So you’ve decided to make working out a habit (you’ve made the right decision)! You put your sneakers on and headed to the gym which is the first, and seemingly most difficult, part. If you’re just starting a weightlifting routine, here are a few tips to get you started and hopefully to keep you going back to the gym.
Be Patient, You Won’t See Results Right Away
It’s too easy when starting a diet, new workout plan, or anything really to get discouraged early on because you aren’t seeing results. The key with weightlifting is consistency. If you don’t see results within the first couple weeks or even month, that’s fine!
Everyone’s body reacts differently, so keep going to the gym. Trust me, you won’t regret it. Depending on what kind of workouts you’re doing, (heavy weight, low reps or lower weight, high reps, etc) the kinds of results you see are going to be different. Even if you don’t see results, you may not notice that you’re gaining muscle and losing fat.
Start Focusing on Smaller Achievements
If last week you used 25-pound dumbells and this week you bumped up to 30 pounds, that’s an awesome achievement! Just look for these little victories and they will eventually made big changes. It helps when you have these little improvements to get excited about.
Your Body Needs Proper Fuel To Lift More
If you’re starting lifting for the first time, you might not really know what you need to be eating. Doing some research can really help you out here. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you see progress (GAINS) when you start fueling your muscles.
Your muscles need protein to rebuild and if you are starting to be more active, you might notice yourself getting HUNGRY! Eating more is okay because you’re burning more calories. Just make sure you aren’t eating tubs of ice cream — instead of lean proteins and vegetables.
Muscle Soreness Isn’t Always Good
Sometimes, the first few times you exercise, being sore feels great..You feel like you have just accomplished something. However, soreness can be bad if you are unable to get a workout in because you’re too sore.
If you do find yourself unable to workout because you’re sore, try mixing in a little cardio, like running or swimming, to work some of the lactic acid out of your muscles. Another way to avoid missing workouts is to split your workouts up by muscle group. It can be tempting to go all out at first, but if you do all your muscle groups every day, you’re bound to overtrain.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity
Seriously, learn good technique for all the lifts before you start. If you aren’t confident in your form, start with low weights. You can injure yourself and end your new workout habit in a flash, if you don’t lift safely.
If you’re lifting heavy weight and you aren’t absolutely sure you can lift it, ask someone to spot you or lift with a friend. You don’t want to be the one stuck on the bench with the bar crushing your chest.
When you’re first starting, focus on form and it will pay off later when you’re lifting heavier weight.
If You Don’t Like A Certain Workout, Find a New One
If you dread doing a certain workout or your on a plan that isn’t exciting for you, find another one. There are tons of different lifting regimines you can follow. Bodybuilding.com is a great resource. They have tons of different workouts and you can search based on your goals and preferences.
On Rest Days…REST!
Your muscles don’t grow at the gym. You break them down when you train and when you rest…your muscles GROW! When you first start lifting, give yourself two or three days off per week. It will help you gain mass quicker, if that’s your goal. Or mix in some cardio, like playing basketball or going for a bike ride, one day a week. Then take one day off to recover mentally and physically from training.
And another thing! Don’t forget to sleep. If you just started taking pre-workout and you think you can get by with 2 hours of sleep per night, you’re wrong. Getting a solid amount of sleep helps muscle recovery and helps keeping your quality of training high.