Archive for the tag - beginners

7 Strength Training Mistakes for Beginners to Avoid.

Beginners: Avoid these 7 common strength training mistakes at the gym!

It’s early January, and the gym is filled with new members trying to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. I admire their motivation and I’m impressed by their commitment to create a healthier life.

But if you’re new to lifting, you’re bound to make a few missteps. To help keep you on track, here are 7 common strength training mistakes – and how to avoid them:

  1. Don’t try to impress anyone. This morning, I was doing barbell bicep curls next to a newbie. He was curling with 10-pound plates on either side of the barbell – and he was holding his own. I loaded my barbell with 110 lbs of plates; the newbie added another 25-pounds to each side. His form collapsed and it looked like he was going to hurt himself. A competitive spirit is great – but we all started somewhere. Check your ego at the gym door; when it comes to working out, you have to do you.
  2. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions. Not sure how a machine works? Have a question about an exercise that someone is performing? Don’t be afraid to ask. Regular gym-goers are usually very passionate about fitness – and they’ll be happy to help you out and demonstrate.
  3. Don’t believe everything you hear. On a related note, many well-intentioned gym-goers will also be happy to pontificate workout and fitness advice that isn’t necessarily true. Unless you’re working with a certified personal trainer, don’t believe everything you hear. If you have doubts about something you heard, go home and do research. There are many scientifically valid studies on most aspects of exercise.
  4. Don’t expect overnight results. While you may notice some changes within a month or two, know that it takes time, energy, effort and dedication to totally transform your body and achieve your goals. If you expect quick results, you’re setting yourself up for frustration; be in it for the long haul.
  5. Don’t wing it. Walking into a weight room without a plan isn’t a good idea. If you’re new to exercise, it’s worth hiring a personal trainer – even if it’s just for 3 sessions – to help you put together a routine that targets your goals. He’ll help you determine exactly which exercises will work best for you and even ensure that you’re maintaining proper form and good technique. Or, you can always start with my Ultimate Guide to Working Out to create a comprehensive plan.
  6. Don’t be that guy. Yes, you’re new to the gym – but it’s no excuse for poor gym etiquette. For example, don’t pass in between an exerciser and the mirror. Wipe down equipment after use – and don’t rest on it in between sets. Talking on a cell phone while working out is usually prohibited and always rude. Putting your weights back after each use is a must. And, for the love of God, please don’t spit in the drinking fountain. Take some time to familiarize yourself with your gym’s rules and guidelines.
  7. Don’t forget about weight collars. Using free weights is very effective – but it can also be very dangerous. When first starting out, and getting accustomed to bench pressing and lifting, it’s not uncommon for beginners to lift the barbell unevenly. If the weights aren’t secured with a weight collar or clamp, a dangerous accident can result. Using weight collars is important for everyone – but especially for newbies.

Those are the top 7 strength training mistakes that I see at the gym – but the list is far from comprehensive. Anything that I missed? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

How to Overcome Fear of the Gym.

Feeling uncomfortable or intimidated at the gym is actually fairly common among beginners. With bodybuilders and seasoned exercisers and athletes, it’s easy to feel out of place or like you don’t belong.

I think the most obvious piece of advice for overcoming those feelings is to not care what other people might think about you. If you measure yourself by the feelings and whims of others, you are in for a very difficult life. Of course, not caring is easier said than done for a lot of people.

So I decided to make a short video with some more practical advice for overcoming intimidation at the gym. Check it out.