Weight training. It’s something we hear about and yet many times it’s the one workout activity we would rather skip. Lifting day means exerting energy, sore muscles, and sometimes feelings of defeat. If you’re someone who has never implemented a consistent weight training routine into their workouts before, the idea of beginning can be rather daunting. Nobody wants to go to the gym surrounded by people who look they know what they’re doing and you end up looking like this:
Don’t let your fears stand in your way, the Y is here to help! We’ve compiled everything you need to know about beginning a weight training schedule into 6 simple questions that will make starting a breeze.
1. What are the benefits of weight training?
Weight training has many physical benefits beyond just improving muscle strength. It can not only make your muscles stronger and healthier, but it can also help prevent injuries before they occur. Working your muscles on a daily basis has been proven to increase balance, flexibility and core strength which not only reduces chances of injury but also improves your capacity for daily activities.
Similarly, weight training can benefit those suffering from injured muscles by increasing physical strength and recovery time. Other physical benefits also include a lower BMI, increased bone density and increased strength of connective tissues and tendons.
Physical health isn’t the only benefit to a weight training program; there are many emotional benefits as well. Weight training can increase your body confidence and help improve self-esteem. Not only that, but when coupled with cardiovascular and aerobic exercises strength training can help burn more calories and assist with weight management.
2. How do I know what weight training programs are right for me?
Determining a strengthening program takes some personal reflection before beginning. Start by setting a single, achievable goal for yourself. Are you interested in losing weight and toning muscle, or would you rather build bigger muscles and add body mass? These two goals might differ greatly in regards to which exercises would show the best results. By understanding what you want to accomplish and where you are starting from you can then determine what type of exercises would be the most beneficial.
It is also important to determine your beginning fitness level and discover if you have any restrictions that would limit your weight training program. While strength training can help improve injured or weak muscles, it is important not to over-exert yourself, which could lead to injury. Heart problems, arthritis, physical conditions, and previous muscle injuries or tears all need to be considered when determining what exercises and weight threshold are the best for your body.
3. Does the Y offer classes I can take?
The Y offers a variety of classes that are appropriate for beginners as well as advanced lifters. Check out our list of classes and see what peaks your interest:
BODYVIVE: Get in shape at your own pace with a low-impact, group fitness workout that leaves you fizzing with energy. Using the VIVE balls, VIVE tubes and optional hand weights, you choose the intensity that energizes your future.
CXWORX: Hones in on the torso and sling muscles that connect your upper body to your lower body. It’s ideal for tightening your tummy and butt, while also improving functional strength and assisting in injury prevention.
Body Shop: Sculpting your body with an emphasis on strength, balance and functional training. Includes the use of stability balls, weights and tubing.
Silver Sneakers Muscular Strength and Range of Motion: Geared towards older adults, this class is designed to increase muscular strength, range of movement and activity for daily living skills. Hand-held weights, elastic tubing with handles and balls are offered for resistance and a chair is used for seated and/or standing support.
4. I find weight training boring and never see results. How do I keep things interesting?
The only way to see results is to be consistent. The trick is that any strength exercises will show results as long as they are done frequently. Keep a log of your workouts and take notes on what exercises you perform, how much you lift and the number of repetitions you complete. Even if results can’t be seen in your physical appearance right away, you might notice that exercises are becoming easier or that you can lift more weight for longer.
Weight lifting doesn’t have to be boring either. Do some research and learn some new workouts to shake up your routine. Or our staff members would be happy to recommend new exercise strategies that you might have not considered before. By changing up your routine it will help keep things interesting and keep you motivated during your strength training activities.
5. Should I get a Personal Trainer?
There are many benefits of having a personal trainer. They can teach you proper techniques that will keep you from injuring yourself during a lifting session. A personal trainer can also provide a more customized workout that will fit your needs and goals while also giving you support and motivation to meet those goals. Our Y staff also have expert knowledge of the latest fitness, health, and nutrition information that will help you get results now. Don’t be afraid to ask our wellness staff questions about certain machines or weight exercises. They are here to help!
6. How do I get started?
Come speak to someone at the Y about determining the best fitness plan for your lifestyle. Members can register for a wellness orientation that includes a full information session regarding the use of our strength equipment. A staff member will walk you through every machine, showing you how to adjust seating, change weight, and use the machine properly. A list of available strength training classes can also be found on our website or by inquiring at the front desk.