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Getting started is almost always daunting. If you’re a workout beginner, you’re probably focused on reaching your goals as quickly as possible.

With thousands of blogs, articles and videos giving you advice, it’s difficult to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Sometimes it’s best to dive right in. But, before you get too far into your plan, review these 6 workout beginner mistakes and do your best to avoid them while you kick butt at the gym.

6 common workout beginner mistakes to avoid

1. Doing too much too soon:

A go-get-em attitude is probably what got you off the couch in the first place. That’s why this workout beginner mistake tends to be common. Even though you might be experiencing a sort of high from all of the extra endorphins from your workout, it’s important to take the time to allow your body to recover. Stick to three tough workouts a week as you start out. If you feel like you want to do more on a recovery day, take a long walk. In addition, be sure to get enough sleep each night and add protein to your diet, which will help your muscles recover faster.

2. Only doing cardio:

According to the CDC, only 50% of adults ages 18 and over are getting the recommended amount of aerobic exercise. What’s worse? Only 20% are getting the recommended amount of muscle strengthening exercise. It’s a common misconception that the best way to burn calories is to focus solely on cardio. The truth is, a balanced plan that mixes both cardio and strength training will help you attain your goals and make you your healthiest self.

Only 20% of adults are getting the recommended amount of muscle strengthening exercise

3. Believing every workout should be long and exhausting:

Not only is this false, but it’s recipe for disaster. Hitting the gym hard every time you workout will likely burn you out and take you right back to where you started. While long endurance days aren’t all wrong, your workout will be more effective and more efficient if you incorporate intervals to your routine. Mixing high intensity intervals with rest periods, called high intensity interval training (HIIT), will allow you to burn calories during your workout and then continue to burn them throughout the day. Here are a few of our favorite HIIT workouts:

4. Ignoring the details:

Skipping warm-ups and cool-downs are a good way to injure yourself right from the get-go. Just 5 minutes of brisk walking or jogging will prepare your body for a difficult workout and lower your risk of injury.

Speaking of injury… more risky workout behavior is ignoring proper form during each exercise. Heavier, faster and harder are only better if you’re focusing on the basics of each exercise and ensuring proper technique as you build up your strength and endurance.

5. Not setting specific goals:

Saying ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to build strength’ are great starting points, but they’re hardly goals. Workout beginner goals should be both specific and attainable to ensure that you stick to them for the long haul.

Beginner workout goals should be both specific and attainable.

6. Switching the plan too often:

Workout beginners, especially, should try to avoid changing directions too early. It’s tempting to kick a new workout to the curb after a couple of weeks if you’re not seeing results yet. But in order to allow your body to truly gain the benefits of a workout plan, stick to it for at least 4 weeks. If it still isn’t working, then switch to the next thing.

No matter what your new routine looks like, if you’re a workout beginner, you’re probably not even thinking about some of these common mistakes. Avoid this list of workout mistakes that beginners make and approach every new workout like a pro, whether it’s your first or 100th.


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