Happy New Year! January is by far the busiest time of year in the gym. New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight and get fit have been made, now it’s time to follow through. But how come the gym is so busy in January and then gets quiet again in February and March? It’s because most people make the same mistakes when they start up in January. Take a look at our 6 mistakes every gym newbie makes and commit to being the person who’s still there in June, July and August.
- Doing too much, too soon. The temptation is there – it’s a New Year and you want a new you. You’re psyched – you’ve been watching inspirational videos on YouTube, you stuffed your face during the holidays with the promise that you’d burn all off in the gym in January, you’ve created your iTunes Playlist “Workout” – let’s do this! But, if you don’t work out regularly already and go into the gym on January 1st and lift for an hour then jump on the treadmill for an hour, YOU WILL HURT YOURSELF. There are people out there who can work out for hours a day, every day of the week, but believe me, they worked up to it. Start slow – if you’re doing a new movement or exercise that your body isn’t used to, 30 minutes is plenty of time to feel that ache the next day but be able to go back to the gym and do it again. If you go hard, you will pull a muscle, twist an ankle, tear a ligament and be out of the game for weeks if not months. Try a new workout regime under the guidance of a personal trainer. He/she can set up a plan that works to your strengths and strengthens your weaknesses. Don’t be these guys.
- Not eating correctly – restricting your diet too much, too soon. Losing weight is not all about eating less. If you change your diet too rapidly, your body will go into starvation mode and start storing fat. Plus, if you’ve added the gym or sports to your routine, your body will need the nutrients to recover and build muscle properly. Cutting things like junk food and snacks out of your diet is always a good idea, but 3 nutritional meals a day are needed to sustain the average human. Don’t starve yourself!
- Not having the right shoes or other athletic wear. This is especially true for new runners. Shoes are important. In almost any sport, your feet are taking a pounding over and over again. Your shoes should support the activity you’re doing. There is so much information out there about what type of shoe works the best – it will overwhelm you. For the new runner, go to a running store (not Dick’s or Academy Sports – an ACTUAL running store) and ask them for help. They will let you try on different shoes and talk you through their pros and cons. Athletic gear is also important – you’ll realize that once the chafing starts. Baggy and loose clothes can be dangerous in a gym setting where they can get caught in the machines. Here’s what your gym gear say about you.
- Having unrealistic expectations. If your goal is to go from a beefy 400lbs to 250lbs in 6 months, you need to reassess your goals. It is so much harder to lose weight than to put it on so you need to be prepared for the hard work and create attainable goals to keep on you the right path to an overall healthier lifestyle. And your goals shouldn’t always be based on the number on the scale. Muscle weighs more than fat – you can be losing fat, gaining muscle and going down a dress size all at the same time. Consider goals like walking or running your first 5k, lifting your toddler without back pain, swimming 10 lengths of the pool without stopping – the opportunities are endless. Discuss your goals with a certified personal trainer to make sure you’re working towards them at all times.
- Doing too much of the same exercise – not having a balanced/well rounded routine. This is an easy pitfall for all of us. The first few weeks we do our squats, some dumbbell curls, sit ups, pull ups, run on the treadmill, etc. We’re feeling the difference, the (good) ache in the muscles that says we’ve worked out, but then it stops and we plateau. Your body gets used to the motions you put it through and those exercises are no longer as beneficial as they used to be. Or, another scenario, you want jacked arms. All you do is bicep curls, triceps exercises, wrist curls, push-ups, etc. 6 months later you can curl 40lbs but you’re exhausted after a 1 mile jog. That’s not true fitness. Working with a private fitness instructor will make sure you don’t fall into this pitfall and gain the all-around fitness you’re seeking.
- Not making a permanent change. Working out is a journey, not a destination. So many people lose that 10-20lbs and then go right back to their old habits and stop working out. This is the same as the yo-yo dieter. Your current habits got you to where you are today. Making a permanent change to your diet and fitness regime will get you to where you want to be and keep you there. You’ll struggle at first – everyone does – but one of the greatest things about exercise is that once it’s really part of your day to day life, it’s addictive. Your body will crave the activity and it will crave the healthy foods it needs to build muscle and repair itself.
It IS a New Year and if you want to make a change in your life, contact the professional personal trainers at Lyerly Fitness today. We’ll make sure you don’t fall for these 6 mistakes and put you on the right track for a healthier, happier 2015.