“Beginner’s mistake!” We all heard that phrase before, right?

How do we avoid hearing this phrase when it comes to starting our own fitness program?

Let’s take a look at six common mistakes that beginners make when starting out on a fitness routine with the hopes of achieving the health, energy levels and bodyshape they’ve always desired.


My desire is to help you recognize these mistakes with hopes of preventing them from occurring with your own journey to become the best you can be. Recognizing and avoiding these common mistakes can and will save you time, money and effort.

Mistake 1: Dieting

One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is they start dieting. In other words, they start cutting out all the junk foods that they’ve been eating and they don’t replace it with foods that enhance their metabolism and promote recovery. Many people think that they need to start cutting calories in order to lose weight and get the body of their dreams.

Carb phobia!

One of the biggest things that get cut are carbs. People start cutting carbohydrates due to some mistaken belief that they are some evil enemy that haunts them and will prevent them from losing weight. Typically, people end up burning out or falling ill because they don’t provide the nutrients their body needs to recover.

Besides making you feel very lethargic, cutting calories negatively affects your metabolism. Cutting calories will depress your metabolism and make achieving your goals of a healthy, lean body, a very difficult task. Along with some other negative things, if you cut calories too low, your body will break down muscle tissue to convert to useable energy, which will further depress your metabolism.

beginner fitness mistakes_3Mistake 2: More cardio equals more fat loss

Another big mistake beginners make is that they focus on cardio exercise only. Once they do a certain amount (time or distance) of cardio (e.g. 15 minutes), they add more. In other words, once they complete 30 minutes, they work up to 45 minutes, then to 60 minutes. All of this is usually done at the same low to moderate intensity.

One key point that a lot of people don’t realize is that by exercising with higher intensity, they can achieve the same cardio and calorie burning effect in 1/3 of the time of doing a low to moderate intensity workout.

A very big problem of doing more and more cardio is that it can cut into burning muscle tissue for fuel. Typically, long duration cardio enhances cortisol which is a hormone responsible for catabolism (i.e. breaking down muscle) in our bodies. We definitely don’t want this to occur.

More cardio coupled with the previous mistake of dieting is a sound recipe for disaster!

Mistake 3: Don’t incorporate resistance training

I hear the following phrase a lot – “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to get big, I want to lose fat. Weights will make me big.” This misconception has caused many, many people to ‘miss the boat’ in achieving their goal of a healthy, shapely, lean body full of vitality.

I have to admit that I hear this most from women. Interestingly, on the flip side, I have had women tell me they’re so glad I told them to list weights and it’s the best thing they have ever done for their body.

Bottom line, don’t skip this very important part of your exercise program. Resistance exercise should be the cornerstone of a successful program design. It will do wonders for you by enhancing your metabolism and creating a nice, shapely, lean physique.

In addition, muscle burns calories, even at rest. The more muscle you have, the more calories your burn even when you are resting.

beginner fitness mistakes_2Mistake 4: Using the scale as sole source of success

Weight scales are our nemesis! Too many people rely on them to dictate their moods! They rely on this one piece of device that gives us a number – that’s it! That number doesn’t tell us anything but our body mass. It doesn’t tell us a thing about how much muscle we gained or how much fat we lost!

I recommend that you utilize feedback from the way you feel and how you look in the mirror as the main metrics for your body transformation. Are your energy levels up? Are your clothes feeling looser around the mid-section? These are key things that demonstrate you are making progress!

Mistake 5: Giving up before body has chance to change

One of the biggest problems and mistakes is that people expect change to happen overnight! When an overweight person new to exercise starts a workout and nutrition program; it takes time for your body, specifically your metabolism to adjust and respond to this new way of eating and exercising.

Many people quit after 4-6 weeks if they don’t see any progress or lose the weight they thought they should. Most often, they jump into some other diet, program, etc. and do that for another 4-6 weeks and life often becomes a roller coaster of yo-yo dieting!

It takes time for your body to adjust to this new exercise and eating regimen. Once your metabolism gets on track, everything else will fall into place. I’m talking about body shape, health, and energy levels will become apparent once your metabolism gets on track and your body adjusts to this new way of life. Give it time!

Mistake 6: Too much emphasis on supplements

When people begin an exercise program, they want to jump right into it and start buying all the latest supplements. Often they fall for a lot of the fads and promises of quick weight loss, fat loss and muscle gain that some of the supplement companies promise. They start to believe that a pill will offer them the body transformation they are looking for! Nothing can be further from the truth!

I recommend that people focus on executing their exercise program and consuming quality nutrition. They should aim to be consistent with this for 4-6 months before they think about supplements. A good quality protein supplement can be used straightaway to help enhance results.


These are six of the most common beginner fitness mistakes that derail them when pursuing their health and fitness goals. Some of these common mistakes are myths that are perpetuated throughout fitness centers around the world. People want to achieve results and they often fall for these ‘traps’ and end up making things worse.

I hope this helps you understand where people get it wrong. I hope this helps you stay on the straight path to the health, energy levels and body shape you desire!

Connect Here With Watchfit Expert Dr. Paul Henning


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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans