Exercise is extremely beneficial to your overall wellbeing, but establishing and maintaining a fitness routine can be both challenging and intimidating, especially if you're unsure how to work out properly. To help you get started with a healthy, effective fitness routine, here are three of the most common workout mistakes people make and how to overcome them.
Avoid Doing Too Much or Too Little
Improvements in any aspect of your fitness are the result of adaptations. For example, when lifting weights, your body tells your brain that the focused muscle groups need to grow stronger to make lifting easier. Don't try to lift too much weight too quickly; a safe and effective workout routine is all about balance.
Exercising too intensely or too frequently — before your body is ready — could slow down your progress and even cause an injury. While the exact intensity will depend entirely on your overall health and goals, the general idea is not to overwork yourself or attempt challenging workouts too early in your fitness journey. Rest time between workouts gives your body time to heal and build muscle. Consider spending a few sessions with a qualified personal trainer who can teach you proper form, evaluate your initial fitness level and make safe recommendations.
Have a Plan
In order for your health and fitness to improve, you have to challenge yourself. This is true regardless of whether you're focusing on losing weight, improving your endurance or building muscle. Along with providing an honest and accurate evaluation of your health and fitness, a personal trainer can also help you design a long-term plan that will gradually bring you closer to your fitness goals.
Doing different exercises constantly will make it hard for you to track your progress, which is vital when it comes to staying focused on your goal. It's also important to note that exercises — even those that target the same muscles — may have different outcomes that might not necessarily complement your goal. Push-ups and the bench press, for example, both work your chest, but they utilize different muscles for assistance and focus on different aspects of fitness. These exercises can be used together, but it has to be a structured, directed effort.
Heading off into the fitness landscape without a plan can also sap your motivation over time. Your workouts must be regular to be effective. Fitness must be a lifestyle. To accomplish this, your workouts have to be scheduled and planned. It's unlikely that you'll build a sustainable habit with real benefits if you only occasionally go to the gym to crank out a few sets on whatever machine is available.
Don't Do Something You Hate
In keeping with the theme of regularity and sustainability, it's also important to evaluate whether or not you enjoy your workouts. This may seem fairly straightforward, but it's a factor that many people fail to think about when deciding how to workout properly for their situation. People very rarely stick to activities that they don't enjoy. And, when it comes to exercise specifically, a lack of enjoyment can translate to a lack of motivation, which will ultimately stall your progress.
When it comes to how to work out properly, there are many factors to consider. Start off by finding an activity that you truly enjoy, spend time learning the proper form and develop a plan that you can sustain for years to come.