I made some rookie mistakes when I first started working out. When you start something new, it is often easy to overlook smaller details that might be very important. This is especially true when you’re excited about something because you are so eager to get going that you tend to ignore things.
This is what happened to me when I first started doing my workouts. I knew what I wanted to do to exercise, so I just did it. But I discounted some vital pieces of the workout puzzle, which actually set me back a bit.
I want you to get the most benefits possible out of your exercise regimen, so here are some top mistakes I used to make during my workouts.
I know you just want to get to the exercise portion, especially if you have a busy schedule and are trying to squeeze the workout in between other tasks. That was my problem. I knew I wanted to get 30 minutes in, but I didn’t want to waste 5-10 minutes on warming up.
Properly warming up is vital for your muscles. They need to have that blood circulation increased to warm them up, making them more flexible. This is especially important as you get older because water content becomes less, making the muscles less flexible – and more likely to tear.
So be sure to include a proper warm-up in your workout. It truly is just as important as the exercises themselves.
Just like warming up, I didn’t always take the time to cool down properly. Muscles need to be told that the strenuous exercise is ending and that they are clear to go back to “normal activity.” It is just as important to incorporate proper cool-down techniques so that your muscles don’t cramp and seize up.
One of the biggest mistakes I made was being inconsistent with my workouts. I was squeezing them in wherever I could, and it wasn’t always the same intensity. While varying your workout is important (see below) being consistent is the best way to achieve your targets.
Now, I know that kind of goes against what I have said in the past about any exercise is good exercise and to fit in whatever you can whenever you have a few minutes. All of that is still true.
But ultimately, those little bursts of exercise don’t add up to much. It is much more efficient to create a workout plan as a part of your daily or weekly schedule. Your health is important, and it deserves to have the time devoted to it. After all, if you’re not healthy, you’re not going to be able to get through the rest of your schedule effectively anyway, right?
And if you miss a workout, don’t try to cram it in and combine it with another one just so you get the “time credit” for working out. That’s a sure way to injure yourself.
I know, you find one thing that you really love to do, and you want to stick with it. Maybe it is just more fun, or it fits your schedule, but whatever the reason, you do the same workout every time. I did this with a few Beachbody workouts when I first started out.
But as I learned more about exercising, I realized that I was doing myself a disservice. Yes, I was getting workouts in for the first time in a long time, but I wasn’t maximizing the possibilities of the workouts.
To do this, and to really see results, you need to vary your workouts between both intensity and muscle groups.
For maximum efficiency and results, you should consider mixing up your workouts to include a couple of days of aerobic exercise (giving your heart and lungs a workout as well) with days of strength training. There are several methods to each, you just need to find the ones that work for you.
Even as they need to be worked out, muscles also need rest and recovery time. When determining the intensity of your workouts, you should also consider targeting different muscle groups.
This could mean doing shoulders and triceps one day, back, abs and biceps another, and legs still another. Just because you’re not targeting those muscle groups doesn’t mean that they’re not getting a workout (they are). It just means that the targeted groups are working harder while the others have an easier day.
While we are talking about muscle groups, I also want to mention weights. Again, it’s easy to get carried away and think that if you lift heavier weights, you’ll be more efficient, especially if you have limited workout time.
Using weights that are too heavy or not appropriate for the chosen exercise can be detrimental. Not only could it confuse the muscles as to what they’re supposed to be doing, but it could also cause serious injury. Start with low weights and work your way up to heavier ones if that is what the exercise calls for.
So, there you have it: some of the top mistakes I used to make during my workouts. To recap, make sure that you are taking the time to properly warm up and cool down, be as consistent as possible in the frequency of your workouts, and alter the types of workouts to give your body appropriate recovery time.
Hopefully, if you can learn from my mistakes, you’ll be off and running (or dancing, or weightlifting, or whatever your choice is) in no time!
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