Guest Blogger: Chelsey Hendriksen
You’ve heard about all of the benefits of weight training – increased lean muscle (AKA curves), higher metabolism and the ability to carry in your groceries in a single trip – but you’re a bit unsure of how to get started. I get it, it can seem totally overwhelming when you’re first starting out and diving into something new and that’s why I’m sharing three tips to help ease you into weight training so you can reap all of the amazing benefits.
Practice Good Form Before Adding Too Much Weight
In order to get the most out of your training sessions, you want to ensure you’re using the proper form so that you’re actually working the muscle the exercise is intended to use and also being sure you’re not doing something that can lead to injury. New movements take time to master and it’s important that you know the intended muscle you’re working on so you can be certain you’re performing the exercise accurately.
I know it can be tempting to just grab some dumbbells or jump under a barbell because that’s what everyone else is doing, but if you’re not executing the movement correctly, adding weight isn’t going to make it any better. If anything it’s going to lead to injury. Instead, practice the movements using bodyweight only at first. If you can, do them in front of a mirror or record yourself on your phone so you can see how you look throughout the movement. Sometimes something may feel right but when you see it on video, you notice things that can be improved upon.
Take your time, master the movements and increase the weight slowly and over time.
Start Your Weight Training With a Plan
Being prepared is crucial to getting optimal results in many things in life – workouts are no different. If you go into your training session without a plan and just ‘wing it’, you’ll most likely miss training essential muscles and likely overdo it on others. Yes, you may enjoy training certain body parts more than others but that doesn’t mean you can ignore other areas. A good training program is all about balance and ensures that you are progressing week by week.
The best way to see progress is to use progressive overload where you perform the same exercises (or variations) and increase the reps or tempo each week so that you’re constantly challenging yourself while simultaneously improving your form and technique.
If you are unsure of where to start there are a ton of free programs out there to help get you going, this one from Shape is 4 weeks long and is a great starter program.
Weight Training: Focus on Yourself
When you’re starting at something new, it can be very easy to become discouraged. Not being great at something right off the bat and having to practice consistently to see improvement can be mentally challenging some days. Social media displays everyone’s highlight reel and it can be easy to feel like you’re so much further behind everyone else.
Here’s the thing though – everyone starts somewhere. You can’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 9. People love to show the results but the process that goes on behind the scenes is where the real work takes place. Everyone gets discouraged. Everyone loses motivation at times. There will be days where it doesn’t feel worth it and that you are frustrated with your lack of progress. This is when you need to keep going. Progress isn’t linear. It’s not a straight line going up. There will be peaks and valleys. But as long as you keep showing up, you’ll keep making progress, even if you can’t see it every day. Be kind to yourself and keep a reminder of why you started at the forefront of your mind.
The truth of the matter is, getting started is the hardest part. New things tend to make us doubt our abilities but if you approach them with the right attitude, have a solid plan in place and a good attitude, you will be amazed at what you can achieve. That’s my personal favorite part of weight training, it’s you vs you. It doesn’t matter what the girls on Instagram are doing or even what the girl next to you in the gym is doing. All that matters is that you are doing this for yourself. So take the first step and let the journey begin.
Guest blogger Chelsey Hendriksen is the creator of the Macros Matter Method. Find her on Instagram: instagram.com/powerhousechels and learn more about her programs: https://sales.powerhousechels.site/macros