Guys, I'm not one to make lists...or maybe I am...I dunno. What I'm trying to say is this: There are a handful of mistakes that people who are new to the gym do, and I want to help you guys avoid making similar bad choices that I made. The following comes from experience, Whether it's the most frequently asked questions I get while working as a fitness instructor at the YMCA or what I've personally done and now no longer do because of my research and hands on experience.
1.) Doing Situps to Help Remove belly Fat.
THIS DOES NOT WORK. You cannot select the parts of your body you want to remove fat from. It will collect where it wants to collect and it will be removed from where it decides to remove it from first. The parts that collect the most fat on your body will more than likely be the places that lose it last. You burn fat by eating below your caloric maintenance and regular exercise. That's the only way. Doing excessive situps will burn calories, but those muscles are so small that you're not going to doing a very effective workout to burn a great deal of calories. And honestly, there are much more effective ways to obtain visible ab muscles that don't involve situps. Weighted Crunches, leg raises, and the big heavy compound lifts are going to be much more effective, and doing high intensity cardio will remove oodles of belly fat.
2.) Not Training Legs or Back
I see bros do this ALL. THE. TIME. People just want to get those pretty muscles. They want big arms, a chest and some abs. (Don't we all.) Hell, I'll fully admit that I'm very guilty of this. I started off my training doing a 5x5 program, but soon decided to go to the bro splits, focusing on arms and chest. I could have made so many more gains had I just done a little bit more work. But, you live and you learn. I'm on a strength and muscle building program now that is getting me INCREDIBLE results, not just in strength but also in development of physique. Here is why Training your Legs and Back are important:
A symmetrical physique.
In order for your body to look the best, you have to train the overall muscle development, not just the things that are easy or the most fun. If you've ever seen a guy with a massive upper body, but his legs are tooth pics, you understand that symmetry is important. Don't be a stereotype.
Burn More Calories.
You're neglecting the parts of the body that burn THE MOST calories. They are the biggest muscles in your body, and they require the most food to repair. You will burn the most calories in your back and leg workouts if you push yourself. This is the key to epic weight loss without cutting your calories to nothing. You will boost your metabolism immensely by focusing on these muscle groups alone, making sure to use big compound lifts: Squats, deadlifts, rows.
The Splash over effect.
Training your legs and back will give you that six pack you desire much better than any plank, sit up or crunch. It will not only shed the fat around your abdomen because of it's caloric demands, but will also build up those muscles to either balance that bar on your shoulders for squats, or create a steady thoracic cavity when you do bent over rows and squats.
3.) Not Coming in With a Plan.
Most people come in to the gym, walk around a bit, hem and haw about not wanting to be there, do a few random things and leave. I've done this before, and almost every time I did, I felt disappointed in my work ethic, because I felt like I should have done more. And I could have done more, and what I did do could have been more productive. Why waste time? That's our most precious commodity! Now, I plan out exactly what I'm going to do the night before. I plan out the weight, the reps, and the order I'm going to do the exercises. You can see my progress on my training on this very blog. I am forcing myself to progress. Which brings me to my next point...
4.) Not Progressing.
People love the idea of a routine. People want to come in and do the exact same thing with the exact same weights every time. This is nice and all, but you're literally driving your vehicle into stalls-ville by doing this. Now, you don't need to come in and try to trick your body into burning calories. That's just foolish. Like I said before, muscle confusion is bull shit hype terminology. You can do the exact same exercises every time you come in, but you have to either up the weight, increase the reps, or increase the speed you lift the weights in order to progress, gain muscle or just gain the health benefits associated with lifting weights.
I hope this has been helpful, guys. Getting started on your journey is the toughest part. Learning is half the fun, but I know embarrassing situations and sticking points can derail someone's progress. Don't be worried about being inexperienced. Look up information, ask people about their opinions, look up their opinions on the internet, research, try things out and apply them to your goals!