Article Common mistakes when starting out as a beginner & how to prevent them!


Well-Known Member
4 Jul 2011
Common mistakes when starting out as a beginner & how to prevent them!
A lot more people nowadays are starting to see the benefits of looking good, living healthy and being stronger. Starting out can be a daunting task and it’s very easy for people to follow the wrong information, myths and generally doing it wrong and this can lead to more bad than good. So the best solution would be to learn everything correctly the first time round so you don’t make the same mistakes.
Listed below are some of the common mistakes that people make (that I made too when I started out) and how to deal with them.

DON’T follow routines or exercise techniques that bodybuilders/celebrities use.
A lot of times people see a film or a workout routine in a magazine and immediately start following what they do. And this just won’t work at all.
Bodybuilders have been working out for years and it takes them years to find out exactly what their bodies will respond to by trial and error.
Their bodies are used to intense techniques and very heavy weights. Celebrities have their routines personally designed for them by experts.
Your body is completely different. Following exercise methods that are designed for experts will not work for you; injuring yourself is very likely. Your muscles are new to exercise so the best thing to do would be to gradually get them used to the weights.
Honestly, even though it can sometimes be expensive but get a personal trainer to help you out. They’ll sit down with you and discuss your goals and what you want to do and design a plan that will work for you.

DON’T go into the gym and aimlessly walk around using every machine you see.
This is a very common site and one mistake that I personally made. Beginners are very enthusiastic and adopt the principle of “More is better” and this isn’t true. They’ll walk around for hours at a time just doing every machine that’s available.
Machines are a good safe, effective way of training but if you want to build muscle then they’re not very effective. The majority of your workouts should include free weights. For example using the chest press machine will target and isolate your pectoral muscles; however doing the same chest press with dumbbells will mean you have to balance the weights and keep control of it by yourself. This means your stabilizing muscles will kick in to action and along with your pectoral muscles, they’ll get stronger too.

DON’T rely on isolation exercises to help you build mass.
I’m not saying that isolation exercises should be avoided at all. For beginners starting out, the best exercises are the multi movement compound exercises that involve more than one muscle. For example when training biceps instead of doing preacher curls (where your arms rested and only your biceps are doing the work) you should be doing barbell curls (this uses your biceps and the surrounding muscles that help you support and stabilize the bar). Compound exercises will help you build muscle much faster than machines or isolating exercises. These can be added later on in your workout plans.

DON’T start using advanced supplements straight away.
This is a very common mistake and a question that I get asked a lot. The moment someone starts weight training one of the first questions is “what supplements should I take?”
Supplements aren’t necessarily at all to building a better, stronger physique. Remember supplements are just aids that you use to getting the results; however the most important factor is nutrition. What you eat and when is much more important so you should always focus on your diet first. If your nutrition is not on point then using supplements would have no effects whatsoever.
Secondly, many people jump straight into advanced supplements straight away. This is unnecessary and can cause a lot of side effects when taken incorrectly. Weight training is not an instant activity; you’ll never see results quickly. It takes time and effort. So remember, start slowly and work your way up.
In my personal view, I think that the foundation supplements that are good for beginners are a good protein product and a good multivitamin product. Creatine, pre workout products, ZMA and testosterone boosters isn’t a very good idea to start taking straight away. They come as you progress.

If you want to add more mass DON’T start eating anything and everything.
Another mistake that I personally made and it’s due to the next reason which is listed below. Normally people who are skinny wanting to become bigger assume that eating anything and everything will help them become bigger. This is only true in some cases. Remember when you become big you want to build muscle not fat. People start eating junk and oily foods in hoping to become bigger but all your doing is building up fat which can be harder get rid of later on.
Personally when I started doing this I didn’t see any results. So I decided to start eating clean and stuck to healthier options like wholegrain rice and pasta for carbohydrates and lean chicken and beef for protein; I was shocked at how well it worked. Not only did I get start increasing in mass but I felt a lot better. Not saying I completely stopped eating junk; I did have the occasional burger and fries but I didn’t rely on those types of foods to make me bigger.

