There is no doubt that weight-lifting is an awesome thing to add to any fitness routine. Stronger muscles burn more calories and tighten the body for a slimmer look. There are also the practical advantages of being able to lift things with greater ease. For all those reasons perhaps you are considering venturing to the weights room at the gym or even starting a new gym membership. You may even want to pull out the neglected weights set you have collecting dust in the garage. Whatever the case, welcome to the wonderful world of weight lifting. You will not regret it. You will feel healthier and more fit almost immediately. But, you should not enter into a weight-lifting program without some general education first. Consider the five steps in this primer before you begin a beginners’ weight lifting program.
Visit Your Doctor
Most people are healthy enough to start weight lifting. In fact, the weight lifting will make them healthier. But, there are some people who really should see their doctor first. Heart or joint issues may need to be considered first. If you believe you are one of these people go see your doctor. If he gives you the clearance to lift weights be thrilled and move on to the next step.
Get a Tour
Make an appointment with a fitness attendant at the gym you joined and have him show you around the entire gym. The weight room can be quite daunting if you don’t know what to do. Seeing all those men and women you are experienced lifters can make you feel especially sheepish. But, awareness and education is key. Once you understand all the weights and machines you can come back with more confidence. If you are using a home gym you can do the same thing by inviting a friend over who already has experience. He can show you all the crucial exercises on your equipment and leave you to start your journey.
Before you start you need to be realistic and not try to bite off too much at once. It is so easy to get excited about weight lifting and start learning all you can from magazines and on-line. The problem with doing that is you are going to see all the models who have been lifting for years and actually make a living out of it. They are the ideal examples. They are not the norm. Most people, like yourself, probably already have a very busy life and it may be hard just to fit a new weight lifting routine into your week. It is okay. Be realistic. Your goal may be to look like that guy or girl in the pictures and that is a great goal. Just know it is going to take years of dedicated exercise and dieting. This is a journey. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Each workout will build on the previous ones and you will make progress as long as you stick to a program. Remind yourself that change happens slowly. Be realistic and dedicated. You will be happy with the results a few weeks from now.
Create a Basic Program
There are all kinds of programs out there for successful weight-lifting. You are just beginning so start out nice and easy. A good program is to work out three days a week and dedicate each day to either Push, Pull, or Legs. Legs are pretty self explanatory. You work your thighs, hamstrings, and calves. The ladies may want to focus on the glutes (butt) as well. Push day is for working muscles that are worked when performing a pushing motion. The muscles are the triceps, shoulders, and chest. Pull day is for the pulling muscles. On Pull day you focus on the biceps and back. Pull day is also a good day to work on your abdominal muscles. Put Leg day in between Push and Pull day so that those muscles can recover. Be sure to warm-up properly before you start lifting by doing some cardio and light stretching. Since you are just starting this program focus on the machines for about a month. Machines are safer and easier to use. Once you are used to the program and have gained some strength you can start using the free weights more.
Get a Partner
Accountability is key to any successful exercise program. You can pick someone who has a similar fitness level so you can change together or you can choose a friend who is more experienced so you can learn from him. You could even decide to workout with your spouse. Either way having a partner provides the much needed accountability. You know you have someone expecting you to be at the gym at a certain time. When at the gym a partner is your number one encourager. You need that encouragement on the especially bad days and you don’t want to be there. Encouragement can help you squeeze out those last few reps you didn’t think you had. Your partner can count reps for you so that you don’t lose count. Your partner can also watch your form so that you are lifting as efficiently as possible. Finally, having a partner is a safety issue. Weights are heavy. No big revelation there. There will be times when you think you can lift a certain weight and realize you can’t. You don’t want that heavy weight to come crashing down on you. Your partner can help catch it, bring it down slowly, and prevent major injury.
Congratulations on starting your new weight lifting journey. It will be great. Enjoy every minute of it. Be smart, realistic, and dedicated. Take some pictures of your body now and then again three months from now. You will be shocked at how your body has changed. Good Luck!!!