Lifting can be intimidating when you’re new to the sport. Here are some tips to help you gain confidence and start lifting effectively and safely; so you can enjoy it as much as possible and reap the health benefits associated with lifting.
It Shouldn’t Hurt.
I thought I would start with the most important one, when lifting (for beginners especially) you shouldn’t feel pain during your lifts. Sure, you might ache a little after a tough workout. But actual pain equals actual injury, the last thing you want to do is to injure yourself when you’re new to the sport. My suggestion would be to start with light weights and do a variety of exercises. Training legs isn’t just squats, it can (and should be) squats, lunges and other movements.
A Good Warm-up is Essential.
This is much the same for all sports, the style of warm-up will vary dramatically for the type of exercise you do, including different warm-ups for different types of lifting. As a Powerlifter I do dynamic stretching and foam rolling before touching the weights. I also always do warm-up sets of each exercise on a light weight before starting my full workout. If your muscles aren’t warm and mobile you risk injury, which is obviously something you want to avoid.
For The Same Volume – Muscle Weighs More Than Fat.
You’ve heard this one before, it means that what you weigh has little relation to what you look like. When you start lifting (with a healthy diet) you will build muscle and lose fat, however this won’t necessarily lead to you reaching your weight and physical goals simultaneously. Lifting (whatever type it may be) is a sport, and the achievement you feel from perfecting your form, lifting a heavier weight or simply realising you’re healthier than you used to be will be worth it.
You’ll Crave Healthy Food.
Your body will be working hard to sustain your new lifestyle and it will need and want fuel! A high protein diet really supplements lifting and will help you reach your goals faster – whether they be strength, physique or just general health. Protein helps build muscle, and muscle in turn helps burn fat. A whey protein is the perfect supplement to use here – it’s rapidly digested making it ideal post-workout nutrition, and it’s very low in carbs and fat too. Healthy foods will fuel your workouts, so don’t be surprised when you start coveting that green smoothie, nut butter or protein shake!
You Won’t Get Big Overnight.
I cannot count the amount of times I have had to convince somebody that the fear of looking like a bodybuilder after one weight session is irrational. Bodybuilders spend an awful lot of time working on their physiques, if it could be attained after one workout bodybuilding competitions wouldn’t be a thing. If you want to look “big” this goal can be achieved over time through lifting and a carefully controlled diet, just as if you want to get lean and toned this can also be achieved through lifting and diet. Women especially have a hard time getting “big” even if they want to due to lack of testosterone. An image search of “female lifters” should put your mind at ease if looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger after one lifting session was a worry.
Friends Made in the Weights Area are True Friends.
Since I started lifting I have made some really close friends; there is a level of trust required asking a friend to spot you on an ambitious lift. When I was new to Powerlifting I had to be very reliant on others to teach me the lifts and have made strong friendships in the process of getting stronger myself. I have learnt, that the over-confident or outspoken people in the weights area tend to be the most insecure and least talented lifters. I have also met some very talented young athletes throughout my training. The majority of them seem to have a similar approach to lifting, they’re just as keen to learn from you as they are to teach you.
Finally – you will love it!
About the Author:
Leilah Forward studies Mathematics full-time at the University of Surrey. She has been Powerlifting since July with the intention to compete in 2016. Before evolving to Powerlifting she practised Yoga and general gym training. She has a creative enthusiasm for health and fitness.