Fitness mistakes beginners should avoid

Maximise your success in the gym by avoiding these newbie pitfalls.

1. Exercising on an empty stomach
Workout on any empty stomach is a big no-no. If you opt for intense exercises your body needs energy for the workout and to build muscles. And the only place your body can get energy is from the food you’ve consumed. Doing exercises while you are hungry or low on energy is counterproductive as you will only feel more exhausted and it will lead to muscle soreness. It is best to have foods rich in carbohydrates and proteins, like egg, oatmeal, banana/apple slices, whole grain cereals, etc before you work out. Remember to keep the portion small as overeating before the exercise may make you nauseous. Also, remember to eat at least 45-50 minutes before exercising.

2. Skipping warm-up exercises
This is a common mistake. Don’t jump right into exercising without warming up first. A warm-up prepares the body for intense exercise. In fact, the more intense the exercise, the more a warm-up routine is needed. A thorough warm-up regulates the blood flow to the muscles, making them more flexible and decreases the chances of injury or soreness. Here’s a guide to a quick warm-up routine.

3. Just doing cardio for weight loss
Most people believe cardiovascular exercises are the best and only way to burn calories. That’s not true. Cardio done in isolation won’t give you the kind of benefits you’re looking for. You need to club it with other strength training exercises like squats, pushups or planks to achieve a healthy body shape. Strength training exercises provide strength and elasticity to muscles, tissues, tendons and ligaments, making you fit and ready to do high intensity exercises.

4. Changing your diet all at once
Yes, a healthy diet is as important as exercise for a healthy body. But changing your diet abruptly won’t do you any good. You need to weed out junk food and swap it with healthy foods gradually. Don’t be hard on your body by making the changes all at once as. If you suddenly revamp you diet, your body will not be able to adjust and crave what it is missing more. So make the changes slowly. For example, if you have decided to cut down on all things sweet, start with cutting down on chocolates, ice creams and desserts, instead of directly attacking sugar. Let your body adapt to this minor change first and then proceed further.

5. Forgetting to cool down
This is another neglected step. Heading straight towards shower after a strenuous workout may seem like a pleasant option, but it is not an ideal one. Cooling down exercises are important as they bring your body temperature, breathing and heart rate back to normal. They also redistribute blood to the heart, which helps to get rid of lactic acid that was formed in the muscles during exercise. Also, abruptly putting an end to your exercise routine may make you feel dizzy and worn out. So take another five minutes and do these stretching exercises to cool down.

Photograph: Creativeart/

Categories:   Lifestyle, Fitness


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