7 Tips to Help you Start Lifting Weights
So you’ve decided to start lifting weights. Great! You will soon find out why so many people love to pump iron.
Just in case you need a bit more motivation to start lifting, here are a few reasons to pick up a set of dumbbells:
- Lifting weights increases your type II muscle fibers which in return speeds up your metabolism. This means that you can consume more calories without gaining weight. Not convinced? Find a reputable gym that offers bod pod testing. Get your body composition tested when you start training and once again about 3-6 months later. You will probably notice an increase in how many calories you should consume to maintain your weight.
- If you’re struggling with a loss in bone density, weight lifting will help reverse this. Your bones respond to the stress of weight lifting by building bigger, stronger bones.
- Want to look sexy in everything? Weight lifting gives you sleek, toned muscles! And ladies, please remember that you will not turn into the hulk. When I started weight training my body actually leaned out and I lost inches. I went from wearing a size 6 to a size 2….at Express, not sure what size this actually is since they run large, but you get the idea.
Starting a new workout regimen can be overwhelming, so I’ve compiled a list of 7 tips that helped me start lifting weights.
1. Find a personal trainer
Finding a knowledgeable personal trainer to start is good idea especially if you’re new to weight lifting. When you first start out, learning proper form as well as the various exercises you can do with the machines and free weights can be overwhelming. Finding a trainer you work well with is key. She can coach you on proper form, and work with your fitness goals to create a lifting plan specific for you. In the past I’ve enjoyed working with multiple trainers because I learn something different from each of them, and have been able to figure out which kind of lifting works best for my body. If you’ve been lifting for awhile on your own it’s always fun to work with a trainer every once in awhile to help switch up your routine, avoid plateauing, and to push yourself further.
2. Eat Properly
You don’t want to go into a lifting session on empty. Trust me, I’ve done it before and I left the gym feeling defeated. Consuming the proper nutrients before and after your workout is important for having the best workout possible, and providing your body with the nutrition it needs to recover and build muscle.
Make sure to consume enough calories before your workout. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you can barely lift your water bottle much less a 20 pound dumbbell. About an hour before your lifting session eat some low glycemic carbs such as nuts or brown rice for energy, and a small portion of protein such as chicken or protein powder to aid in recovery and provide energy. An example of a good pre-workout snack could be quinoa, veggies and chicken, or oatmeal, peanut butter, protein powder, banana and almond milk.
If you think that skipping a post workout snack will help you slim down faster then you need to rethink your logic. It makes sense from a caloric stand point that skipping a meal or snack after working out will help with weight loss, but the opposite it true. Discover Strength suggests that you consume about 20-30 grams of protein 20-30 minutes after working out to aid in the recovery process. Eating a post workout snack will actually help increase lean muscle and reduce fat. They also state that, “In research trials, women who consume a 250-calorie snack after a strength-training workout lose almost twice as much fat as women who eat nothing after the workout”. I’d say that’s a good reason to stop skipping a post workout snack or meal after working out!
3. Invest in good workout clothes (preferably ones you like)
I’ve always invested in my workout clothes. When I think about spending money on workout clothes, that saying “Throwing good money after bad” pops into my head. My experience with workout clothing is that if I buy cheap then they fall apart on me, get sweat stains like no other and most importantly, I feel blah wearing them. When I invest in my workout clothes I find that they last a long time. I have a few pairs of Lululemon pants and will never regret the purchase. I’ve worn each pair countless times, and they still look and feel great. It’s always worth the price in my mind, just make sure to wash them properly. I also find that I love how they look on me! There’s nothing better than wearing workout clothes that make you feel powerful and sexy. And let’s face it, sometimes putting on a cute workout outfit is the difference between making it to the gym or sitting down on the couch with chips.
4. Make a killer playlist
Having a killer playlist ready for your workout is extremely important. There are times when I really don’t want to workout, but as soon as I start listening to upbeat music I’m ready to go. I find that music helps push me, and gives me the energy I need to work hard. Listening to a great playlist also helps me focus on lifting instead of what exercise the person next to me is doing. Please don’t judge too harshly, but here a few of my favorite songs to keep me motivated during a workout:
- “Acapella” – Karmin
- “The Beautiful People” – Burlesque soundtrack
- “Can’t Hold Us” – Macklemore
- “End of Time” – Beyonce
- “Like a Drum” – Lauriana Mae
- “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” – The Great Gatsby soundtrack
- “Runaway Baby” – Bruno Mars
5. Find a friend
Finding a workout buddy is extremely helpful at times especially when you don’t feel like going to the gym. Besides being a motivator, a friend can spot you, and help push you further when you’re coming close to failure. You can encourage each other, and make the lifting session more enjoyable.
6. Set a Schedule
The best time of day to workout is the time that works best for you. Are you a morning, lunch break or evening kind of person? Figure out which days of the week and what time works best for you, and stick to it. Once it becomes a habit you won’t think twice about working out and you’ll probably look forward to it. I find that it’s much easier to get to the gym if I stick to my schedule and avoid excuses.
7. Pack a bag
If you’re working out right after work or an event, make sure to pack a gym bag versus going home to change. If your bag is in the car ready to go you’re much more likely to head straight to the gym and get your workout in. If you go home first not only are you going to waste precious time, but there’s a good chance that you’ll get distracted by a family member, the dog or food, and may end up skipping your workout entirely.
There you have it, 7 tips to help you start lifting weights! And remember, if weights aren’t available to you for any reason, resistance bands will also do the trick.
What tricks help you get to the gym?
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