Many of us see January as a chance for a fresh start. We have listed some tips and advice that may help you avoid common mistakes we see a lot of new lifters make,
Don’t go all in immediately
As you’re new to training and you are moving in new ways, you need to give respect to your body. Going as heavy as you can in the first few sessions will leave you feeling incredibly sore for the following days to come. Feeling sore after a session isn’t the only indicator of a good workout, it’s in fact a warning sign from your body that it’s been pushed past it’s tolerance.
Feeling a little bit sore is natural – you are stimulating the muscles at the end of the day. However, chasing that feeling each session of being unable to walk up the stairs is more a sign of damage than progress.
You are Unique –
Don’t copy someone else’s training or nutrition
With social media giving us instant access to thousands of people’s lives, it can be easy to copy how someone else trains and eats because you’re inspired by their transformation or you like how they look. There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from someone’s page (a recipe they may have posted for example) but copying exactly what someone eats and exactly how they train isn’t going to do you any favours. You may want to look like a bikini athlete but they have a very different body, training history and tolerance than you. Not to mention, some may be on steroids which they won’t openly discuss.
This is where seeking the help of a Personal Trainer can really benefit you. The role of a trainer is to create a training programme relevant to you and your goals as well as advise you on your nutrition, again what is relevant to you and your goals.
Plan your meals and your training
Nutrition plays a big part in achieving your goals (whether its fat loss, change of body composition, muscle building etc). Planning your meals for the day takes the decision making out of the process by the time your meals come around.
For example – meal prepping your lunch at home vs going out to Pret on your lunch break.
Benefits to prepping
- You know you’re getting the right amount of calories and macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats).
- It’s cheaper.
- It’s food you enjoy.
- Takes time to decide what meal to have if you’re paying attention to your calories (and when you’re hungry, you might be pulled towards something that isn’t in line with your goals)
- It’s expensive.
- Might taste a bit bland.
- Calories and macros aren’t as accurate.
The same goes for planning your gym sessions. Having a plan going into the gym reduces the chance of you aimlessly wandering around the machines. A programme also provides a great method of tracking progress in your performance and strength over the weeks and months.
Prioritise Strength Training
Goal dependant, prioritising strength training has many benefits and is a great place to start your fitness journey.
Aesthetics: strength training contributes to muscle growth, giving your body shape.
Performance: you’ll be able to move quicker, lift more and even have greater stamina outside the gym in everyday life. (Heavy shopping bags? No problem!)
Health: you’re less likely to get injured when you have a good amount of muscle on you. Muscles are the reason we are able to move – by strengthening them and becoming aware of your body you have better control with each movement both inside the gym and outside.
Set realistic expectations
Your goal may be to lose 20lbs. Don’t expect it to happen after a week of training. Have a goal in mind and remind yourself of that goal at all times, but ensure your expectations are reasonable.
Let’s take losing 20lbs as an example: you can expect to lose anything from 0.5-1.5lbs per week. This means to achieve your goal it’ll take around 20 weeks, which is 4 and a half months.
Being consistent in the most important part of any fitness journey – find a training style that you enjoy and consume the foods you enjoy. If there’s any part of the training or food you don’t enjoy you’re going to be seeking out that end date where you no longer need to do it anymore which can lead to you regressing all the progress made.
Article written by Claudia Hodgson