Top 5 Exercise Newbie Mistakes

You've done the right thing and decided it's time to start exercising. But you just have no game plan or understanding of what it is you should actually be doing. Well you're not alone. I see some crazy things in the gym everyday. Or I hear people passing along exercise advice that just makes no sense. And once one person sees or hears it, chances are they're going to be making the same mistakes. Here are what I believe are the five most common mistakes made by the exercise newbie.

Mistake # 1: Too much, Too soon. I know. You're eager to get started on this new routine of yours. The more time you put in and the harder you go, the faster results will come, right? Wrong. You have to give your body time to adapt to this new workload. Repetitive strain injuries are very common among people who have tried to increase their workload in a short time span. That, and exercise burnout can also occur. Be patient and make exercise part of your lifestyle, not just something you're going to do for the time being.

Mistake # 2: Cookie Cutter Workouts. What works for one person is not necessarily going to work for the next. Just because Bobby Bicep's routine is giving him incredible results, it does not mean the same thing is going to work for you. We are individuals. Your new workout should be designed just for you.

Mistake # 3: Machine Reliance. I hear it all the time; "I do not want to hurt myself using free weights, so I'm just going to stick with machines." Well, I know this may sound crazy, but you have a better chance of hurting yourself with a machine than you do with free weights. Most machines are designed to take your body through the same plane of movement every single rep. It's the same movement pattern over and over and over. The end result? Repetitive strain injury. Have a qualified trainer show you how to squat or do any other type of free weight movement. You'll be better off in the long run.

Mistake # 4: Crunch, Crunch, Crunch. I'm sure one of your goals is to develop that Brad Pitt type of six pack. So you perform crunches in every possible direction with every type of machine. Two problems here. One, you're reinforcing bad post by constantly flexing your spine and shoulders forward. Two, it does not matter how many crunches you're going to do if your body fat percentage is up. So start off by working on some abdominal stabilizing exercises such as planks, and get your diet cleaned up if a chiseled midsection is your goal.

Mistake # 5: Cool Exercises. This one frustrates me the most. First day in the gym and a new member wants to do some wacky physio ball exercise that they saw in Shape magazine. Never mind that they can not perform one correct push up or bodyweight squat. Go back to the basics (squats, presses, pulls, lunges, etc.) and build your workouts around them.

I could go on and on, but I'm going to cap it at five. And as I said before, do not feel bad if you've made these mistakes. It's just time to correct them.