When I first started working out I had no idea what I was doing, which then led to a few big mistakes that wasted my time, wasted my money and made my fitness journey long, but still worth it! I wanted to write up my 10 big mistakes that I made and how you can avoid them.
1| Spent too much time using the scale
When I first started working out I spent, what some would call, an obsessive amount of time on the scale (pretty much weighing myself every day) because I thought weight is all that mattered. If I wasn’t at a certain number then I had to workout harder and that, my friends, is just not how it should go. I’d sometimes even go as far as weighing myself twice a day and wonder why it fluctuated so much *puts hand on forehead*. However, now that I think about it, weighing ourselves was what all of my friends were doing and so I thought it was the only way to measure success in the gym. Well, good news is that it’s not!
What I’ve learned: using the scale doesn’t show you the full picture. If you’ve been going to the gym consistently for awhile now and have been gaining muscle, but are disappointed with the number not the scale then let me be the one to tell you to stop weighing yourself. Muscle weighs more than fat and so the scale will go up, but your measurements will most likely go down. Give yourself some relief by staying away from the scale and use progress pictures instead.
2| Thought weight lifting was for boys
I’d always go to the gym and head straight for the cardio machines and never set foot in the weight lifting area. Why? Well, weights were for boys of course haha. I think I thought that because I would always see guys in that area and no girls. However, not lifting weights really held me back. I came to a point where I wasn’t making any more progress and if I wasn’t so stubborn, weight lifting could have given me the toned body I wanted and thought only models had! The myth that lifting weights will make you bulky is completely wrong. You won’t become the hulk by lifting 20 pounds, and trust me, 20 pounds is a lot at first! You can even start doing some weight lifting at home with dumbbells until you feel ready to move up.
3| Didn’t eat enough
I, like many others, thought that the less calories I ate the better off I would be. To be honest, I ate as little as 1,000 calories a day when I was in my last two years of high school. I thought eating mac n cheese, a burger or even a little ice cream would be the end for me and because I didn’t eat enough my cravings for all the sugary and fattening foods were on full swing!
What I wish I knew: I wish I knew that eating less calories doesn’t mean that I’ll be any more fit. Of course eating less calories can ultimately make you lose weight, but that’s now how losing weight should be done. I wish I knew that eating whole foods and lots of veggies, and paying more attention to portion sizes than calories, would make me happier and crave less of the not so great foods.
If you find yourself wanting to eat less calories in hopes to stay thin, I would really encourage you to start eating more, especially if you’re working out. An active person needs more calories to help their body build muscle and rehabilitate itself.
4| Quit too soon
There were times where I started a program only to quit after a few weeks. I wasn’t giving it enough time to allow me to see any progress and thus I was convinced all workout programs were scams and didn’t work. Do I even need to say that I was wrong? haha. In a world where everything is fast paced and everything can be given to us in a tap of a finger, it’s hard to wait for something. Losing weight is one of those things you can’t tap away (although how cool would it be to have an app that would tap away fat loss lol) and is something that takes weeks, even months to see progress with. That’s why I call it a lifestyle or a journey because it’s not something that has a quick fix. While it can be hard, it is so rewarding once you see the change that has happened within the past few months and that it was all you that made that change. Don’t quit too soon - give your workout program time.
5| Looked for “easier” ways
Acai pills. Yup, I wanted those so I could “speed up my metabolism” and look fit without actually working out. That’s like saying you want food without anyone making it… will not work. I always searched for “easier” and “faster” ways to getting fit than actually just doing the work. Some say I was lazy, I say I was super determined to find a short cut haha. Instead of wasting my time looking for short cuts, I should’ve just gotten my butt to the gym and actually worked out for a a couple of months. I would have saved so much time and would have reached my goal a lot faster!
If you’re looking into any way to get out working out, well, at this time, there is no other way. Don’t waste your time like I did and cut the excused and run over (or drive) to your local gym and just do it!
6| Didn’t increase the weights I used
So, I finally decided to use weights when I realized weights were for girls too haha. However, one thing I didn’t do very often was up my weights. You see, if you stay at 10 pounds for awhile your muscles will build up and then you’ll get used to it and feel comfortable using those weights. Now’s the time, when you’re comfortable, to increase your weights - it’s your sign. If you don’t up your weights, you may reach a plateau like I did. Increasing your weights = more toned body = amazing results ;D
7| Mentally too hard on myself
One thing I really WISH I didn’t do was be too hard on myself. I compared myself to others way too much and told myself way too often that where I was at wasn’t good enough and that I’d never be as good as that girl in that photo. I was happy with where I was, but then I’d squish myself down because I should be better, or so I thought. This was emotionally draining and also physically draining since I would push myself SO hard during my workouts, I ended up becoming burnt out and stopped working out for an entire year.
Be easy on yourself. You’re doing great and you’re doing all you can. Don’t compare yourself and don’t think you’re not already the best you at this moment, because you are. It’s important to keep yourself lifted up - don’t let you be your own enemy.
8| Restricted myself way too much
Pizza? Brownies? Pretzels? Nope. Sorry, you can’t.
That was always how I thought. I hardly ever let myself indulge in the wonderful world of yummy and sugar food and because of that, when I would eat pizza or cake, I would end up binge eating and then I would feel completely horrible about it all and I’d do the same cycle over and over again. It’s not fun and I would say get out as fast as you can if you’re in this vicious cycle! Just because you want to be healthy and fit doesn’t mean you can’t have pizza or cake. Heck, you could eat cake every day if you wanted to as long as you portioned it out correctly.
Don’t lock yourself up in a jail of no desserts or pizza nights. You won’t be happy. Instead, give yourself the key to the door with amazing brownies and warm croissants every once in awhile and enjoy!
9| Used incorrect shoes
This is actually a bigger deal than most people may think. I had a pair of Nike Free’s (older ones, they were on sale, so of course I bought them) and I started doing resistance training with them only to find my knee starting to hurt. I didn’t really know the cause of it until a few weeks later when another girl I met said her shoes used to give her knee pain. I changed my shoes right away and fortunately I didn’t damage my knee. When you use incorrect shoes, you run a serious risk of damaging parts of your knees, ankles or feet. It’s crucial to find good gym shoes for your workouts; most shoe stores have complimentary shoe guides and if they don’t, the employees should know how to help you decide on a pair of shoes for your needs.
10| Didn’t educate myself
Don’t believe what someone says just because they say it’s true. Research for yourself and figure out for yourself if something is true or not. Unfortunately, fitness and health has a lot of information that can tend to go against other information and what worked for one person may not work for another. So, it is important to educate yourself on what workouts would work best for you, how many calories work best for you, if you should count macros or not, etc.
At first, I didn’t educate myself and I did whatever anyone else did or whatever the magazines said was “in” right now. None of it really worked because it wasn’t the right fit for me and I was discouraged. In the end, its your body and you have to decide whether something is useful for you and your body or not.