As a beginner starting to weight lift, it can be confusing, knowing exactly who to listen to, what type of training is best, what supplements are needed and so on. If you do a Google search on ‘weightlifting for beginners’ you would come up with 577k search results. That’s just one search term! Try putting in ‘best way to lose weight’ or another similar, and there will be even more. Everybody has an opinion and everybody thinks there way works. So a word of advice, be very wary before forking over any hard earned money in hopes of transforming your body. The only thing that will transform your body is YOU. YOU. YOU. Now, that being said, let’s look at the top five mistakes made by those new to a weightlifting program.
- Complex Routines. For somebody just getting started, it is important to learn the basics. Learn the great fat burning, muscle building exercises such as the squat, bench press, deadlift, bent over row, shoulder press, pull-up, etc. You can get so much mileage out of these exercises, it is ridiculous. Learn these exercises and learn how to perform them properly. For the majority of people working out a 3 day full body routine will do wonders and give you better results than you ever dreamed possible, if, and this is a big IF, IF you apply yourself and push yourself to the limit. If needed, record yourself performing these exercises with your phone to critique later on. Get help from a gym veteran and learn how to do them. These exercises should be the basis for nearly every workout program on every level in my opinion.
- Relying on Supplements. Don’t buy into the glossy ads and the hype surrounding the newest, latest and greatest supplement out there. No supplement is going to help you gain 10lbs of muscle in 10 weeks. No supplement is going to increase fat burning 487%. There is no magic pill. By and large supplements aren’t necessary for 99% of the population. Don’t waste your money thinking you can take a shortcut. There are none.
- Weight is too heavy. In their enthusiasm to work hard, or perhaps trying to build their ego, a lot of people lift weight that is simply too heavy for them. You should be able to lift your weights slow and controlled. Once you’ve learned the proper form, be sure to consciously practice it so you don’t get too sloppy. Not only does lifting too heavy of weight not allow you to properly develop your muscles but it puts you risk of injury. I’ve done this myself, trying to go for a personal best on an exercise, and tweaked my back. Fortunately I was only out a week, but it could’ve been worse. Don’t go on the completely opposite end of the spectrum and lift light weight though. The weight should be challenging, but allow you to lift it with proper form.
- Toning. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “I just want to tone”. Usually that is said by a female that has this fear that if she lifts weights she will get big and bulky and look like a female bodybuilder. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t work like that. ‘Toning’ advocates say to lift high reps like 12-15 or even more with very light weight, and by doing so your muscles won’t get bigger, they will just lengthen and appear more firm. Such a bunch of garbage!!!! It just does not work like that. If you aren’t challenging your muscles they won’t be growing period. How do you get your muscles to grow? You force them to work. How do you do that? By pushing yourself. By lifting heavy weights. By progressing each and every time you go to the gym, NOT by lifting the pink dumbbells and ‘toning’.
- Bad Diets. Your progress can seriously be stunted if you buy into the hype of diets that advocate such garbage as completely eliminating a food group, or extremely low calorie diets. Falling prey to this type of nonsense will only delay you reaching your goals. The best way to lose fat and build muscle is to have a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet that uses all food groups and encourages the use of foods that have been shown to be healthy for you such as protein sources, fruits, vegetables and grains. A few people you can trust when it comes to diets are Alan Aragon, Tom Venuto, & Will Brink. Those guys know there stuff plain and simple.
On a final note, just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are no shortcuts in fat loss or body recomposition. If anybody tells you they have a shortcut, or a magic pill, run far, far away.