Updated: Jan 22, 2022
Working out is one of the best choices you can make for yourself, and it's becoming increasingly popular. The fitness industry is booming, and more and more people choose to start their journeys each day. In fact, the fitness industry grew almost $10 billion USD from 2019-2020! More and more people are choosing to live healthier, more active lifestyles.
But working out and training is not always easy. Many people who start will not get through the first couple months of training.
Because oftentimes, it's harder than they thought.
People who have been training consistently for at least a year or two will likely know these painful things, but never share them with beginners. Possibly because we were never told of these secrets when we first started training.
We're here to make sure that doesn't happen to you. So if you're a beginner looking to start your fitness journey, and you don't want to be like everyone else who missed these secrets, keep reading!
Like we said, most people won't be filled in on these things when they first begin working out. Some of them will shock you!
1. Girls Don't Really Care About Your Muscles
That's right. For all you men out there that started working out in hopes that it would level up your dating life, you're in for a big shock. Just ask any guy that's lifted or worked out consistently for a couple of years. They'll likely tell you that they get far more compliments from guys than they do from girls.
And we're not saying that girls aren't attracted to fitter looking men. It sure is a bonus to most women if you're well built or fit. But it's definitely not going to be a main driving factor as to whether or not you get to go on a date with her.
Some women may not like the fact that they have a partner fitter than her. Others might be intimidated by large, bulky muscles. Women will sometimes even immediately associate a muscular body with narcissism and having a big ego.
However if you are working out to attract more women (which generally isn't a great idea in the first place), your best bet would be to obtain an athletic looking physique, with a lower body fat percentage, and defined but not bulky muscles.
Sort of like Zac Efron's body.
We'd say that's the most attractive body type to most women.
So if you got into lifting solely because you thought it would attract more women, and you don't actually enjoy it, you may want to reevaluate how you're spending your time.
Instead, focus on yourself, becoming the best possible version of yourself that you can, and the women will come soon enough.
But just remember, having a good body alone will not get your more girls. Maybe more women will approach you, but it's up to all the other 10 million things about you that will determine whether you score a date with her.
2. In Order to Get in Shape, You Have to Train Hard
It's common misconception among beginners that going into the gym and doing the motions will result in progress.
People will often sit on spin bikes and rowing machines, and just go through the motion, at a pace that doesn't provide a challenge at all.
And while some may be on physical therapy or have a condition that puts them at risk when intensely exercising, majority of the people aren't. They're just not willing to put in the work yet.
I see people cycling whilst they're on their phones, scrolling through Instagram, going for 15-30 minutes at a time.
And by the time they get off, they've just started to puff. If that sounds like you, you may want to look to work harder in future sessions, to ensure you're not wasting your own time. Pacing yourself properly on cardio can be challenging, and it will come with time.
But if you're nearing the end of the session and you're not anywhere near exhausted, go harder in the last couple of minutes!
Alternatively you could look to do some kind of HIIT workout that requires you to go all out effort during the work periods, so that you don't have to worry about burning out. Because the workout will have been designed around that.
It's sometimes also hard for beginners to gauge how hard they're actually working. For example, some beginners might stop as soon as they start to feel a sweat, or stop as soon as the reps get hard and start to slow down.
Some will think that one more rep would have had them reach muscular failure.
It's hard to know whether this is due to a lack of discipline or a lack of knowledge. I've seen it firsthand in both my own experiences when I first started, and my friends who started months after me.
A good way to combat this and get into the right working mindset would be to just give yourself a quick test on how strong you really are. For example, take a comfortable weight on the bench press, and take a set to complete failure.
I mean you absolutely, undoubtedly could not have squeezed in another rep.
Once you complete that, and you're sure it was absolute failure (you could ask someone to watch and get another opinion), you'll know what it feels like to really work hard, and you'll ensure you're not wasting your sets and energy.
So in order to build maximal muscle and see proper results, you have to take your sets in the gym within 3 reps of failure.
Or take your training sessions seriously. That means get off your phone, truly focus, and make sure you're working hard. If you're doing otherwise, you're likely leaving gains on the table.
3. You're Likely Doing Too Much Volume
Many beginners in the gym will also fall under the impression that more volume leads to more hypertrophy (muscle growth). And while this is true up to a point, that point comes much sooner than the majority of people think.
Scientific studies have shown that in order to achieve optimal muscle growth, your ideal weekly volume is somewhere between 10-20 working sets for most people.
Personally, I've seen people do upwards of 30-35 sets in a workout. For most people, that's just way too much, and they're likely wasting their time that could be spent doing other things.
You'll see many people sharing workouts on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, with their routines including 4 exercises for chest, 4 exercises for shoulders and 3 exercises for triceps. Just for the regular 'push' workout.
If you're training as hard as you should be, you most definitely should not be able to get through a workout that long. If you're currently doing long workouts like this, and they're taking you upwards of 2 hours per session, you're more than likely to be wasting your time.
Just pick a handful of exercises to do (be smart about it), and take those sets closer to failure! It's better to do less, higher quality sets than it is to do lots of low quality sets.
4. Access to a Gym is Not Necessary
Another thing that lots of people don't actually know when they first begin working out is the fact that access to a gym membership is not 100% necessary for you to build muscle. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people started worrying that their gains would be lost, and that home workouts just wouldn't bring about the same results.
But the truth is, they can be just as effective at building muscle as a weightlifting workout would be, as long as you do them correctly. You might know some influencers like Austin Dunham, Chris Heria or Andrea Larosa, all of which built their physiques primarily through bodyweight training.
Just look at this video below by Calisthenics Mindset, showcasing Chris Heria's bodyweight training transformation!
You see, bodyweight training can be equally as effective as weight training. You just have to do it right.
