I’ve been around and I’ve heard tons of clients tell me about how they started working out on their own, without noticing any sort of physical improvement — or worse, were injured in the process. Fitness is great for your body, as long as you’re doing it right.
Doing too much the first workout. Start light if you are doing cardio (walking, jogging, elliptical, swimming). Kick it off with 20 minutes and over time stretch the duration out for another 10 minutes. The weights and resistance training should also be light for the first few sessions. Go for a weight that pushes you to a slight discomfort then stop. Differentiate the muscle groups you’re working out each set. A good rule is do upper body (arms) then do lower body (legs). It’ll keep you organized so you aren’t maxing out one muscle. The first workout should hardly feel like anything after you’re finished. As you build your muscles and endurance, your intensity level will grow with it.
Not having any time. Life happens. Sometimes we are pressed for time and can’t get our full routine in. Do as much as you have time for. If you’re unsure of how to make the most out of a small chunk of time, try this quickie: stand up and down at your desk 10 to 15 times in immediate succession. I like to call it the “Sit To Stand” exercise.
Spot reducing fat. Perhaps you aren’t happy with your thighs or your stomach. Killing your stomach with a thousand crunches or squatting until your legs give out won’t trim down on the fat. It’s a one way ticket to an injury. The key to seeing physical changes is to burn off the extra calories stored in your body fat and raise your metabolism.
Following someone else’s workout. Workouts do specific things for specific bodies. You and the person that handed off her workout regimen most likely have two different body types that need different things to achieve success. No two people are at the same level of ability or have the same biomechanics. Your workout needs to be specific to your current fitness level and goals.
Being exclusive with cardio. Your heart is the most important muscle in your body. Cardio is necessary. But repetitive cardio doesn’t do it all. Your body needs all type of movement — think the use it or lose it principle. Don’t neglect the other muscles in your body.