Like most people, my “gym” journey began in my late teens. I had no idea what I was stepping into, all I knew was that I wanted to keep fit and see some muscle definition.
To say that I’ve had a lot of failures on this journey would be an understatement. Yes, my mistakes have made me who I am today but I also wish I knew a thing or two before starting so I would fail miserably.
I definitely could have saved myself a lot of time, energy, and money.
To help you avoid doing what could be 6 months worth of training over the course of 2-3 years, here’s what you need to know.
1) Ab exercises on their own aren’t going to give me abs
I remember doing ab exercises in the gym with my friend for about 20-30 mins for weeks and saw nothing. But we felt the burn so so we just kept doing it.
It was only until a personal trainer thought he was in Groundhog Day after seeing us come in to do 30 minutes of sit-ups every time.
He came over and said “Girls, I hate to break it to you but you’re not going to get abs like that. You’re probably burning about 150 calories, max”.
Tip: If you want abs it’s all about the calories. You need to lean down in order to have any chance of revealing anything.
2) Doing random HIIT workouts aren’t going to get my butt bigger
“Do the Instagram influencer exercises they said, they’ll give you a butt they said.”
Squat jumps, jumping lunges and burpees aren’t going to do much other than burn calories.
Tip: If you want a bigger, more toned butt, you need resistance training and nutrition goals.
3) Lower back pain is not normal when doing most exercises.
Friend: “Ahhh I’m so sore from yesterday’s session. My lower back is killing me today. But it means I’m getting gains so I’m not mad.”
Me: “I’m so glad you got some exercise in! Only thing is that back pain worries me, it most likely means you weren’t doing something correctly…”
If you’re experiencing ANY pain when exercises especially back pain, you need to either stop doing the exercise or find someone to help you.
Any when I say someone to help you I don’t mean a Youtube video or a physio. I mean a qualified person that can assess you while performing the exercise. Even if it’s only one or two sessions you’ll at least know what doing the movement correctly should feel like.
Tip: Don’t go see a physio only to go back and do the same exercise and end up back in the clinic. Learn which muscles should be firing in the exercise.
4) Foam rolling on its own is a waste of time
Foam rolling feels heavenly yet painful. The reason why we foam roll is to send a signal to the brain for that muscle to relax. After that relaxation you have a 20-minute window to train that muscle in that new range.
Tip: Use the foam roller on the muscle groups you’ll be using before your workout.
I tend to focus on overworked and weak muscles that need strengthening in a new range of motion.
If you are foam rolling and doing nothing with it after it’s pretty much a quick massage. Something that only makes you feel good but doesn’t do much for your gym gains. So it’s time to stop over using the foam roller and start picking up those weights!
The Bottom Line:
Learn from other people’s mistakes and don’t be afraid to ask for help. At the end of the day you make the decision based on what you think is best but be open to hearing other people’s experiences. I’d just stay away from those influencer tips though.
Achieve your fitness goals quicker and save your self the extra dollar bills (and pain)!