What should all newbies know before they hit the gym?

Going to the gym can be hard because getting in shape is hard work. For lots of people, the problem is that they’re not exactly sure what they’re supposed to do. The exercises, the equipment, and even gym fashion trends can be difficult to grasp.
Here are 6 gym mistakes that newbies should avoid:

Using machines only:

There’s nothing exactly wrong with machines as they do simplify many exercises, and are for the most part, easy to use, but its simplicity has its drawbacks.
One is that machines typically accommodate only average height ranges, making it tough to use if you’re too short or too tall, and some machines also follow unnatural movement paths, which can be uncomfortable to use.
Free weights allow you to work with better, more natural patterns. Also, one huge disadvantage is the lack of strengthening stabilizer muscles.
Machines already have you set in a fixed, stable position, thus you won’t need to kick in much of your stabilizers to keep balance and control. Free weights, in contrast, will require just that. Now again, that doesn’t mean machines aren’t good at all. But they do have their limitations and it’s important to integrate free weight exercises into your program wherever you see fit, especially if your goal is overall fitness.

Too many isolation exercises

Believe it or not, there’s more to being in shape than the size of your arms. These single-joint isolation exercises, like curls, side raises, and triceps pushdowns, only tend to focus on one muscle group at a time. Large compound movements, like squats, deadlifts, and shoulder presses, however, hit multiple muscle groups at once, meaning more work in significantly less time. Compound movements also allow you to work with much heavier weights, which is great if you want to build overall strength and muscle.

It’s understandable that most beginners will hesitate to lift heavy. However, not doing so goes against one essential fitness component: progressive overload. The concept that one must always increase the load placed on the muscles to efficiently become bigger and stronger. Sure, you might add on a few more kgs from time to time, but to reach past your genetic potential. You need to push your body out of its comfort zone to achieve meaningful results,

Not bringing enough water

Our body is two-thirds water and on average, we sweat off roughly 1 liter of water for every hour of exercise. If we don’t replenish the lost water, it can lead to dehydration, which comes with nasty symptoms like muscle cramps, fatigue, poor concentration, and headaches. The simple fix is to bring that water bottle with you. There’s really no reason not to and it’s better than relying on the gym’s water fountain. Also, if you’re doing anything super intense or long endurance, you might want to consider a sports drink or coconut water instead to help replenish the loss of electrolytes.

Not asking for help

As a beginner, there’s no doubt you’ll need all the help you can get. We have studies showing that people with coaching support are much more likely to be successful with their goals. It’s both a motivational and educational benefit of having someone encourage and help you along the way. I’m personally a huge advocate of working with actual professionals, even personal trainers, but I understand not everyone has the financial means to do so. In that case, put your pride aside and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.


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