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We all make mistakes. Failure is part of life and the path to improvement.

But, nothing is to say that we have to experience every mistake ourselves to know about it and avoid it.

Many people start going to the gym with no clue as to what they should do. As a result, they make many mistakes and waste untold months or years, never amounting to much.

To help you streamline the process, we’ve put together a list of three common mistakes that could be holding you back. Let’s see what they are.

1. Trying to Learn Too Much Right From The Start

We are living in an amazing time. These days, we can find information on all sorts of subjects and questions we deem interesting.

Of course, this is a blessing, but it is also a curse because many people feel overwhelmed and confused. They research, research, and research, looking for all the things they need to master when they start hitting the gym.

Before long, they are choosing from five beginner workouts, learning dozens of exercises, and wondering how to fit weight training with cardio.

Well, we are here to tell you that you don’t – and shouldn’t – try to learn too much in the beginning. Yes, a simpler approach will work better. It will allow you to focus your efforts better, understand things more, and remain more consistent.

So, instead of reading about yet another ‘great’ beginner program or exercise for ‘bulging biceps,’ start with the basics. Learn the core barbell lifts, familiarize yourself with linear progression, and be consistent with your training.

Isn’t that liberating?

2. Not Having a Clear Plan of Attack

Another significant mistake people make at the gym is to attack it without a plan. 

There is undoubtedly an argument we can make about simply mastering the art of showing up – of getting to the gym regularly. Sure, some beginners should focus on being consistent and showing up. But, at some point, you need to get serious and ask yourself, “What do I hope to get out of the gym?”

Based on the answers you can come up with, it’s time to put together a simple but effective plan you can execute (1). 

For example, you might be an overweight beginner. Your goal could be:

“I want to lose 30 pounds in the next six months.”

This goal is great because it’s realistic, time-bound, and clear as day. You can then break the goal down into monthly and weekly objectives and develop an actionable plan to help you reach each milestone. For example, the monthly aim might be to lose 5 pounds, and the weekly goal could be to lose just over one pound.

3. Only Doing Cardio


Aerobic exercise is fantastic. It’s incredibly healthy for us, floods the body with endorphins, and burns many calories (2, 3, 4). As a result, we feel great, get to lose weight, and stay healthy.

But cardio alone is not enough. Sure, you get to enjoy the comfort of the cardio area and avoid the anxiety of weight training. But doing so will stop you from achieving a true transformation.

Weight training is also incredibly beneficial, and doing it regularly allows us to:

  • Build muscle and add tone (5)
  • Lose fat more effectively (6)
  • Improve our posture (7)
  • Get stronger and more functional (8)

Man or woman, adding strength training will be incredibly beneficial.

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