It’s the year 2021, and the bulk of us are still making do with the time we have working, dining, and shopping from home. While gyms and public sports facilities continue to remain shuttered, those keen on kicking off their resolutions of weight loss and fitness have instead, shifted their attentions to yoga mats and free weights.
Home-based workouts are seeing an unprecedented rise, but these are unprecedented times that we all live in after all. And without a personal trainer on hand, we’ve all probably been guilty of making a couple of beginner mistakes while breaking a sweat. Here are some that you should take note of:
1. You set ambitious and unrealistic targets
Ambition is what drives us to bigger, more monumental achievements. While that may be true, setting the bar too high for yourself can spell trouble when you try to bring your fitness goals to life. Instead of targeting to drop 20 kilos immediately, try to set incremental goalposts that are actionable instead.
Otherwise, you’ll overwork your body into exhaustion, eventually giving up prematurely when you grow frustrated at the how long it takes to hit your dream weight.
2. You take the principle of calorie deficit to the extreme
Staying fit and healthy does not mean demonising the food you eat. For beginners looking into losing weight quickly, many often take to skipping whole meals or subsisting on a liquid diet to drop kilos. While it is true that weight loss starts by achieving a calorie deficit in your diet (meaning you burn more calories than you consume), you should never skip meals and starve to make this happen.
Remember that your body is reliant on calories to maintain basic organ functions. If your calorific intake drops too low, you may experience fatigue, exhaustion, and nausea. For reference, a normal, sedentary female should ideally be consuming anywhere between 1,200 to 1,500 calories daily.
3. You’re not tracking your workouts
Chances are if you’re working out from home, you’re not jotting down your fitness progress. Many of us find the idea of plotting down calorific intakes, the number of reps, or God-forbid the size of our waists, cumbersome. If you look and feel healthier, then that should be all the indication you need, right?
Wrong. Recording your workouts on a day-to-day basis helps ensure that the routine you’ve designed for yourself is delivering the results you want. Whether if this is in terms of how many reps you do or the kind of exercises you choose, being able to measure your progress grants you added insights into your fitness choices.
If you don’t see the results you’re expecting, this data will help you understand why.
4. You don’t warm up enough
Warm-up routines are arbitrary for many fitness novices. While they may incorporate them into their fitness routine, many warm-ups tend to only include a limited assortment of light exercises.
Unfortunately, your half-baked warm-up won’t prepare your body for a workout. A good warm-up routine should involve a wide range of movements and light exercise to prepare your joints, muscles, and heart, to take on the intensity of your workout later on. Not only can it prevent exercise injury, warmups also ensure that you’ll be able to exercise for longer intervals.
5. You think cardio is the only way to lose weight
A common misconception among beginners is thinking that cardio is the best and only way to lose excess weight. While it is true that cardio exercises raise your heart rate to help melt away extra blubber, weight training can do the same for your body too. The more muscle you pack, the easier it is for your body to passively burn fat as your basal metabolic rate (BMR) increases.
6. You focus too much on intensity and not form
If you incorporate weights and exercise equipment into your daily fitness routine, you may be inclined to press on hard and work up a sweat. There’s always a sense of immediacy that beginners experience in wanting to meet their weight targets, testing their limits with heavier plates, higher amounts of resistance, or longer intervals.
But one key aspect of an effective workout is making sure that you’re adopting the right form. Without proper form, any exercise you perform is most likely to go to waste as the right muscles aren’t being targeted. Worse still, the risk of suffering from injury increases substantially.
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