3 Biggest Mistakes I Made As A Fitness Beginner
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HAVING NO STRUCTURE
Following a clear, structured programme is the key to unlocking your full potential.
When I first started in the gym, I would decide what I was training based on how I was feeling. Obviously a lot of chest sessions with the bros came out of this way of training…This random manner of exercising is less than ideal. It was incredibly hard to progress and this resulted in my motivation levels fluctuating massively. Without structure it was easy to simply end the session when I felt tired. Making excuses became very easy. As soon as I got a proper structure with a programme tailored to me, my training hit new levels.
Keeping track of the weight and reps of your lifts gives you a visual tracker of improvement. This will help keep you consistent and give you a base to build from. Motivation is crucial in fitness and what’s more motivating than hitting PB’s?
NOT TRACKING NUTRITION
You’ve heard it before but I am going to say it again, nutrition is vital to your success.
Keeping track of nutrition helps you to understand not only what is coming into your body but also what is coming out. I have always eaten fairly well and believed that I didn’t need to track my calories because of this. The following results were a lack of progression and often feeling pretty weak in the gym. This was something I couldn’t get my head around and I wanted to know why. When I started tracking my nutrition and macronutrients (macros) I found that I was actually not eating enough. Your body needs you to eat enough so it can use the food as fuel for energy. You also need to be eating enough protein to allow your muscles to grow. Tracking my calories then became a game changer for me and it is no coincidence.
Every day, your body requires a certain amount of energy to perform basic functions. This amount of energy required is known as your maintenance calories. To lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit. This is where you consume less calories per day than you are burning, and it is the opposite to gain weight. As a general rule, around 10% each side of your maintenance calories will give safe and sustainable results. (Find out your maintenance calories)
CONSTANTLY TRYING TO ‘CUT’
That six pack, ripped physique may be the end goal, but it can’t be the start point too.
Firstly, abs aren’t going to appear overnight. They take a lot of hard work not only in the gym but also in the kitchen. When I first started in the gym I thought if I kept myself in a calorie deficit I would achieve the Zac Effron, Baywatch body in a matter of months. This of course isn’t how it works. If you are operating in a deficit it becomes increasingly hard to build muscle mass. You will more than likely just tone whatever muscle you currently have, if you train hard enough to not lose any mass that is. Abs may begin to shine through but this will be at the sacrifice of size.
Lean bulking is possible but it is a process that will take a lot of time and is something that you will really have to stick at. From a beginners standpoint, putting muscle on initially should be the focus. You will do this by being in a caloric surplus, meaning you are consuming more than you are burning. This will give you a base to build from and your abs will look far more impressive from here.