The gym can be an intimidating place (especially if you’re new to working out). And if you’re already self-conscious about your weight or appearance, going to the gym can even induce a certain amount of anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be like this. Going to the gym and working out regularly can actually become one of the best parts of your routine – something you feel good about doing.
As you ease into the routine of going to the gym, it’s important that you take the time to learn how to properly workout. This will (a) keep you safe, (b) help you maximize the effectiveness of your workout, and (c) prevent you from embarrassing yourself.
Stop Making These Mistakes
Whether you’ve been working out for exactly one day or you’ve spent the past several decades in the gym, we all make mistakes. Below are some common ones. If you’re making any of them, it’s time to correct your mistakes and move on!
1. Working out at Peak Times
Every gym has its own traffic patterns. There are days and times when lots of people file into the gym, and then there are certain parts of the week where it’s eerily quiet. You’ll have to get a feel for your gym’s “rush hour” and “dead” times.
As a beginner, or really anyone, working out during peak times is a big mistake. Not only will you feel like all eyes are on you (which they aren’t), but you’ll have to fight just to get a machine or piece of equipment. And if you have a very specific routine that you’re trying to follow, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to move from one exercise to the next without being interrupted. This can be very frustrating.
Ideally, you want to find a time when the gym is much quieter. This may require going to the gym in the early morning, early afternoon, or late evening. These times tend to be the least busy. As for days of the week, Fridays and Sundays are usually less crowded, while Saturdays are the most crowded. (But, again, it depends on the gym.)
2. Failing to Warm Up
Diving straight into your workout routine without first warming up could put your body at risk of injury. You definitely don’t need to spend 20 minutes warming up, but a quick five-minute stretching session followed by another five minutes of cardio is good.
3. Cardio Before Weights
While a quick five-minute jog is fine, don’t make the mistake of doing a full cardio workout before lifting weights. Cardio is crucial to a workout plan, but it can quickly zap your energy when done before weight-lifting.
You’ll end up fatigued by the time you get under the bar, which will hurt your form and limit the number of reps you’re able to do. For best results, lift weights first and then do your cardio session at the end. Better yet, alternate your days and focus primarily on cardio one day and weights the next.
4. Using the Same Machines and Reps
Your body is impressionable. The more you use a specific machine, the more your body gets used to it. And once your body grows accustomed to a particular type of exercise, it no longer has the impact that it once did. For best results, frequently switch up machines, exercises, sets, reps, and weights. This prevents your body from plateauing.
5. Incorrect Breathing
Breathing plays an important role in delivering oxygen and blood flow to your muscles (which are necessary for strength). Unfortunately, a lot of people use improper breathing techniques, which limits their ability to perform at high levels in the gym.
Next time you’re in the gym, pay attention to how you breathe. If you’re like most people, you’ve developed a bad habit of shallow chest breathing and/or mouth breathing. (This is where you inhale through the mouth instead of the nose.) This leads to increased stress on your body, muscular tightness, and even increased blood pressure.
To get the best possible results, focus on inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. (Your belly should inflate and deflate as you do this.)
6. Copying Others
Stop copying other people’s exercise routines in the gym. This is a bad idea for a couple of reasons. First off, they have a different body and unique fitness goals. That person might be trying to tone their muscles, while you’re trying to pack on muscle mass. Following their lead could actually set you back. Secondly, it’s possible that they’re making their own fair share of mistakes. By following them, you’re just compounding the errors you’re already making.
7. Failing to Fuel Your Body
Going to the gym on an empty stomach is a major mistake (even if you’re trying to lose weight). Always give your body the fuel it needs to perform at a high level. This means eating some carbs before your workout and drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.
Create a Fitness Plan That Works for Your Schedule
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not having a fitness plan. They just walk into the gym and assume that a plan will magically form. But, in reality, they end up aimlessly wandering around the gym, picking a few random exercises, and then calling it a day. They might feel like they got a good pump in, but they really didn’t get much done.
What you need is a fitness plan that works for your schedule and needs. And when you work with Nathan DeMetz Personal Training, you get access to carefully-built programs that are tailored to your every need.
Because our training programs are online-based, we have more flexibility than most other programs. Each program comes with unlimited changes to your training plan, unlimited changes to your nutrition plan, unlimited video reviews, unlimited stat reviews, and anything reasonably possible to make you succeed. There are no workout templates here. Everything is custom-made. Plus, you have direct access to Nathan himself, who has 20 years of experience and holds a variety of degrees and certifications in the personal training space.
Want to learn more? Please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.
Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.
To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!