If you’re a gym newbie it’s completely normal to be a little intimidated by the weights area. It can be daunting (to say the least) to walk in for the first time, and see everyone using all these complicated machines. You may find yourself hyping yourself up pre-gym session, only to stumble back to the safe zone of the cardio room for the third time that week. There’s no shame in that — plenty of gym-goers have felt the same way.
But the weights room doesn’t need to be a scary place. Once you build confidence and feel comfortable, you’ll soon not give it a second’s thought. Before long, you’ll be pushing yourself out of your comfort zone all the time. And remember, most people in the gym are far too wrapped up in their own workout to notice yours.
We all have to start somewhere. Even Farah Fonseca, three-time England’s Strongest Woman, didn’t feel 100% comfortable in the gym at first. It's all about confidence — as soon as you master that, there’ll be no stopping you.
Benefits of strength training
Remember: you do you. If you’re happy on the treadmill, then stick to it. But it is worth knowing about the many benefits of strength training. It may make you reconsider the weights room.
- Build muscle and burn calories
- Reduce your risk of day-to-day injuries
- Increase muscle strength
- Increase energy
- Release of mood-lifting endorphins
- Can improve sleep
How to begin strength training
Before you even hit the gym, first you need to decide how much time you want to dedicate to the gym. And be realistic. The more attainable your goal is, the more likely you are to achieve it — pick a training schedule that works for your lifestyle and your goals.
As a beginner, you may choose to split your training into two halves — upper and lower body — and alternate between them. A four-day training plan might look like this:
- Monday: upper
- Tuesday: lower
- Wednesday: rest
- Thursday: upper
- Friday: lower
- Saturday: rest
- Sunday: rest
Once you have a logical training split and a realistic plan in place, start with machine exercises. When you’re comfortable moving your body in this way, you can start using free weights.
But there’s no rush. You should take your time to get comfortable with the weights. If you want some advice feedback on your form, ask your gym’s PT, ask another person in the gym, or even go with a friend with a little more experience.
Take home message
There we have it. It's time to hit the gym. If you’ve been wanting to take on the weights section but been putting it off, . Work out a realistic goal and training plan, go steady, and proactively seek feedback. You’ll soon be feeling confident and ready to push yourself further.