Engaging in regular exercise can support nearly every aspect of your health and wellness. Muscles, joints, the cardiovascular system, respiratory health, and even mental health can all be positively influenced by regular exercise. 

But exercise is like anything else, and it is easy for beginners to make mistakes when first starting. And that is what we are going to cover below. And hey — even if you have been a regular at the gym for some time, check out the list anyway and make sure you do not have a bad habit or two that is holding you back. 

So, in no special order, here are some common mistakes made with fitness routines.

1. Not Having a Plan

Most people know that exercise can be beneficial, but that does not mean they know how to put together a comprehensive fitness plan that will yield them the best results they are after. How often? For how long? Which activities will you participate in? Identifying the specific answers to these questions will give you goals you can actively work toward.  

This is a big reason working with a personal trainer can produce better outcomes faster than going at it alone. Excellent trainers, like the ones we have at the YMCA of Greater Whittier, will help you build a plan that puts your goals within reach and help you achieve them.

2. Overdoing It

When you are first starting, it is common to want to see results soon. As in right away. And sometimes people tend to overdo it and get so stiff and sore that they cannot move, or, worse, they injure themselves and must pause or stop entirely. 

Remember, physical fitness is a journey, not a sprint. Take it easy and go slowly in the beginning. Focus more on stretching, warming up, and learning proper form and technique than lifting heavy weights or setting speed records. That will produce satisfactory results you can continually build upon.

3. Forgetting About Diet

There is a common misconception that exercise can “undo” a bad diet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Put it into perspective this way — the average fast food value meal has about 1500 calories. A 155-lb person running at a 10 min/mile pace would have to run more than two hours to burn that off. 

In general, a diet full of whole healthy foods like vegetables and fruit is ideal. Eat clean and lean sources of protein — plant-based or animal. Keep things like refined sugar, alcohol, and saturated fat to a minimum.

4. Not Enough Rest

Getting regular exercise, following a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep every night is a powerful trio that can boost anyone’s well-being. Unfortunately, sleep can often be neglected or not given the same priority as the other two. 

There is no getting around it, we all need good sleep every night — seven to nine hours for adults. Not only does it help you recover from your workout, but adequate rest supports every facet of our health including hormones and metabolism. If you want those things in balance, get your Z’s.

5. Going Solo

There is something about working out with other people that motivates us and helps us give just a little bit more. And the research is clear that engaging in a fitness program with other people is more effective than going at it alone.  

Working with a personal trainer, working out with a friend, or taking part in a class are all good strategies. We know that some people prefer to work out alone, and that is cool, too. But if you find yourself struggling with motivation or simply bored, mix it up and try a class. You might find a new interest with new friends. 

Get In Shape at the YMCA of Greater Whittier 

Whether you are beginning your fitness journey or simply looking for a facility to continue what you have already started, we would love for you to join us here at the YMCA of Greater Whittier. Aquatics, health and fitness, nutrition services, childcare, even youth programs — we really do have something for everyone!