Have you ever walked into a room and everyone has stopped what they’re doing to look at you? So you go red, mutter an apology and stumble out? Well that’s what my first foray into the weight-lifting area of a gym was like back at university.
It took me a while to go back and that was only with another woman to keep me company. Since then I’ve fallen in love with lifting weights, especially with how it makes me feel and how it enables me to sculpt my body. Also, I see cardio as an evil necessity and find it much easier to push myself when it comes to picking heavy things up and putting them down again.
But I’ve been asked many times about how to get into weight lifting so I thought I’d put together a beginner’s guide to weight lifting for men and women (because the weights room can be a scary place for men too!)
Step 1: Picture the hero or heroine in your favourite film and strut into the place like you own it. Hold your head high, have confidence in yourself and remind yourself that you’re there to enjoy it
Step 2: But don’t be scared about asking for help
Step 3: Nail the basics. I’d recommend that you start with a squat, a deadlift, a shoulder press and a bicep curl. Watch videos on YouTube if you really don’t want to ask for help but remember, personal trainers and gym instructors are there to keep you safe
Step 4: Perfect your technique before you start adding on any serious weight because bad technique + heavy weights = all of the pain
Step 5: Once you’ve got the technique down start adding the weights on. You should be using a suitable weight for the number of sets and reps that you’re doing. At the end of each set you should be feeling like you can’t really do many more. This is how you force your body to adapt and hit your goals, whether they are strength, hypertrophy (muscle growth) or endurance
Step 6: Track your progress rather than trying to remember all of the numbers. I keep a note on my phone of all of the weights that I’m currently lifting
Step 7: Just like with any other physical progress you may hit a plateau. If this happens, have a deload week. Try some lighter weights or try some other things. When you come back to it you’ll feel fresher and most likely will be able to push your weights up
Remember, it’s never as scary as you think it’s going to be and everyone is much friendlier than you think they’re going to be!
If you’re really struggling it might be worth having a session or two with a personal trainer to put together a programme and show you some of the moves. If you’d like to train with me just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, please excuse me while I go and hit a PB…