When we first make the decision to get in shape, it’s easy to overdo it. We feel excited and motivated and we just want to get as fit as possible as fast as possible. This often leads to folks not taking the time to learn about how to properly and safely get in shape. Rather than take their time, they just start working out like mad. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. And most of us have had to learn the hard way that this approach is little more than a beeline to illness or serious injury. Here are some of the most common mistakes we wish we hadn’t made.
Wear The Right Gear
“You can work out in whatever you’re wearing!” “You don’t need special clothes or gear!” These are statements you’ve undoubtedly heard at least a dozen times by now. You’ve probably even said them to yourself as you were trying to decide whether to spring for some new “just for exercising” clothing. And, in many cases, this is the truth! You do not really need the super special sweat-wicking tank top with the built in pocket for your phone or mp3 player. A regular old t-shirt or tank top will do. In other cases, though, this can set you up for pain and, worse, injury.
This is especially true for your feet. Trust us when we tell you that spending the extra money on shoes that were designed specifically for whatever type of workout you’re planning to do. And, if you suffer from joint, foot, or leg issues, you’ll want to buy footwear that accommodates those, too.
This does not stop at shoes. The socks you choose (and you absolutely must wear socks) are also important. For example, if you suffer from pain in your heels and in the arches of your feet, you should try wearing compression socks for athletes who suffer from conditions like plantar fasciitis. If you are someone prone to athlete’s foot, look for socks that absorb moisture and wick it away from the skin to prevent fungus from growing.
Patience is a Virtue
Look, no matter how strong you think you are, you are unlikely to be able to deadlift hundreds of pounds the first time you lift the bar. In fact, attempting to do so is a fantastic way to seriously injure your arms, your back and may even cause problems like hernias. Yikes!
It is frustrating, when you’re full of gumption and motivation, to force yourself to go slowly and to build muscle over time. You have visions of yourself running across the country like Forrest Gump, not plodding along doing Couch to 5K! Even so, it must be done. The reason you need to be patient and go slowly is this: when you work out, you are essentially tearing down your muscles. Each time you do this, you need to give them time to rebuild because every time they rebuild they rebuild themselves to be a little bit stronger than they were before. Without taking it easy and giving your body time to recover, all you’re doing is tearing your own body apart. Who wants that?
Here is a truth that nobody wants you noobs to know: working out sucks. It’s hard and it can be painful. And once that initial endorphin rush wears off, it’s easy to come up with reasons to skip that next workout. To combat this, choose a workout you actually enjoy! There are so many different ways to exercise, to build muscle, and to lose weight. If you hate running, try dancing. If you hate lifting, try pilates or yoga. Find something that you look forward to doing so that during those moments of “I hate this” you can’t help but keep going.
Here’s the truth: there is no one set prescribed method of getting in shape. You have to find your own way and it is important that you take care of yourself while you do that. Hopefully the tips we’ve shared here will help you do exactly that!