Sep 28, 2023 Magazine \ Self Improvement

7 Fitness Don'ts For Exercise Newbies To Athletes
1. Don't lean on the machines

You may not realize how much your depending on the handle bars on stair-steppers, treadmills, ellipticals and other equipment you use to exercise. Do a posture check several times throughout your workout so you will get the most out of your time on the machine and avoid wrist and back strain leaning can cause.

2. Don't overdo sports bars and energy drinks

Don't assume that "fitness" food and beverages are low in calories or fine to eat in mass quantities. If you're doing endurance exercise - two hours or longer - you will definitely need to refuel. Otherwise, pay attention to what's in the bars and drinks you're packing in your gym bag and how many servings you're really consuming when you work out. Check in with a nutritionist for some healthy snack and diet options if you are relying on Luna Bars and Gatorade as meal replacements or for every snack outside of the gym.

3. Don't undereat before you exercise

If you are training for an event, doing endurance exercise, or love intense workouts, it is especially important for you to have enough fuel for all that activity. Be sure your body's getting the right amount of healthy carbs - vegetables, fruits, and whole grains - to help you maintain your energy.

4. Don't overstay at the gym

It makes sense that if you pay all that money for a gym contract, you want to get the most out of your membership. Be sure to balance the time you are spending indoors on the treadmill and in studio classes with outdoor activities. Not only will it shake up your routine a bit, you may exercise differently, more intensely, calmer, or longer when you are outside. Plus, you might just soak up some much-needed vitamin D while the 40% of Americans who are deficient are sadly experiencing bone weakness and higher levels of crabbiness (kidding...sort of).

5. Don't obsess over your abs

Of course, building a strong core is a key to being fit. But ignoring the rest of your muscles could throw your body out of balance. This can cause low back pain (and who needs more of that?), not to mention out-of-whack body image. Consult a certified personal trainer for ways to incorporate training other muscle groups into your weekly routine. You might just be able to capitalize on your fitness passion while re-framing your focus to toning, caring, and appreciating your whole body, not just one part of it.

6. Don't lift too much weight

Check your self-competition or need to one-up the lady lifting next to you at the gym door. Instead, get some good advice from a trainer or strength and conditioning coach to find out an appropriate amount of weight for your body size, fitness level, and goals. From there, gradually add weight, being sure to listen to your body when you are struggling to do another set or just get the dumbbell off the ground. Remember that being challenged is good but lifting to the point of muscle failure is not.

7. Don't take it too easy

If you've gotten bored with your daily treadmill session, don't ever sweat anymore, or don't really feel like you've worked anything out when you leave the gym, it may be time to amp up your exercise drill. Set some challenging and still attainable goals that you can work up to slowly, consider doing an interval workout to make things more interesting, or buddy up with someone who will keep you (and your routine) on your toes. Clearly, any activity is better than none, but why not make the time you invest in working out really worthwhile?

We don't all have the budget to hire a personal trainer or the patience to watch a video carefully enough to get all the how-to's we really need when we start a new workout. Getting the guidance of a professional will help you learn proper form, avoid injuries, and exercise more efficiently. While you are lining up a Q & A session with a class instructor or rewinding back through the fitness DVD, take note of these 6 fitness mistakes you don't want to make. [via and Outside]
Posted on 21 Feb 2009
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