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Workout Tips for Beginners: Easy Fixes to the Most Common Gym Mistakes

woman stretching her leg with weights in the background
If you're new to working out, you can maximize the value of your gym time by avoiding common fitness pitfalls that often hold beginners back.

by Steven Auger

 

The greatest musicians in the world didn't pick up their instruments one day and magically play well enough to sign with major record labels. That takes countless hours of practice and dedication! The same principle applies when you first join a gym — most folks don't walk in on the first day and know everything.

If you're new to working out, you can maximize the value of your gym time by avoiding common fitness pitfalls that sometimes hold beginners back. Here are six workout tips for beginners that can help you power through your next sweat session.

1. Don't Walk in Without a Plan

If you walk into the gym without a plan, you could end up wasting some of your gym time. Create a plan beforehand so that you know which muscles you want to target, the machines you'll be using, and the order of your routine — this could help you avoid feeling aimless. It's also a good idea to log your workouts in a notebook or journal so you can track your progress! If you often exercise with a workout buddy, strategize together so you can both make the most of your gym sessions.

2. Don't Skip the Warmup

Your warmup is a key first step in getting great results; skipping a warmup may lead to injury. A good warmup gets the blood flowing and loosens the muscles. It can also help to prevent workout-related injuries. To get warmed up, try using a stationary bike for a couple minutes, spending some time on the elliptical machine, or incorporating a few good warmup moves.

3. Don't Forget to Concentrate on Form

No matter what workout routine you're following, you can set yourself up for success by focusing on your form. Poor body alignment (due to improper form) can stress your joints, lead to soreness or injuries, and can even put you on the sidelines for a bit. If you're not sure how to use a machine correctly, don't hesitate to ask a Planet Fitness trainer, who will be happy to answer your questions and teach you how to use different equipment.

4. Don't Do the Same Routines

Even when you find the machines and exercises you absolutely love, don't make the mistake of doing the same workout every session. Mix it up! Not deviating from your routine can lead to boredom or delay your progress toward your fitness goals. When planning gym visits, try to schedule an appropriate balance of weight training and cardio along with flexibility training and movements.

5. Don't Get Frustrated If There Aren't Immediate Results

Adopting an exercise routine is a lifestyle change — and a rushed mindset can sabotage your desire to work out. Remember, simply getting to the gym should be celebrated as an accomplishment! It takes time, dedication, and determination to see positive changes, so try to avoid falling into the trap of expecting immediate results. Trust the process and go at your own pace — you'll see results if you continue going to the gym.

6. Don't Get Intimidated By Others

When you're new to the gym, it can be hard to not be in awe of supremely fit folks. But remember, your journeys are your own! You don't know how often they exercise, how many years they've been at it, or whether they've worked closely with trainers to achieve their results. And you don't need to know any of these things! You can certainly admire your fellow gym-goers for their commitment and effort and it's great to learn from those who are more experienced, but try not to compare yourself to them.

Getting into shape is a marathon — not a sprint. Next time you're in the gym, remember these workout tips for beginners and keep making strides toward your fitness goals.

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.