When you walk into the gym for the first time it can feel a bit like you’re Bambi on Ice. You’re not really sure what you should be doing, or even what you should be doing it on…it’s a dangerous world out there.
But the good news is there are a whole load of resources, professionals and peers, to help you along the way. The Core™, our hub of diet & nutrition blogs and beginner’s guides, is just one of those resources, and a great starting point for gym newbies.
The gym is a land of opportunity. Make the most of this new adventure by avoiding these common mistakes when starting out:
1) Setting Unrealistic Goals
It’s great to set goals, whether that’s in life or when you train. It gives you clarity and a sense of purpose. But don’t fall victim to failure by setting yourself unrealistic goals from the start. Be both specific and realistic with your targets at the same time, and break them down into smaller milestones. Reaching a milestone means you’re making progress, and progress does wonders for the soul!
2) Fail to Plan. Plan to Fail
Have a plan before you arrive at the gym, don’t just wing it. Be clear in your head exactly what it is you want to get from your training session. Your plan might not be the best plan in the world, but it’s a plan nonetheless. A plan makes training more efficient and structured, which means less time wasting and procrastination…
You’ll get better at creating training plans with time, the important thing is to start getting into the habit of planning; full stop. Start out with good habits and the rest will follow.
3) Too Much Hollywood
It’s easy to get a bit carried away when you’re training. You see other people doing these fancy looking exercises and your inclination is to do the same. Don’t. Get the basic exercises and movements nailed first, then progress onto the hollywood stuff when you’re good and ready.
4) Not Enough Intensity
When you’re training, it’s all about intensity and focus. Don’t turn up with the notion of having an easy ride. That is not the path to Gains Mountain. Grab greatness by the scruff of the neck and push yourself every time you train, no excuses!
5) Forgetting The Importance of Recovery
We have a natural tendency to attack new things ‘all guns blazing’. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, when starting out at the gym, it’s pretty damn good. But you need to understand the human body needs proper rest in order to recover and rebuild. If you continue to hammer your body, without so much as a rest day here and there, you’ll quickly know about it. Rest between sessions is the time you really grow and develop – so don’t be afraid to relax now and again.
When your body takes a battering, your immune system takes the brunt of it. Try supplementing with a Complete Multivitamin Complex™ to take off some of the load.
6) Falling Victim to Nutrition Myths
Here are just a few:
Protein makes you huge
Protein doesn’t make you huge, it supports muscle growth and recovery, helping you become stronger. For sheer size, you need to increase your calorie intake too.
Protein for women
is also a hot topic, in so much that many women are put off consuming it through fear of getting big. But women aren’t made the same way as men. They don’t produce anywhere near as much testosterone, and it’s this hormone that plays a key role in building muscle. As such, women should feel confident when supplementing with protein that they won’t explode in size.
Creatine is only for bodybuilders
It isn’t. Creatine is one of the most widely used and researched sports supplements on the market. It’s for just about anyone who trains intensively and needs a performance edge. It increases your capacity for explosive movements, like sprinting and weight lifting, so is ideal for anyone pushing for a new PB, competing in competition, or simply trying to perform at their absolute best.
It really doesn’t, well, not unless you eat it excessively! But then again, that goes for just about every food going. However, when eaten as part of a well-balanced diet, peanut butter is one of the healthiest foods around. It’s such a flexible food too, perfect for breakfast, added to shakes, combined with fruit, or simply as a little snack on its own. Why not try some of these Peanut Butter recipes?
Take time to understand foods and supplements and don’t be afraid to seek advice from those around you before making decisions.
7) A Wonky Training Plan
You’d be surprised how often people say they want to ‘lose weight and tone up’ but when they enter the gym the only muscle groups they train are their arms and abs, neglecting the rest of their body. If you’re a newbie, start off with a full body workout. This should activate the most muscle recruitment and deliver maximum results, then refine the plan to focus on individual muscles and muscle groups further down the line.
8) Mission Six Pack
The abdominals are a muscle just like any other, and they respond in the same way. Endless amounts of crunches will not guarantee you a six pack. The key here is body fat. To truly reveal your abs in all their glory, you need to reduce your body fat to sub 10% levels – and you don’t achieve this by doing crunches – you do this through a nutritious diet, resistance training and metabolic conditioning.