Beginner Exercise Mistakes

So you want to start exercising? Excellent! Exercise is proven to have so many health benefits including fat loss, increased functional ability, mood elevation and more.

Hey, I’m Shawna Kaminski and I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 30 years. I’ve seen my share of many well meaning folks make regrettable (and avoidable) beginner exercise mistakes. These mistakes have sadly sidelined these people and their good intentions to improve their health through fitness.

If you’re looking to get into the fitness game, have a read and make sure you avoid these typical beginner pit falls that the majority of people fall into.


Why is this a mistake?

Maybe you were a star athlete in high school but unless you continue with regular exercise, your body has likely changed. You may remember doing much more intense exercise in the past than your body is ready to do at the beginning of any fitness journey. When you start out at this fast pace or overdo it at the start, you will possibly injure yourself or get so sore that you’ll be reluctant to continue.

What can a person do to avoid it?

Start off slowly. For your first few workouts, do 50% of what you ‘think’ you are physically capable of doing. It’s likely that you’ll experience some muscle soreness anyways, but moderation will keep your body safe and your soreness manageable. Ensure that you keep hydrated and do some ‘active recovery’ after your workout. ‘Active recovery’ means just continuing to move your body in all ranges of motion to loosen up the muscles rather than just lying down on the couch. And then stick with it and slowly increase your workout intensity over time.

Ideally, you’ll find a program that will create and monitor your workout for you, especially in the beginning because there’s nothing worse than being a ‘non-starter’ after workout one due to a pulled muscle.



Why is this a mistake?

So many people only focus on the number on the scale when this is NOT the most important measurement where fitness is concerned. Weight loss can and will plateau and when this is your only motivation to exercise, often times you’ll just stop exercising and then miss out on all the many health benefit it offers. As well, we all know of people that have lost weight and some become ‘skinny fat’ or just an unhealthy skinnier version of their former fat selves.

What can a person do to avoid it?

A healthier focus when embarking on an exercise program is to look at your performance to measure progress. After all, isn’t improved health and function the best long-term goal? Ask yourself, ‘Can I do more exercise than I did in my previous workout?’

It’s motivating to see how your capacity to do more work will continually improve as you continue to exercise.

As well, what’s more important than mere weight loss is a change in body composition. This can’t typically be measured by weight alone. A healthier focus is a combination of weight loss, body composition, body circumference measurements and assessing how clothing fits to get a better picture of progress.

Ideally you’ll find a program that acknowledges performance improvements and a program where body analysis is built right in. This will take the focus off the scale as the only source of motivation.



Why is this a mistake?

There are many ‘flavour of the month’ fitness programs popping up on every corner but it doesn’t mean each program is suitable for every ‘body’. For example, if you’ve never done anything in the way of fitness, it’s not wise to go to a high performance gym to start out. That could be like jumping into the major leagues when you’ve never even played at the intramural level and the likelihood of injury or feeling discouraged and quitting will increase.

What can a person do to avoid it?

Your goal should be to find a program that’s challenging but feels comfortable enough that you can stick with. Consider your fitness history and start out realistically. Even though it may feel sexy to go to a high performance gym, the majority of people will not find a successful long-term fitness home there.

Seek out a program with a culture that resonates with you. It’s more likely that you’ll continue your fitness quest when you find like-minded people to support and motivate you along the way.



Why is this a mistake?

Let’s face it, you probably didn’t gain weight or get out of condition overnight, it’s even more likely that these facts won’t change in a day either. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment or failure by setting expectations that are unrealistic. The promise of fast weight loss or over the top performance improvement is sometimes the hook that draws you into an impractical program and can lead to disappointment.

What can a person do to avoid it?

Make sure that you work with qualified experts. Experienced professionals can assess, guide you and set you up for success with realistic goals and constant monitoring to ensure you’re on the right track. Accountability is a key to any fitness programming.

It’s no fun being just another ‘number’ at a facility. Ideally you’ll find a program where their expert trainers know you by name and have a vested interest in your progress.



Why is this a mistake?

Due to the high cost of personal training, many people mistakenly go to the gym and blindly copy what others are doing. This is like taking someone else’s prescription medication and expecting a personalized solution. As a consequence, this can lead to lack lustre results at best and injury at worst.

What can a person do to avoid it?

Seek out a program that provides expert supervision and solid fitness instruction. No one can afford getting injured and if you’re investing time in your fitness program, you certainly want results. There are cost effective programs that offer the benefits of personal training with the support and energy of a group. In fact, look for a program with a money back guarantee – that way you KNOW that your investment of time and money in your fitness program will be well spent.


In conclusion, you’ll want to find a fitness solution that offers expert instruction, support, motivation and is inspiring and fun with many options to fit exercise into your day. Exercise needs to become a healthy habit, just like brushing your teeth.


Here’s the perfect at home solution. You’ll definitely want to exercise everyday with me using these videos and they are a lot more fun than brushing your teeth!