Top 15 Beginner Fitness Mistakes Hurting Your Progress (You’ll Never Make Them Again)


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How many Mondays has it taken for you to “start your diet”? Or are you still counting? Check out the list of 15 fitness mistakes to avoid as a beginner if you’re starting your fitness journey.

It’s tough starting from zero. And how couldn’t it be? The internet is pouring with advice from self-proclaimed fitness and health experts. 

Every mistake is a lesson learned. And in case you didn’t know, experts got to where they are through their share of errors. Now I’m no expert. I’m a regular person like you. But because of that, if I can do it, then you can do it. 

So instead of making the same fitness mistakes, I did keep reading and avoid the following. 

After you read this, write to me and let me know if there were mistakes you made as a beginner that you wish you avoided. 

MINDSET

1. THINKING YOU YOU CAN’T DO IT

I’ve often made the mistake of getting excited about a hobby or project that I start digging up everything I could about it all over the internet. What began as feeling inspiring now feels intimidating.

You may say, I don’t have to be the strongest or most fit. I can settle for this or that. But who says you can’t?

Everyone start’s somewhere, and I strongly encourage you to shift your mindset. Trust you can and love the messy journey along the way.


2. NOT SETTING GOALS

Many people make the mistake of setting goals based on what they see on social media. I mean, come on, I’m guilty. But as you ride down your fitness journey, you’ll realize YOUR goals will shift based on your lifestyle. Take some time and write down a variety of specific goals in a journal.

For example:

  • Sleep 6-8 hours
  • Make it to the gym 3- 4 days a week.
  • Find a form of moving your body you enjoy
  • Learn a new recipe for cooking pancakes
  • Deadlift 135 pounds
  • Lose 20 pounds

I recommend you also break down your long term goals into shorter goals and don’t be shy to share your goals with a friend.

3. FOCUSING ON THE SCALE AND YOUR WEIGHT FOR PROGRESS

While you won’t see the scale budge, you could still be making progress.

Instead, try using these methods to track your progress:

  • Take pictures 
    • make sure you are wearing the same clothes
    • Take the photos in the same lighting
    • Take the pictures around the same time of day as your previous pictures were the initially taken
  • Take your measurements
    • Chest
    • Waist 
    • Hips
    • Thighs
    • Arms
  • Clothes
    • Clothes are my favorite form of tracking progress by far. Nothing shows progress like sliding on into that favorite dress you hadn’t worn in a while

4. COMPARING YOUR PROGRESS TO SOMEONE ELSE’S RESULTS

In the world we live in, social media has a lot of influence over everything we do or want to do. But honestly, it’s all in your hands to let it have that sort power over you. When I started this blog, I chose to write because I wanted YOU, the person reading this to realize it’s a damn privilege to be YOU! 

What I’m about to say sounds so cheesy I know, but I mean it. Flip the script. Don’t try and better than anyone else. That person you’re comparing yourself to is on the path they need to be taking. Instead, take pictures of your journey, embrace the hard times, and celebrate your wins. 

5. NOT HAVING A SCHEDULE

“I don’t have time” seems to be at the top of the list when it comes to excuses for quitting or only putting in 50% of the work in your training and nutrition. 

But taking a look at the bigger picture helps. Try planning out your month, block out days you definitely can not work out, and use those as your rest days. 

Remember that everyone’s week isn’t the same, so if you have jam-packed days during the week, schedule your workout on the weekend. 

You’ll be better off anyway because the gyms are usually less crowded.

6. NOT MAKING IT FUN

The first gym I joined was a boxing and kickboxing gym, and I can’t tell you how much I loved it. I still have a mean kick to this day! After this I fell in love with Zumba at my new gym, I’m sure I had no rhythm, but I always loved it. Then I found my passion for weight lifting. 

My point is, try new things that will keep you coming back. If you don’t enjoy running on the treadmill, then don’t. There are a ton of things you can do instead. 

Anything that gets your body moving counts. Lately, I’ve enjoyed my online bachata classes.

Here are a few more examples:

  • Rock climbing
  • Dancing
  • Skating
  • Bike riding
  • Yoga
  • Try a new class

TRAINING

After talking about mindset, let’s talk about beginner fitness mistakes to avoid when it comes to training.

7. NOT FOLLOWING A TRAINING PROGRAM

It’s easy to walk into the gym and feel overwhelmed when you see all the equipment taken to then only bounce from one exercise to another. But what is your plan? 

Find a program that works for you and stick to it for no less than six weeks. Master your form, write down the weights you lift, and work to improve every week. Tracking your lifts will help you make and notice your progress along the way.

8. FOCUSING ON HOW MANY CALORIES, YOU BURN DURING A WORKOUT

I didn’t own a watch that tracked my calories until late October 2018, and that’s because my sister let me have her old Fitbit inspire. I never saw the use in them, but once I got one, I realized what people were talking about when they showed pictures of their watches and how many calories they burned. 

To keep things short, burning a ton of calories can sometimes be going against your goals, but I’ll write a post going in-depth on this later.

