New to the gym? Before you hit the gym, there are three common training mistakes that should be avoided:
1. Working out too hard or too long as a beginner.
You’re excited and ready to do it all, a week’s worth of exercise on your first visit. Slow down, learn the exercises and equipment that will help you reach your fitness goals. Learn the correct way to perform each exercise. Your beginner workout should be a full body, head to toe training session and should not last more than one hour.
2. Skipping workouts.
Once you get into the routine of regular workouts, don’t stray from that program. Once you start skipping a session, it’s very easy to “justify” skipping another, and maybe one more, “I’ll get back on track next Monday…” but chances are, you won’t.
3. Not eating enough (or too much).
You need to eat a small, healthy meal before your training and refuel after your workout. But, you must eat the right kinds of foods, a balance of lean proteins, complex carbs and healthy fatty acids. Increased activity requires more calories, but it’s not an excuse to fill up on burgers, fries and pizza. You should also increase your water intake before and during training and replace those sodas and soft drinks with water.
Again, your workout should train your entire body using compound, multi-joint exercises that work muscle groups, not individual muscles. Compound movements (over isolation movements) are more beneficial, promote the most improvement and are more time efficient.
Reps and Sets
As a beginner, you should stay in the 12-15 repetition range and 2-3 sets. Slow and controlled movements done through a complete range of motion and without swinging weights and using momentum.
Rest and Recovery
Your full-body workouts should be done every OTHER day with alternating rest days. You should not train more than 3 days each week, no more than 4 MAX. Without adequate rest time, your muscles will not recover.
Sample Beginners Program:
After a minimum 3-5 minute warm up, perform:
1. Squats – 3 x 15
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2. Lunges or Leg Press – 3 x 15
3. Bench press – 3 x 15
4. Bent Rows or Lat Pulldowns – 3 x 15
5. Military Press – 3 x 15
6. Abdominal and Core exercises – Planks
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Your workout should be fun, and you should be motivated to complete it each time, as you begin to experience results, lower body fat and increases muscle tone, your motivation and enthusiasm will be renewed. If you find yourself dragging, you may be overtraining and need to back off the frequency of your workouts.