7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Working Out
I’m sure you’ve learned a lot of them during your time on this earth.
I know that I sure have. Like the time I put a hole in my bedroom wall and tried covering it up from my mom.
Yeah, I learned pretty quickly that it’s better to just be honest and tell the truth.
The thing is you don’t just have to learn from your own mistakes…
You can also learn from the slip-ups that others have made.
This way you’ll jump right into success instead of having to go through a bunch of trial and error.
And mistakes are what today’s post is all about.
Specifically, you’ll learn about my faults that I’ve made along the way while trying to get a better body.
Let’s dive right in.
Mistake #1: You Don’t Need to be a Health Nut
Being a health nut isn’t necessary to get in shape. In fact, I’d say it’s easier to get in shape when you’re not obsessed.
Well because fitness is supposed to enhance your life, not control it! It definitely took me a while to fully grasp this concept.
I thought that you had to be all in to get a good body. I specifically remember one time where my cross-country coach brought doughnuts for everyone after practice, and I didn’t take one!
There’s no telling what my coach and teammates were thinking. In hindsight, one doughnut wouldn’t have killed me, especially considering the fact that I’d just ran 5 miles!
You need to have balance with fitness just like with work. When you go out to eat with friends or family, enjoy it.
I mean isn’t that why you’re there in the first place? Don’t try to show off or make it seem like you’re better than everyone else because you chose a salad or even went to the extreme and brought your own brown rice in a Tupperware dish.
Go out and have a good time like you planned to do, and hey if you overeat a little bit that’s ok, you can always make up for it later. Heck, you could even make up for it in advance if you know when it’s coming.
Mistake #2 Thinking I Needed to Workout Everyday
Ok so I decided to start getting in better shape when I was 16.
I had no clue what to do. I started off by doing a program designed to get you a 6-pack Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Then for Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I did a vertical jump program. After that I thought to myself, “Boy I don’t have anything to do on Sunday.”
So I went to YouTube and just made a list of a bunch of different exercises to do on that day. There was no theme to the list; it was just different exercises that I thought were cool.
I didn’t even have sets or reps for the exercises; I was just going to do them (face palm). And what kind of results do you think I got?
Nothing other than being over trained.
My chances of success were about as good as the 76ers winning the NBA Finals this year. It just wasn’t going to happen.
The lesson to be learned here is that less is more. Workout smarter not longer.
It really doesn’t take that much exercise wise to get in great shape. In fact, you can get great results just lifting 3 times per week.
People tend to think that working out more is always better, and they’ll immediately jump into working out 6 days a week. It’s no surprise when they quit a few weeks later.
Instead of biting off more than you can chew, take a slower approach and start with what you can handle.
Mistake #3 Supplements Aren’t Required to Get in Shape
I think that this is a common mistake people who’re new to fitness make. They start a new exercise program and go crazy buying a bunch of different supplements.
The problem is that you haven’t even completed your first workout yet! Go to the gym for a while first and prove to yourself that you’re serious about fitness, and then you can worry about supplement x or y.
Also you have to understand that most supplements are a complete waste of money. “Yeah but so and so famous fitness model takes a lot of supplements.
So if they’re good enough for him then they’re good enough for me!” Yeah you also realize that this fitness model is getting paid to endorse those supplements, right?
Get your training and nutrition in place before you buy any supplement. Remember no supplement is required to get in great shape, and that’s a good thing.
Look, I understand all of the hype and excitement that surrounds getting supplements when you first start out. I don’t even want to tell you how much protein powder I made my mom buy me when I began lifting.
Did it make much of a difference? Probably not.
It would have been smarter for me to just focus on a better training program and proper nutrition.
Mistake #4 Recovery Does Matter (Big Time)
Ok so if I’m doing 2 different programs at the same time plus a workout on Sunday, do you think I knew much about recovery?
It wasn’t until I nearly passed out during one of my 6 pack workouts that I realized I needed to take a step back. Come to find out your muscles don’t actually grow during the workout.