 For now, don’t stress or be disappointed if you don’t burn how many ever calories you wish you did. You’re showing up, you’re moving your body, and that’s all that counts. 

9. TOO MUCH CARDIO

I can’t lie and tell you I didn’t spend my gym time on a treadmill, stair master, or elliptical. Cardio is good in moderation, but too much can lead to a plateau in your progress and perhaps boredom.

If you have a job where you’re sitting all day, include some walking and maybe two to three cardio sessions a week. But if you’re someone who is always moving all day, that right there counts.

10. WORKING OUT TOO LONG

Would you believe me if I told you that I once spend 4 hours in a gym? I thought if I spent more time in the gym, I would get better results. Ok, I only did that once. But there were a couple of times I did spend close to two hours in the gym.

The truth is, I wasn’t working out the entire time because there were long rest times in between my sets. For that reason, this is why #7 on the list is essential. Track your training and your rest time in between sets with a timer on your phone or watch.

 It makes for a better workout and saves you a ton of time. 

Fitness google sheets progress tracker
I love using google sheets
fitness tracking journal
You can also track in a small notebook

Whether you’re trying to lose or gain weight, I know not making any progress after working so h

11. NOT LIFTING WEIGHTS

Lifting weight swill not make you bulky, and you do not need to lose weight first by doing cardio before moving onto lifting weights. 

It would be best if you were lifting weights now. 

And if all the machines stress you out, keep things simple and stick to dumbbells and barbells. Those are my favorite, and I never use any of the exercise machines. 

As a beginner, I encourage you to start off focusing on your form before moving up in weight. In the long run, having excellent form will help you lift heavier. So make sure you’re tracking your lifts and loads.

NUTRITION

Training is essential, but after years of experience, nutrition is hands down key. Let’s talk about beginner fitness mistakes to avoid when it comes to food.

12. EATING TOO HEALTHY

When I first started my fitness journey, I looked to magazines for inspiration or education on anything related to fitness. And all I remember is knowing I had to eat “healthy.” 

Um, protein, a ton of veggies, and no rice? 

Truth is there is such a thing as eating too healthy. Yes, vegetables are good, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only foods you should be eating. Stick to two servings of greens a day and don’t overdo it on the “health.”

13. FOLLOWING DIET TRENDS AND TAKING FOOD OFF THE TABLE

 Diet trends

If it’s not something today, it’s something tomorrow. In the past, I’ve done Paleo while tracking macros and tracked macros alone. While I didn’t mind doing Paleo, it’s not something that would work for me now. 

Why? Because I love my fruits and a ton of other carbs that fall under this category. On the other hand tracking macros played a massive role in losing over 20 pounds when I first started. 

After hearing so many people try different things, I firmly believe that if you have to eliminate foods you love or want, it’s not going to be sustainable. Ditch the diet mentality and focus on eating foods that will help you feel good. 

 Labeling certain foods as bad

The internet is king for labeling bad foods. The truth is, it’s a numbers game. Calories in vs. calories out. Consuming more calories than your body burns is the only way you will gain weight. Ditch the “bad food” mentality.”

Of course, there are foods more nutritious than others, you are human, and you shouldn’t forbid foods that make you happy. 

As you develop a healthier lifestyle, your body will naturally shift to craving foods that make you feel good and energized. Of course, your favorite chocolate cake still deserves a bite, so when you can take it but enjoy it. Please don’t treat it as something forbidden or a must-have now because you can’t have it later. 

14. NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER

To be honest, I never paid attention to drinking water. But as I grew up, I realized how good drinking water is for your body.

Sometimes not drinking enough water can be mistaken for hunger, and not drinking enough water can also make you feel tired. While you don’t have to drink a gallon a day, its recommended you drink around 90 ounces a day. 

If you’re not used to drinking so much aim 40 – 45 ounces to start. I will say that I have noticed that when I drink more water, I see my face clears up so much.

15. NOT BEING CONSISTENT

I was the queen of hitting the gym hard for close to two weeks – one month in the gym then disappearing. It’s because I felt lost and told my self what the point was.

To be honest, I lacked guidance. I made all of the mistakes I mentioned above. Once I got my mindset right, followed a program, and counted my macros, I saw results. 

This is a lifestyle. Create the lifestyle you want to live and adjust where you need to, but don’t ever quit.

CONCLUSION

Mindset, training, and nutrition are huge in your fitness journey. And if you’ve thought about starting your fitness journey, I hope this list of fitness mistakes to avoid as a beginner helps you out.

Whether you’re trying to lose or gain weight, I know not making any progress after working so hard can be discouraging. 

Write to me and let me know if I missed anything. Let me know what fitness mistakes you made as a beginner that you would avoid now. 

WANT TO REMEMBER THIS? POST THIS 15 Beginner Fitness Mistakes to Avoid That Are Crippling Your Progress TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD!

Write to me and let me know if I missed anything. Let me know if there were any fitness mistakes you made as a beginner that you would avoid now. 

WANT TO REMEMBER THIS? POST THIS 15 Beginner Fitness Mistakes to Avoid That Are Crippling Your Progress TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD!

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