Common Mistakes Gym Beginners Make

8 Common Mistakes a Beginner in the Gym Makes

Are you a beginner in the gym? Well you’ve come to the right place! Here are 8 common mistakes I’ve found that most people make:

1. Not tracking your calories. Diet is the most important factor when training, yet many people think just by going to the gym that it will make you healthier (although exercise is better than no exercise) and give you the physique you want. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and physique is a 24/7 process.

2. Not breathing properly. Getting headaches or sharp pains at the gym? Most likely this is being caused by you not breathing properly (usually referred to as and exertion headache). Even if you aren’t getting these headaches, breathing correctly will help you get more out of your lift. Learn to breathe properly by inhaling and exhaling. For the average lifter you should be:

  • Inhaling before the start of the lift
  • Exhaling as you push through the most difficult portion of the lift
  • Inhaling at the top (or the easiest portion of the lift)

Yes, there are other methods but this is the one most lifters should follow until you reach a higher level of training.

3. Incorrect form. Everyday I see someone with incorrect form. Seek a professional or ask for help if you are unsure of how to perform a lift. Correct form will make you incorporate more of the muscle and most of all, prevent injury.

4. Trying to the be the strongest person in the gym. This is common sense. You should not try to lift more weight than you can. No one is going to look down on you for doing light weight with correct form. Over doing it will not only eventually cause injury, it will also not give you the most out of your lift.

5. Doing the lift too fast. No, you don’t need to rep it at a 100mph pace. Slowing the rep down and controlling it will make the muscle incorporate more fibers as you get more into the rep, overloading the muscle, and causing it to grow.

6. Maxing out. This goes hand in hand with being the strongest person in the gym mistake. Maxing out (or going to failure) every time will only cause unneeded stress on your joints, making you more prone to injury.

7. Doing too many exercises. More is not better in almost all cases, this being one of them. Rather than doing too many, do the right ones. Doing 3-5 “right” ones for each muscle group will be more beneficial in the end IN MY PROFESSIONAL OPINION. As to what the right ones are, that is what you need to figure out. (This means overtime find out which exercises your body responds to best)

8. Not getting enough rest. To keep it short and simple – your body repairs and grows when you rest, not when you’re at the gym. Need I say more?


  1. Sarah on May 25, 2013 at 12:00 am

    My legs shake after doing leg exercises(leg presses,etc). I look ridiculous. Am I using to much weight or is it because I’m a beginner. I started out with about 70 lbs i think.

    • Derek Howes on May 25, 2013 at 12:00 am

      Hi Sarah! Anyone who has been in a gym knows that feeling (shaking). As long as there’s no pain just keep at it, your stabilizers will get stronger and the shakes will subside!

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