Beginner Workout Mistakes to Avoid

As the Fitness Director at Mountain Trek, Cathy Grierson receives a lot of questions about exercise: when to do it and how often; what the best techniques are; and how to avoid injury. Recently she received a question that we thought warranted its own post follow-up as it’s important for most guests of Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa: “What are some common workout mistakes that all beginners should avoid?” Cathy believes this is a big and important subject and so wrote the following in the hopes we can all learn from it:

Only focused on Cardio

Mistake #1: Only Doing Cardio

Many people, particularly women, believe the antiquated idea that cardio will make them slim and strength training will make them bulky. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Building muscle helps to raise your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and create a favorable metabolic environment for fat loss. Plus strength training strengthens our bones, improves our posture and reduces the likelihood of injury.

Don't forget to stretch

Mistake #2: Neglecting the warm-up and cool down stretch

Jumping right into a vigorous workout without warming up puts you at risk of injury. Instead, take at least 5 minutes to warm up the body, using lower intensity movements that mimic the exercise you are about to perform. Avoid static stretching during the warm-up and instead use dynamic or moving stretches. Save the static stretches to restore worked muscles to their original length for about 5 minutes post exercise.

Don't forget to have fun!

Mistake #3: Forgetting About Fun

It’s really hard to stay dedicated to something that you don’t enjoy. Thankfully, there are endless modes of exercise and there’s certain to be something out there that you will enjoy. Keep your expectations realistic. You do not need to be an iron-pumping body builder or a marathon runner in order to reap the benefits of exercise. Think about the things you like and start with that. Is it music? Being outdoors? Spending time with friends? Build those things into your workouts to add some fun!