Tag Archives: beginner lifting tips

4 Common Mistakes People Make When They Start Exercising

14 Jan

Is 2014 going to be your year? Have you committed to living a healthier lifestyle? That’s great!

You may be excited and ready to tackle everything that comes your way, but while your motivation is awesome, make sure you don’t make these mistakes in your new journey!


Trying Too Many Things At Once. You may be excited to start eating healthier and workout out regularly, but don’t be too overzealous! For example, if you want to start eating healthier, try cutting out one “bad” thing for a week, then add another. It’ll be easier to manage cutting out soda the first week, then processed food the second, and excess sugar in the third, than it would be to try to cut every bad habit out at once. Same thing goes with the gym; you may want to hit the gym every day, but start slowly. Your body is just getting used to this. Start with 2-3 days per week, then add on as you get accustomed. Trust me, if this is your first time lifting (or you’re just getting back into it), you will be sore even with only 2-3 days of working out!

Not Setting Proper Goals. What exactly are your goals? Do you want to lose weight? Gain muscle? Setting proper goals is key, as well as attainable goals. You can’t expect to lose 50 lbs. in 1 month, or squat 100 lbs in the first few weeks. Set small goals at first, such as, “I want to lose 1 lb. a week,” or “I want to lose 5% bodyfat.” SMART goal setting is a great way to set attainable goals.

Not Researching Proper Workouts. Just as you need to set proper goals, you need to assess what it is you want to accomplish. You may try out everything: lifting, running, Zumba, spin, etc. Do you want to run 5K? Or be able to do pull-ups? Because both of those will require totally different training. If you want to run a 5K (or any distance), research different training plans. Before I started marathon training, I read 3 books by 3 different authors on 3 different training approaches. Find the best one that you think will work for you. If you don’t think you will make it to the gym 5 days a week, then don’t choose a plan that has you in the gym 5 days a week!

Not Eating Enough. If your goal is to lose weight, you may think the easiest way is the good ol’ “cut 500 calories per day out” and exercise. But if you’re exercising on a regular basis, then you need to make sure you are fueling your body correctly. You may be surprised at how many calories you actually need. I thought 1,500 calories would be enough for me, then put my stats in multiple calculators which told me I should be eating anywhere from 1,800-2,000 calories! I don’t have a specific one that comes to mind, but google “calorie calculator” and try out multiple ones. Also track your intake for a few days to make sure you’re eating enough. I like the app Lose It! because you can add or scan in foods, and it gives you a pie chart breakdown of your macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat). I talk about this app more here. Remember, calories are not the enemy!

What advice and tips would you give?

Have you experienced any of these mistakes?


Follow Reach Your Peak:

Tips For Getting Back Into The Gym

8 Oct

The NYC Marathon is 26 days away! While I’m excited for the race, and have enjoyed training (for the most part), I’m ready for a break from running and to get back to heavy lifting at the gym. I can’t wait!

I know that when I go back, my strength will be way less than last year. I will basically be like a beginner…since body weight squats even make me sore right now!

I figured I’d share some tips with you all for if you have taken a lifting hiatus and plan to go back, or are a beginner looking to get into the gym. The gym can be an intimidating place, but once you conquer your fear or nervousness, you will feel awesome lifting weights!


1. Start With a Light Weight – Especially if it’s your first time doing an exercise. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried something new and put a weight I thought I could do on the machine, and then not be able to even move it. Besides being slightly embarrassing, you also want to stay safe. Trying to squat or deadlift a weight that is way heavier than you should could hurt you, either now or in the long run. Start light and increase with each set if you need to.

2. Do Basic Lifts – In the first few sessions/weeks, focus on mastering the basics, such as squats, chest press, and lunges. I am leaving deadlifts out because it is so important to have proper form. If you want to do this, make sure a personal trainer watches your form (if you’re a beginner). In the meantime, I’d do hip raises either on the floor or with a swiss ball to target the hamstrings and glutes. If you want to learn these basic lifts, ask a trainer on the floor, or watch videos online from reputable sources.

3. Practice At Home – If you’re nervous about trying something new at the gym, practice the general movement at home first. I like to do this when I find new exercises online. You don’t even need a dumbbell to practice, just set up and perform the movement. With a cable exercise it can be trickier…again, have a trainer help you at the gym if you need to…no need to be embarrassed!

4. Do A Full Body Routine – If you’re just getting back into lifting, or are a beginner, start with a full-body routine. This way, you hit all of your major muscle groups, and start to get your body used to lifting weights. Once you’re more experienced you can start doing body part splits (upper body days vs. lower body days).

5. Be Prepared – Don’t go into the gym with no plan, and end up just doing random exercises. 1) There should be rhyme and reason to your training plan 2) How will you measure your progress if you do a random routine each time? Write out your workout plan ahead of time, and track your weight, sets and reps while at the gym. Some people bring notebooks and stuff, I just write it all down in my phone. This way, in 4 weeks, you can see how much stronger you have gotten!

Do you have any tips you would add?

Have you ever taken a break from lifting? How surprised were you by your strength…or lack thereof 😉


Follow Reach Your Peak: