I'm not claiming to be a fitness instructor, but I did come across this article online the other day and thought it was very helpful for people who are new to the gym and are wanting to lose weight.
10 Rookie Mistakes First-Time Gym Members Should Avoid
By: Katie Rosenbrock
1.) Don't Set Your Expectations Too High.
This is not something that is going to happen overnight. There's no magic pill or special diet that is going to make this happen. It's all up to you and how much work you put into it. You won’t transform overnight, so be realistic about what you’re setting out to achieve. You may not see any significant changes over the first few weeks, but don’t let a lack of visible progress deflate your motivation. Similarly, don’t expect to overhaul all of your bad habits at once. Slowly integrate new practices (like exercising three days each week or incorporating a serving of vegetables in one meal each day) one at a time instead going to extremes, like vowing to exercise every single day and eat only salad.
2.) Don't Start Without a Plan
A steady and consistent workout plan and diet are much more effective. Find a workout facility that is convenient to your home or work, and plan your meals ahead of time. Stock your pantry and fridge with healthy options. If you know cookies and brownies are your weak spot, simply don't buy them, then they aren't a temptation. Plan your weeks and workouts ahead of time. If you fit going to the gym into your schedule, then you're more likely to go. Plan ahead!
3.) Don't Do Cardio Only
Don't get me wrong, cardio is an important part in shedding off extra weight, but it's only half the battle, don't forget about weight training. The metabolic lift from weight training is extremely important, and just three days of weight training a week can have your metabolism revving for the entire week. Weight training builds the muscle which in turn burns more calories through out the day.
Women sometimes get the wrong impression that if you lift weights, you're gonna get "big". I was one of them. The first time I worked out with Wade and Adam I remember saying, "but I don't wanna get big." Wade rolled his eyes and assured me I wasn't. And you won't either (if you're a woman).
4.) Don't Start Too Hard or Too Heavy
It's you vs. you in the gym. Be honest about where your fitness level is and choose workouts that appropriately meet your needs. Start at a level that is challenging but allows you to keep proper form. Even the big guys had to start somewhere.
5.) Don't Spend Too Much Time at The Gym
There are many workouts that are effective in just 30 to 45 minutes, especially if you're working out by yourself. You do not have to carve out hours every day for the gym. Have a plan of attack when you walk in and know what you're going to do. Try and leave your phone in the car if possible. This will prevent you from texting and getting distracted. Again, consistency is key and a well-planned 45 minutes is better than an hour and a half of wandering around.
6.) Don't Skip Stretching
Give back to your body, find 5 to 10 minutes to stretch and relax at the end of each workout. Your body will thank you. This is something that I can honestly say that I don't do enough of, and should.
7.) Don't Attempt Exercises You Don't Know How To Do
Learning to exercise is like learning to drive, it’s relatively easy, but very risky without any instruction. Most gyms should have personal trainers. Most offer a week of free training. The trainer can help evaluate your fitness level and teach you proper form for basic exercises. Don't be afraid to ask and make sure you're doing it right.
8.) Don't Follow Along With a More Experienced Friend
Often, beginning exercisers are encouraged to start by a more experienced friend. While this is certainly a positive, following their workout may not be. You have to remember that your friend may have much more experience in the gym and can handle a larger workload. They can help you and show you the ropes, just don't push your limits trying to do everything they do.
9.) Don't Be Afraid To Ask Questions
Joining the gym for the first time can be intimidating, but you should never let that stop you from asking a staff member or gym member for help. That's what they're there for, and most gym members are more than willing to help! Doing an exercise wrong, particularly when working with free weights, can do more harm than good.
10.) Don't Do The Same Workouts Over And Over
There is no perfect exercise, your body benefits most from a mix of cardiovascular and strength-training, along with balance and flexibility work. Doing one thing repetitively can get stale quickly—the body stops improving and the mind gets bored. Try to mix in three different cardio machines in the course of a week, and switch between machines, bands, free weights and body weight exercises for strength training. Use the stability and BOSU balls for balance work, and don't forget your stretching.