If you’re afraid of the idea of weight lifting, don’t worry. You’re not the only one. There are tons of people who miss out on the great benefits of lifting weights for a variety of reasons. However, if you’re reading this, then chances are that you’ve overcome your weight room angst and are ready to finally give lifting a try.
If this is the case, congratulations! You’re well on your well to enjoying all of the great benefits that weight lifting has such as blood sugar control, weight loss, disease prevention, improved heart health and more. Despite all of the great thing you have to look forward to, it’s no secret that sticking to a new regimen can be tough. We’ve got some tips to keep in mind to help you stay committed on your journey to a fitter and stronger you.
#1: Don’t Call It Quits in the First Few Weeks
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are muscles or gym confidence. When you first start weight lifting, it will come with fatigue and soreness that you’re not used to.Many people also feel awkward, off balance or just plain uncomfortable when they start weight lifting. It’s incredibly crucial that you don’t quit during this time and that you don’t let any intimidation-factors throw you of course.
Remember that this is all a part of the process and that you’ll get used to it and confident with time. In fact, many if not all, personal trainers report that as time goes by, the mind-body connection increases and the act of weight lifting starts to feel more natural to most people. If pumping iron still makes you feel awkward or intimidated after two weeks, try hiring a personal trainer that can help coach you through the basics and master the fundamentals of form.
#2: Soreness Isn’t Your Only Measure of Success
Newbies tend to associate muscle soreness as a sign of success or effectivity when they’re lifting weights. It’s actually more accurate to say that soreness is a sign of muscle damage. After all, lifting weight essentially is tearing down muscles so that you can build them back up stronger. However, this is just one facet of weight lifting and it’s not the only way to gauge how effective your workouts are. In fact, it may even be one of the least important mechanisms of gauging the effectivity of your exercises. Just because you’re not sore the day after your workout doesn’t mean you didn’t have a great workout.
#3: Slower is Better
Concentration is key when you’re starting out at weight lifting. Concentrating on your form, concentrating on technique, concentrating on every little movement to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your work out. Trying to speed through your strength workout is the fastest way to get injured.
If you’re starting out, remember that it’s better to keep your movements and exercises slow. This gives you the mental capacity to focus on all of your movements and make sure you’re maintaining the proper form in the midst of it all. Once you’ve developed a solid foundation, you can try going through the motions a little faster. Don’t forget that at the end of the day, quality trumps quantity. Besides, going slow when you’re lifting weights also allows your muscles to fully maximize each repetition.
#4: Don’t Limit Yourself to Just One Kind of Workout
One of the most common mistakes that rookies make is limiting their selves to just one kind of weight lifting workout. Some people think that the only way to really lift weights is with barbells and dumbbells. Others are simply too scared to try anything else. This is the fastest way to burn out, especially if you’re not enjoying the workout to begin with.
Our advice is to approach weight-lifting much like you would dating. If it’s not working for you, try something new until you find the one that really fits. Some alternatives include kettlebells, medicine balls and body-weight exercises like TRX. It’s absolutely crucial for you to keep experimenting until you find the weight-training routine that works for you because it increases your chances of sticking to the program over time.
#5: A Bad Diet Will Catch Up with You
There’s just no way you can out-train a horrible diet. No matter how much weights your lifting or how often you’re hitting the gym, if you’re putting junk in your body you’re just sabotaging your efforts. Just think of it this way, any workout you do only counts for about 10% of your journey to fitness.
The remaining 90% is determined by a healthy diet comprised of whole foods. For people who lift weights regularly, it’s important to consume a healthy amount of protein, healthy fats and a moderate amount of carbohydrates. Combining healthy eating habits and an outstanding gym regimen will get you to that sweet spot that will have you toning muscle and burning fat at an optimal rate.
#6: Find Some Time to Rest
Sometimes, when we start a new workout regimen, we tend to get carried away. Believe it or not, your hard work will go to waste if you don’t take some time to give your body a rest. Remember how we mentioned earlier that lifting weights is a process of breaking muscle fibers so that new and stronger muscle fibers can take their place?
Well, depriving your body of rest means depriving your muscles the opportunity to rebuild after a workout. A good rule of thumb to follow is to incorporate weight lifting programs into your fitness regimen around 2 or 3 times a week. You should be taking 48 hours to rest between these work outs to allow your body and muscles to recover. Just bear in mind that this doesn’t mean turning into a couch potato when you aren’t lifting weights. Active rest is the way to go and you can do this by incorporating cardio workouts or low impact exercises in your week.