Stepping foot in a new for the first time, after a long break or even a new gym can be intimidating.
What are these machines?
What does this do?
What dumbbells do I start off with?
Where’s the bathroom?
Plus, everyone likes to avoid looking like a “newbie”. Here’s 12 mistakes you can avoid to save yourself from the pressure and maybe a bit of embarrassment.
1. Not Using Proper Form
Not using proper form can hinder your progress and can be very dangerous depending on the exercise you do. If you must, do a bit of research and watch some videos before stepping into the gym. When I was unsure of how to properly do an exercise, I would step away in a quiet area (so no one would see as well) and watch a video or two.
2. Ego Lifting
Ego lifting can fall right into number one. If you’re trying to impress people, this is the wrong reason to go to the gym. Improper form and too much weight can make you look silly and people do notice that. Accept that maybe you shouldn’t start out with that weight and use a lighter one. With consistency and determination, you’ll get to that level and surpass it in no time!
3. Not Cleaning Off the Equipment
With so many people using the same equipment each day, that means a lot of bacteria and sweat has accumulated into the seat, bench, etc. Gym provide cleaning stations so that you can wipe them off before and after use. This helps decrease the spread of germs and even warts. (EW)
4. Not Using Collars
What are collars? Collars are the pieces that go on after you add weight to a bar to prevent them from moving and even “slipping off” of the bar. This especially important when you’re squatting, benching or dead-lifting.
5. Not Switching Things Up
Your body is highly adaptive. This includes the gym. Every few weeks or so, mix it up so your body “doesn’t know” what it’s about to do next. This could include doing more sets for one exercise and more reps for another.
6. Skipping Out on Nutrition
You cannot workout a bad diet. I repeat! YOU CAN NOT WORKOUT A BAD DIET! Stick with a lifestyle for long-term results. Don’t rely on weight-loss shakes, pills or fad diets. (More on this in future posts)
7. Do You Have A Plan?
Not having a plan is a recipe for failure. You’re mostly likely to lose interest and not give it 100%. Really spend time thinking about your goals. If you want to lose weight, tailor your workouts to that (Please just don’t do cardio). If it’s adding muscle, same thing. Having a plan will help you succeed! Plus Before and after photos are motivating and inspirational for others!
Meeting like minded people is always a good thing, however, if you have 20 minute break between sets, that’s a problem. It’ll also cause you to stay longer there, which you may not want. Have your plan, your routine and stick to it. Small talk is fine, just don’t look focus on WHY you are there in the first place.
9. Not Re-racking Weights (Where They Go)
Ever been to a messy gym with weights everywhere? I have and it’s a pain! It’s also a trip hazard! I’ve also been in a situation where a 30 lb dumbbell was NOT on the rack right and it fell, NEAR my feet. Please do everyone a favor and RERACK YOUR WEIGHT CORRECTLY!
10. Taking Too Long on Machines
We all may know this person. They are on their phones between sets without a care in the world. Please be respectful. If you need to use your phone, leave the machine and return at a later time so someone may use the machine. This is critical when it’s “rush hour”.
I know how exciting it is to get in there and go BEASTMODE! Unfortunately, that can leave your sore for days and you may not want to go back. Ease in to it and start out with a few simple exercises. Once you feel “seasoned” enough, add in more to your routine.
12. Not Drinking Enough Water
You may sweat during your workout. Your muscles need water to contract properly, otherwise they will cramp up or get muscle spasms. Don’t rely on “sport” drinks, plain water or an added electrolyte ( like Vega Hydrator ) powder will do the trick.
It may seem like a lot, but it’s really common sense. Use caution, don’t forget about safety, be respectful and remain hydrated!