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3 common beginner workout mistakes — and how to stay on track

Way to take action and start a new workout program! Now the real work begins.
/ Source: TODAY

Good for you for taking action and starting a workout program! Now the real work begins. If you’ve done even a little research you’re probably more than confused at this point.

Cut through the noise by learning about some of the biggest mistakes beginners make — and how to avoid them.

1. You try to spot reduce

Pumping out hundreds of crunches — or even hours of planks — won’t give you a flat stomach if your diet isn’t on track. You simply can’t make one area of your body smaller on its own. But you can make your entire body smaller by cutting back on calories and losing weight all over.

RELATED: A 5-minute workout you can do anywhere

Plan on a total body workout that includes all your muscles in addition to your favorite ab exercises. (You can find plenty of those here.)

2. You only do cardio

Doing only cardio to lose weight defeats your goal of having a fit body. You may lose weight but you’ll also lose a lot of muscle if you’re not doing any strength training along with it.

Contrary to what you might think, strength training doesn't have to be repetitive weight lifting at the gym — there are plenty of at-home workouts that build muscle and you can do whenever works best for your schedule. For one week, aim to fit in three to five sessions of cardio plus two to three strength training workouts for a lean, toned (not flabby!) body.

RELATED: 3 best moves for a strong core

3. You work out only to lose weight

It’s fine to have a weight-loss goal, but if that's the only reason you start exercising, what will motivate you after you lose the weight?

You need something to keep you going you every day, since results won’t show up on the scale very quickly. Make a list of the reasons why you want to get in shape. Include goals like, “I’ll feel stronger,” “I want to be able to walk up a flight of stairs easily” or “Carry my kids around without back pain.” Those are incentives that never get old.

These tips should help you get on the right foot. Now go get started!

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