DON’T listen to what anyone else or the “big guy in the gym” has to say unless they have proof.
This one of the most common problems of why beginners fail to achieve what they want and I’ve fallen for this countless times. But normally a scenario is like this: A person sees a big guy in the gym approaches them and asks “How do you get your arms bigger” or “what supplements do you take?”
Even though the person giving the advice wouldn’t normally mean any harm they’ll start telling you what to do.
Fair enough some of the advice will work and make sense but remember what they’re telling you might have worked for them but it doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. Everybody’s different and this is especially true when it comes to weight training. Your body might respond in a different way of taking a certain product to how another person’s body might react.
The only way you can achieve the results YOU want is to trial and error. This is exactly how most athletes such as bodybuilder’s prepare for competitions. Over years and years they have tried foods and supplements which have either worked or hasn’t. So by now they know exactly what exercises they have to perform for their bodies to respond and what foods to eat to help them cut down/bulk up.
When you want to get bigger/loose fat try a certain food for a few months and see how you respond. If it doesn’t work move on and try something else; if it does stick to it.
Secondly, if someone tells you any knowledge always double check it by researching into it or asking them for proof. There are a LOT of myths when it comes to weight training so be sure you don’t fall for believing things that aren’t real.

DON’T start working out every single day and doing all the exercises in the same workout.
Again, beginners are very eager to get started. And normally they’ll work out every day and do all the exercises in the same session. This is a big mistake and usually what happens in they end up overtraining or getting themselves into an injury, and this leads to them loosing motivation completely and the next time they step into the gym is a few years later.
Your bodies new to heavy weights and when you first workout you’ll be very sore after each workout. This is a sign you’ve shocked your body and it takes time for your muscles to get used to this new kind of shock and learn them. So you should be taking it easy and slowly and build up over time. Instead of going every day you should be having rest days at least 2-3 times a week in order for your muscles to recover. They don’t grow in the gym, they grow when you rest.
And don’t over train your body. Have a qualified person to build you a beginner workout plan and follow it till your muscles get used to the weights. After that you can start adjusting your rest days and doing a bit more.

Leave your ego at the door step.
I can’t stand seeing this! And I’m pretty sure many of you can’t either. Usually, a group of people enter the gym with their friends and think “I have to do heavy weights coz he’s watching me.”
The amount of people I’ve seen doing this and injuring themselves is countless. Remember no matter which one of your friends it is there’s not really a point of showing off once your injured and not in the gym for a couple months because you couldn’t stand to pick up a 60kg dumbbell and try curling it and realizing “oh shit this is way too heavy coz normally I do 12kg” and end up ripping your biceps and looking like an utter bell end in front of everyone.
People never go forward by letting their ego take over. No matter who it is (except if it’s a really fit girl and in your head you know you’ll score) do what you’re comfortable with. Certain muscles can only take so much weight due to their size (bigger muscles = more weight they can handle). So don’t go try doing the same weight you do on a leg press on your shoulders because you know it’ll end in tears...and ripped muscles...and injured tendons...and ligaments...that take very long to heal...and you’ll cry even more...because you won’t be able to go to the gym...because your injured...I’m just saying it’s what’ll happen.
Oh and don’t take your girlfriend to the gym because you know you’ll try to show off and the last thing you want is a bar collapsing on your head because you were too busy starring at her... you get what I mean.

DON’T spend hours and hours in the gym.
More doesn’t always mean better. And especially when it comes to how long your workouts are. Many people spend 2-3 hours in the gym just working and over time they wonder why they don’t see results.
After an hour or so a stress chemical called cortisol kicks in and this starts breaking down your muscles. Last thing you want to do this work out while this happens. Your workouts should be short and intense. Many people say this isn’t possible but this is mainly because talking to your friends, texting on your phone and starring at the gym TV (in my opinion the person who thought of putting a TV in the gym has the same brain power as my shoe lace) doesn’t really help. When you go to the gym the only thing running in your mind should be your workout. Blast it out and throw all the distractions out of the window and you’ll see that getting it done within an hour is perfectly possible (headphones are your best friend here).

LEARN the correct techniques of doing the exercise.
This is a common scenario when you see people swinging their arms rocking back and forth with weights. When you’re swinging your arms and rocking back and forth you’re not really hitting the muscle you want to train. For example when you’re doing bicep curls and swinging your arms and rocking you using your back to aid the movement which defeats the purpose of the exercise. Ask someone to show you the correct form or go on YouTube and type it in as they have very good videos that shows perfect form.
Not only is it ineffective to use bad form, it can cause injuries very easily so beware. It can become a continuous and bad habit when you learn to do an exercise in the wrong way so learn it correctly the first time round.

For now this is all I can think of but there’s a lot more and feel free to comment on your views or if you have any new ones.

And don’t forget to share this article with everyone you know, especially if they’re starting out in weight training and need guidance.​