Many of us know strength training is important, but for several, especially newbies, beginning a lifting program at a gym can be a scary feat. Even I have been intimated by weight rooms at times. But not to fret, I’m here to explain some of the top reasons why people avoid the weight room and how to look like a pro and more importantly, overcome your fears of the weights.
We set New Year’s resolutions to get healthier, for those of you still holding strong to your fitness goals you have found a gym and gotten your bearings. Now it is time to take the next step and approach your workout like a pro and start getting the results you’re looking for. Over the next week, you can look for one tip a day to help you get over gym-timidation.
Tip #1: Educate yourself on the weights and machines at your gym
A gym can often feel like a jungle of gym equipment that often leaves beginners scratching their heads or maybe even avoiding workouts entirely. Knowing what each machine in the gym does is essential to getting a thorough and safe workout.
Ask an employee, or find someone at the gym who looks like they know what they are doing (trust me, they will be flattered you asked them for help!) to show you how to use a machine or check if you are using the proper form. Just make sure that if you do ask someone who is working out, that you don’t ask them in the middle of their set.
If you’re willing to spend a little extra, investing in a trainer is a good idea if you are new to weight training. Trainers can help you with the equipment and show you what exercises you should be doing to work towards your specific goals while teaching you proper form so that you do not hurt yourself.
If hiring a trainer isn’t in your budget, or talking to strangers isn’t appealing, you can also tap into social media. YouTube and Instagram are my personal favorites when learning how to perform a specific exercise, a variation of an exercise, or learn something entirely new to incorporate into my routine.
I love following Hanna Öberg on YouTube and Instagram! She is so sweet, has fantastic style, and I love her accent (she is from Sweden). She always has great tips on specific exercises or entire workouts. She is a Gymshark athlete/rep which is one of my favorite active clothing brands.
Another great follow when looking for gymspiration are Abby Pollock’s YouTube videos. She has more science behind her videos and I find her posts very helpful and educational.
Chris Heria is another great source for challenging yet rewarding workouts. He has high-quality YouTube videos that really break down each move and help you build a fitness framework.
Apart from YouTube and Instagram influencers, bodybuilding.com puts out great short clip videos of exercise routines for a specific muscle group. Often, if I’m trying to work a specific muscle group, I’ll watch these videos for inspiration on a few additional exercises to do besides ones that I already have planned. For example https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/shoulder-transformer-workout.html
Remember, start with the basics and slowly work in trying out new equipment or exercises one at a time. For instance, you can get a full shoulder workout in using only dumbbells, and then at the end of your workout (after you’ve become a bit more comfortable being in the weight area), force yourself to try out one new piece of equipment. Maybe it’s a move that you caught a glimpse of someone else doing that you thought would be a good exercise to try out.Pro tip: If you’re new to strength training, sticking with machines before you move on to dumbbells and bars can be easier and safer. Most machines will have written instructions on the machine, they are also much more stable, which can prevent injury. Most machines will also have a picture of how to perform the exercise, a description of how to adjust the machine properly to fit your size, and pictures highlighting the specific muscles that the exercise targets.