When I first started my health and fitness journey, I made a tonne of mistakes. If you’re new, I expect that you’re likely looking for some answers to the questions you have as well.
Mistake #1: Going all out and all in. I ignored every piece of advice out there and I worked out every day of the week with no rest days, and no active recovery days. Which meant I was tired, miserable, and sore. Constantly.
Solution: Plan a sensible approach to workouts. Gradually work up the time and intensity of what you’re doing so that you avoid injury, adjust to your changing fitness levels, and stick with it. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be times you’re sore, or that you need to take an extra rest day when you’re feeling run down, or sick. But it does mean that you won’t start your journey discouraged. Perhaps also consider hiring a personal trainer if this is the first time you’ve worked out.
Mistake #2: Ignoring the role diet plays in wellness. Despite ramping up my workouts, I didn’t put the same care into my diet. Which meant that regardless of the work I was putting in workout-wise, I wasn’t seeing results, and I was still feeling somewhat sluggish.
Solution: Make a plan to evaluate your diet. Even if you get into the rhythm of a workout schedule first, ensure that the next step is diet. You can also start with your diet and add fitness, but starting with the workouts means that you’ll have a baseline for how much food you’ll need to sustain your workouts, while, if you’re looking to lose weight, still putting yourself in a calorie deficit.
Mistake #3: Not eating enough. It’s true. When I finally did make a plan to keep my diet in check, I went too far, and cut too many entire food groups, and too many calories, out of my diet. I was cranky, and on particularly hard workout days, barely had the energy to finish. The day I couldn’t finish a long run because I was starving was the day I realized I needed to actually eat more.
Solution: Eat! Seriously. I say it often to people in my challenge groups. While Beachbody has a wonderful system for making healthy meal choices, make sure you’re eating enough, and don’t try to scrimp on the calories, vitamins, and nutrients your body needs. Especially when you’re working out.
Mistake #4: Not getting enough sleep. Truth be told, sleep is still something I struggle with. I’m working on this one.
Solution: What I have been trying is setting reminders to sleep. I put away my phone and any devices away at least a half an hour before I want to sleep. I wind down. I’ll sometimes do some gentle stretching. Finding a good bedtime routine is still a work in progress. I’ve also been working at a consistent bedtime and wake up time. Even on weekends.
Mistake #5: Following the scale, not the non-scale victories. This was getting incredibly frustrating for me as I tried hard to figure out why the scale was slow to move. I was paying far more attention to the number than I was the the “non-scale” related things.
Solution: Keep track of things like measurements. Take before and after photos. Notice how your clothing is fitting. These are all great indicators of how your program is working for you. The scale is only a measurement of how much you weigh, not how much of that is muscle, how much your body has changed since beginning a health and fitness program, or how healthy you actually are.
There are a tonne of other things I can thing of that I either did wrong, or learned as I went, or figured out through trial and error. Overall, I’m sure I made enough mistakes just as a new runner to fill an entire post! Hopefully my mistakes help you start your fitness journey with even just a little more information than I had when starting mine.