February 26, 2016

6 Tips for Tackling the Weight Room as a Newbie


Getting started with weight lifting can be really intimidating and overwhelming for a newbie. I know when I first started lifting I imagined stepping on to the weight room floor would be a lot like going into a wild jungle of testosterone fulled wilderbeasts, ready to judge me on my every wrong move. I was so nervous I would use one of those cable “thingy’s” wrong, and and God forbid if I dropped some weights and everyone looked at me and saw through my newbie’ness’. The truth is my concern for being judged as someone who “didn’t know what the hell they are doing” was truthfully all in my head. No one was looking, judging, or worried about what I was doing. They were all to busy doing their own thing.

Still, getting started can be overwhelming because it seems like there is just too much to learn. And it’s seems too hard to know where to start. Well there are a few tricks to getting comfortable on the weight floor.

1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
Anytime we step outside of our comfort zone and try something new it is scary. No one likes to feel like they don’t know what they are doing. The thing is, if you don’t try, you’ll never learn. And I guarantee you that most ‘experts’ in the weight room floor remember what it was like to have that feeling of newness. It isn’t comfortable. It will feel awkward, but no one is feeling that except for you. If you go into the situation, know that you might feel a little weird trying something new but keep the promise to yourself to try it anyway….it does get better. Honestly it gets way better than “better”, it gets great!

2. Have a plan.
Going in with a plan is setting yourself up for success. As a newbie, don’t try to figure out the weightlifting piece by yourself. Trust the experts. There are many different plans out there, and places you can go to get one. You can ask a trainer to write a weekly plan for you to follow. You can also get a ton of plans online. I personally started with bodybuilding.com plans. I loved them because the videos were very helpful as I was learning my way around the gym. Also busymomgetsfit.com has a variety of plans geared specifically towards women. Her plans are focused on beginners, advanced, and core work.

3. Be ok with doing something wrong.
As you are learning be gentle with yourself with the mistakes that you make. Understand that you will make mistakes and that it is just the process of learning. I still make mistakes, and I’m sure a lot of more experienced lifters also make mistakes. It’s ok. Breath, and just take it as the process of learning and improving.

4. Vary your exercises.
Newbies often get stuck in the routine of the same old exercises they’ve been doing. Try new things! You could even change up something small like your grip style or different cable attachment, and it feel so different. It is important to change things up to work different areas of a given muscle group, and not allow your body to adapt to one exercise. I like to try to add two to three new exercises a week or at least a different variation of some of my favorites. Plus new exercises help to engage your mind and keep your interest level up.

5.Be consistent.
Consistency is the most important thing in seeing results. Building muscle is a process. It’s not going to happen overnight. Everyone’s schedule and time commitment is different, and that is ok. If you commit to weight lifting 4 days a week then stick to that plan. Missing weeks here or there will show in your results. If you want great results, then consistency is going to be your best friend.

6.Track your progress.
Tracking progress does amazing things for motivation. Focusing on little things work, whether it is a mental note of your deadlift weight, writing down your PR for the week, or taking progress pictures and measurements. Whatever makes you exited about going in a crushing your goals, do it.

If you are a beginner in the weight room, feeling overwhelmed and think….maybe I’ll just stick to these machines over in the corner. Stop it! Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and take ownership of your fitness by claiming your spot on the weight floor. You deserve it. When you take that step, that risk…I promise you it isn’t as scary as it seems. You will pick it up faster than you think and all your hard work will be worth it.
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  1. Really great reminders! Mastering the gym can be so intimidating – add in the weights and it becomes even more challenging. Awesome advice Alyssa!