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# 2: Come up with a plan
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you are working your butt off at the gym but still failing to see or feel your work pay off. Having a workout plan provides you with structure so that you aren’t wondering what to do next or just reverting back to cardio equipment. Workout plans tell you which exercise to do, how many reps, how many sets, etc. Everything is laid out for you.
Again, this is where a personal trainer may be a benefit, particularly if you new to the gym. However, it goes without saying that everyone doesn’t need to use a trainer to get started, and let’s be honest, trainers are expensive. The good ones are worth their weight in gold, creating awesome changes in a short period of time, but a trainer is usually beyond most people’s budget.
Before you set foot in the gym, make sure that you come up with a plan. Planning out what your workout will be for the day (and week) will greatly reduce your anxiety about what to do once you actually get to the gym. Start with a simple workout plan. Figure out how many days you can commit to strength training and for how long.
From there, break up your days with specific muscle groups to work, or upper or lower body days. For example, if you can start with lifting for 3 days each week for 45 minutes each day, I’d recommend one upper body day, one lower body day, and one full body day. Once you have a schedule find exercises that target what you are training. For example, for a lower body day, I would incorporate squats, deadlifts, leg extensions, lunges, weighted step-ups, and calve raises just to name a few. This is where social media is amazing; do a little searching and you’ll have a workout plan ready in no time!
There are situations where you may want to lift heavier weight with fewer reps, or lighter weight with more reps. But if you are a beginner, I would recommend that you start with approximately 4-8 exercises and perform each exercise for 3 or 4 sets with 8-12 reps.
When you are in the weight room, start with a lighter weight (but not too light!) that you can make maintain to your last few reps in each set without any strain. Gradually increase your weight after a few sessions, but only after you are able to complete all sets and reps without feeling any strain. More importantly, write your plan out, either on a small notebook or on your phone. There are lots of apps to help track your plans and progress as well. If you need some app inspiration check out this list: https://www.lifewire.com/best-workout-log-apps-4140222 .