You damage your muscles during the workout, and it’s outside of the gym where they build themselves back bigger and stronger. Of course I didn’t know this. I just thought that muscles built themselves up during the workout so I could hit it hard again the next day (face palm #2).
The fact of the matter is that recovery is very important. Not necessarily more important than working out itself because you have to have a stimulus in the place (i.e. the workout) for recovery to even happen.
Similar to how you need both food and water to survive. So start focusing on your recovery, not just your training.
This doesn’t mean sit on the couch all day because it’s an off day. You should still be stretching and walking on your off days.
Mistake #5 I Neglected Getting Stronger
Back in the day, I didn’t really care about strength that much. All I really cared about was looking good without a shirt on and feeling good when I worked out.
Needless to say I trained for the pump a lot as most guys do. I mean come on, it feels great!
But again, I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. It wasn’t until later on when I learned about the concept of progressive overload that the light bulb went off.
Progressive overload basically states that your body will adapt to increased amounts of stress. This means that if you’re doing the same weight, for the same reps your body won’t grow.
You need to gradually increase the stress either by increasing the weight, increasing reps, or decreasing rest time, etc. If you think about it, that makes complete sense.
Our body’s main goal is survival and it only likes to change when it has to. So if you’re always pushing the same weight, then how’s that anything new for your body to adapt to?
Trust me, there’s a reason why the biggest guys in the gym are always the strongest. Get stronger and get results.
It’s as simple as that.
Mistake #6 The Small Things Will Make or Break You
I knew that training and nutrition were the most important aspects of getting in better shape, as you probably already know. However, I didn’t know that it’s really the small things added up that will make the difference in your physique.
It’s not like any of these things are glamorous or flashy. Instead, they’re really quite plain and boring, but you need to do them.
That’s why you don’t hear many people talking about the little things making a difference, but believe me they do. What kind of small things am I talking about?
Well here’s a list of some examples for you:
-Getting enough sleep
-Walking 10-15 minutes a day
-Drinking only water
-Working out consistently
-Using mustard instead of mayo
-Use a sparring amount of salad dressing
-Using a workout journal
-Using a food log
Of course these are just a few ideas, but imagine if you did all of these things on a regular basis? Sure 1 or 2 things by themselves might not do much.
Add all of them together and bam! Now you’ve got something that’s going to make a big difference with your fitness level.
Mistake #7 Fitness Doesn’t Have to Take Over Your Life
This is probably the biggest mistake I made as a youngster who wanted a better body. I thought that I had to be dedicated 100% to get and keep a good-looking body.
This meant giving up family dinners and eating healthy 24/7. As it turns out, I couldn’t have been further from the truth.
I told myself that I was “dedicated” when I was really just suffering.
I told myself that I was “being healthy” when I was really just overly obsessed.
I thought that I was so cool because I was making sacrifices that others weren’t willing to make for a better looking body. In hindsight, I was just making unnecessary sacrifices.
I don’t want you to think that you have to be the same way because you certainly don’t. Yes, you really can have a great body and live a normal life outside of the gym.
You don’t have to workout 6 days a week and eat 6 times a day.
Think about this:
Isn’t the point of fitness to ultimately make your life better?
-You want to be healthier.
-You want to have more energy.
-You want to look and feel more attractive.
But if you always have to workout or eat a certain way to gain access to the benefits above, is your life really that much better?
Of course it’s not!
That’s why I’ve learned my lesson and now I always preach balance between fitness and everything else that goes on in life. If there’s one thing that you take away from this post, let it be this:
“Use fitness as a way to enhance your life, not control it.”
Take these lessons to heart and I know that you’ll go far.
Needless to say, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life fitness related or not. Although mistakes can sometimes hurt, the cool thing is that you can learn from them and do better.
What’s even sweeter is when you learn from mistakes that someone else has made (me in this case) because you can jump right into success. That’s what I want you to do, learn from what I’ve done and do things right the first time.
P.S. At the end of the month I’m going to be releasing Fat Loss from A to Z. It’ll cover everything you need from cardio, diet, supplements, and training to successfully burn fat and never see it again. Join the pre launch for Fat Loss from A to Z and receive an early notification for when the program releases.