And what do we mean by this? We're talking about once again, training hard enough and training smart. Bodyweight training will be different for everybody, as a set of 15 push ups might be challenging to one person, but be less than a warmup for another.
That's why instead of following the set reps guides that you see when you search up 'home chest workout', you should be taking all of your working sets to within 3 reps of failure. That way you'll provide your muscles with a proper challenge, and elicit some actual growth.
You also need to train smart, and by this we mean progressing through tougher and tougher exercise variations. Once you reach a point where you can do sets of 30+ push ups in a set, it no longer becomes a hypertrophy focused exercise. Instead, it's become a muscular endurance exercise.
To combat this and prevent you from losing out on gains, you'll need to find tougher variations. Whether you decide to do archer push ups, or pseudo planche push ups, you need to find a way to make the exercises harder, so that you fall back into your ideal rep ranges for muscle growth.
Bodyweight training can be equally as effective as weight training, you just have to train smart, and get creative sometimes.
Read more: check out our guide on how to effectively make gains at home, with very minimal equipment!
Or click here to view our bodyweight hypertrophy program that you can do at home!
5. Chances Are, No One is Judging You
A survey in 2019 found that 1 in 4 women actually avoid the gym, in fear of being judged for either not looking fit enough, their choice of clothing or other factors. And according to Independent UK, these findings were highest among females aged 18-24, with 70% of the women claiming they felt that way.
Another poll found that 36% of men felt that way, meaning it can be inferred that quite an alarming portion of the population avoids the gym because of some form of intimidation.
Many beginners who are brave enough to start their journeys spend lots of time worrying about the way they look in the gym, and often times alter their workouts or skip parts of them in fear of being judged.
For example, many beginners will start out on machines or cardio equipment, as it's more familiar and they feel that they're less likely to be judged.
I've seen people tell stories about how they spent much of their first weeks in the gym walking on treadmills, when they really wanted to get started with lifting weights and some workouts that they'd actually find enjoyable.
And while I can definitely see where this is coming from, many beginners fail to realize that chances are, no one is watching you.
Even if you occasionally see someone glancing at you in the mirror, it was probably just a coincidence. Most people that lift are actually incredibly kind, as they too know what it feels like to be a beginner.
Often times, the biggest guys and girls in the gym are some of the nicest, most supportive people you'll meet. If you asked for a spot or some advice, it's safe bet that 90% of them would be more than happy to help you out with a smile.
However if you still are really anxious about heading into the gym, some helpful ways you could combat this intimidation would be to have a workout partner with you! Whether that's a friend who's also just starting out with you or has been lifting for years, it doesn't matter! Training with company is a great way to get started, as it helps keep you motivated, and the sessions fun.
Another tip would be to walk in with a plan. Know exactly what you're going to be doing. That way, you avoid wasting any time walking around, and you won't look as much like a beginner. You can check out some of our training programs if you need some guidance.
You could also try to avoid peak hours if you're really anxious, as there will be less people there, and you're less likely to feel intimidated. You can really focus on yourself, and having the best workout you possibly can!
But seriously, next time you workout, just have a look around! People are likely to be focused on themselves and their own workouts.
And even if you know people are judging you (such as you hear them talking about you), just don't worry about it.
Everybody trash talks. You've done it before. I've done it before. And you know the saying: if you don't have haters, you're not doing it right.
6. You Can't Spot Reduce Fat
I'm sure you've seen it before. The 30-day sit up challenge to shredded abs. Or the face workout program to a sharper jawline.
They're all workouts and programs designed to help you lose fat in specific areas of your body. And while these promises may seem amazing, it's not physically possible to target fat loss in specific areas of the body.
You'll have to eat in a caloric deficit (burn more calories than you eat), and you'll gradually lose body fat across the entire body. Whether that happens to be your thighs, stomach or arms first is up to your genetics, but you're sure to lose fat across the entire body if you stick at it.
No amount of crunches will get you shredded abs. Likewise, no amount of 'facial exercises' will help you achieve a sharper looking jawline. Sure, you can build larger muscles in those areas and help them show in slightly higher bodyfat percentages (although the facial exercises are quite stupid in general).
The point is, doing these exercises alone will not help you reach your goals. Unless your goal is to waste time. You have to be smart about what you're eating, and more so how much you're eating.
7. Cardio Burns Calories, Not Fat
Whether you've had people tell you that running will burn fat or that doing a certain HIIT fat-burning workout 3 times a week will get you shredded, you've likely been misinformed about losing weight. Cardio and physical exercise in general (weight training included) burns calories, not fat.
Even if you were to do several cardio workouts a day, if you consumed more calories than you burned, you wouldn't lose weight.
Doing workouts will not burn fat. Working out will burn calories. And maintaining a caloric deficit will burn fat off your body. That's just the way it works.
Cardiovascular exercise has been proven to be the most effective for your time when it comes to calorie burning, and it's probably your best bet if losing weight is your primary goal in fitness right now. Especially if you're short on time (do HIIT workouts).
So just remember, next time you see a guru or company promising you washboard abs or a slimmer waist in 30 days and it sounds too good to be true, that's because it is.
These are all important things that you really should know, but so many people are going to avoid telling you for one reason or another.
You need to understand these secrets, and use this extra knowledge to make a difference in your training.
Otherwise, you might struggle to reach your goals and fitness and actually get to where you want to be.
If you enjoyed this post remember to share it with your friends on social media so that we can reach more people!
And if you would like us to help you with your fitness journey, and remove A TON of the guesswork for you, check out our custom programs feature to get started.
And to unlock unlimited, exclusive access to our blog articles, go ahead and start your free trial with Gympulsive Pro now!