use slightly lighter weights so you don’t hurt yourself.
8. There Is No Inside Chest!
It is a popular workout, the inside chest. In particular among those who want that man cleavage. Let me shatter that illusion for you. There is no inside chest. The chest, or each breast actually, consists of two muscles. One horizontal, one diagonal. That’s it. No need to do 63 different angles and corners.
You can do flat and angled (30-45 degrees) flyes to emphasize volume, do flat and angled presses for width. You want to do both obviously. For more detailed workouts and recommendations look at my other posts.
9. Keep A Fitness Log
You’ve set your goal. You’re ready to do the work. You want to see results. Well, to see results you need to know where you came from right? It makes sense to keep a log, start with your stats your at now. Current weight, fat percentage, measure the size of your chest, gut, arms, legs, calfs. This is the perfect way to keep track of your progress. Numbers do not lie, the mirror often does.
Do not weigh and measure every week, it is likely you’ll get depressed because the results are sooooo damn slow. Maybe you had a bad week and even took a step back. But if you do right, after 2-3 months you will notice significant change and trust me, that feeling… Is addictive.
10. Train Your Legs
Women mostly got this, because legs are to women what arms are to men. Thus this one, is mostly for men. Many of us don’t like to train the legs. You can’t really show off, it is not fun to do, it is hard, everybody has legs etc… A strong foundation is very necessary and you have to stay in proportion or you will be laughed at.
Squat. Squat. Squat. Learn how to do squats correctly and squat often. Your legs are very important to increase overall growth. Read more about this in my other post.
When you sleep, you recover. And this is when the magic happens, not during training. When you workout you are destroying muscle tissue, when you sleep you recover that damage and that is growth. So get a solid 8 hours a night and allow your muscle groups to recuperate for approximately 48 hours.
Now you know the basics, follow these guidelines and you’re off to a great start. Do you think you can add #12 or you have an addition? Leave a comment below.
Filed under: Fitness and Sports
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