Saturday, March 19, 2016

10 Common Mistakes When Beginning An Exercise Program

When people come to me to begin an exercise program they are usually more than ready to get started.  They have been waiting for the right moment and want to get going as soon as possible.  I love the enthusiasm a new client brings to my training group.  Sometimes their enthusiasm gets the best of them because they overdo everything.  Sometimes they restrict too much food and don’t want to take a day off from the gym.   When you begin a new program don’t make these mistakes. 
1.     Doing too much too quick.  Take it easy in the beginning and don’t be afraid to do less rather than doing more.  This will lessen the likelihood that you will become injured and make it more likely you can work up to the harder stuff.  Don’t be afraid to ask your trainer for a modification for an exercise if you are struggling through something.  Some people just push through it and then don’t realize they overdid it until they get home or the next day. 
2.     Restricting your diet too much and losing weight too fast.  People are so motivated at first they eat perfectly and don’t allow anything they enjoy. Many times when I consult with a client I ask them how long they have been eating badly, if they have ever tried any “diets”, what did work in the past and why did they regain the weight.  If someone has lost and regained weight many times, gone on low carb diets, eliminated food groups completely then something is not working.  I try and talk more about portion sizes, adding healthy foods, preparing more food instead of eating out, and timing your food intake.  This type of discussion is more about adding good things in and not restricting foods.  Sure you want to avoid the “bad” stuff but what about all the good things you can have! This has to be something they can sustain for the rest of their life.
3.     Doing it alone.  Sometimes its unavoidable starting an exercise program on your own but if you can convince a friend, co-worker or significant other to do it with you that may help motivate both of you.
4.     Not drinking enough water.  When you start an exercise program you have to make sure you drink more water than you were before you began the program.  When you exercise you sweat, which causes water loss and not replacing it will make you become dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to a number of problems such as headaches, muscle loss, hair loss, skin problems, fatigue, and a number of other problems.  Being properly hydrated is essential for building muscle, losing fat, maintaining energy levels, healthy skin, and appetite control.
5.     Not getting enough sleep.  Sleep is when your body recovers and it is essential to help  More muscle equals less body fat.  Muscle is a fat burning furnace so you need to sleep to help it recover and grow.
your muscles recover and grow.
6.     Doing only one thing.  It is important to mix up your workout routine. You should have a good combination of exercises to help improve your strength, cardio, functional fitness and flexibility. 
7.     Not setting goals.  It is important to set specific attainable short and long term goals.  Make sure you document your starting numbers such as weight, fat percentage and muscle mass.  You can also do measurements and from those numbers set realistic long and short-term goals.
8.     Not keeping a food log.  When you are trying to lose weight initially it is important to keep a food log.  It’s important to see where you are at with all your macro and micro-nutrients.  It’s good to see how much protein, carbohydrates, fat, sugar and fiber you are eating.  Most times you will see you are eating too many carbs, too much sugar, and not enough fiber and protein.  Calories are good to track but more important are what type of calories you are consuming.  You will be amazed when you start tracking stuff.
9.     Not letting your body recovery properly so you can remain injury free.  This encompasses many things because there are so many ways to let your body recovery.  Taking one day off a week is good or using that one day for yoga or stretching only.  We discussed the importance of sleep for recovery so getting enough sleep is essential.  Using tools such as foam rolling, massage and chiropractic care can help you remain injury free.  Scheduling a regular massage every two weeks or once a month is a great idea! Foam roll several times a week and make sure you have a good cool down and stretch routine after your workout.
10. Not warming up properly.  Many people just jump right in to every workout without a proper warm-up.  Active stretching is a great way to warm-up before workouts.  Active stretches are moving stretches as opposed to static stretching.  This will reduce your chance for injury and keep you working out longer!

Don’t fall victim to these common mistakes people make when beginning a workout program.  If you are just starting a workout program be smart and  you will be able to continue your program for a very long time.

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