Hello friends — I have a guest post for you all today from my friend Tina of Faith, Fitness, Fun! Tina and I met at Fitbloggin’ last month; she was the sweetest ever in person and I’m honored to have her share some of her weight/strength training tips with you all today.
We’re doing a “guest post swap” of sorts — I wrote a guest post for her readers about running (to be shared next week!), and she wrote this one for me about strength training! I’ve been seriously slacking on the weight training lately and this was just the motivation I needed to get back into it :) Enjoy!
~ ~ ~
How to Get Started with Weight Training
~ ~ ~
Eight years ago I fell in love with fitness — strength training playing a vital role in that love. Eight years ago I picked up my first weight and immediately felt empowered. I started to see changes in my body that amazed me. I increased my physical capabilities. I could turn to weights as an outlet when dealing with my past struggles of depression and binge eating.
Eight years ago I started strength training and I haven’t stopped since. Instead, I have competed in a fitness competition and frequented the gym floor even while 9 months pregnant. Despite a newfound passion for running, I remain determined in my strength workouts as I make progress in my Body After Baby goals. Now, I hope you’ll join me as I share my personal journey into strength training, including ways you can get started too. Thanks for reading!
I Found A Comfortable Place to Get Acquainted with Weights
Although I feel comfortable now at my gym, I used to not have such confidence. In fact, I likely would have never started with strength training if not for beginning in the comfort of my own home. Thanks to the old FitTV programs, I had the chance to try out a few workouts such as The Firm and Cathe Friedrich. Cathe’s workouts quickly became my favorites and I began building a library of her workout DVDs. Side note: You can imagine my excitement to meet her at Fitbloggin’ after years of training “with” her.
Over the course of a year, I learned various weight training moves from her workouts and built up a base in my strength training. Eventually, when I joined a gym, I continued to get more comfortable with strength workouts by attending group classes, such as Body Pump. Group classes and workout DVDs can be a great starting point to gain confidence with weights at your own pace. I also highly suggest utilizing the free introductory personal training offer at most gyms to receive a quick run through on the use of equipment and workout safety.
I Did Some Research
When I get into something, I go full out! The more I learned about weight training, the more I wanted to keep learning. It started with figuring out moves in my DVDs, then grew to subscribing to Oxygen magazine, ordering the e-book Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle, and poring over resources such as The New Rules of Lifting For Women. I began feeling excited to branch out from the group classes and try some of the ideas in these resources for my own.
Following a pre-set program, like you can find in The New Rules of Lifting For Women, provided a great way to break in to doing my own thing at the gym. From there I continued to research and learn ways to set up my own strength training plans, turning to things like the Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises for ideas.
I Started Basic
So many varieties of exercises exist. Before breaking out the Bosu balls, sliding discs, and other fitness tools — I stuck with the basics. Pretty much every body part is trained with a few standard motions. For back exercises, there are rows and pulling motions. For chest exercises, there are pressing motions and fly motions. For biceps, curls. For shoulders, raises. You get the idea. I learned the standard moves for each body part and perfected those before mixing up my workouts and adding a new challenge. Wait for the plank rows. ;)
I also began using machines for most exercises until I learned the movement. It helped guide my motion as I gained strength. Then, I progressed to barbells and dumbbells. I would also always start light and slowly add more weight once I knew I could handle each move safely. I didn’t want to end up with an injury!
I Began Adding More Variety and Gained Ideas From Others
Finally, after taking gradual steps into strength training, I hoped to continue making progress and push my training to higher levels. I wanted more challenges and started implementing new training techniques. I will search out new things to try — like TRX bands and kettle bells. Now, I look to others for inspiration and have a solid enough foundation in strength moves that I feel capable implementing them in my training.
In short, strength training provides so many benefits. Don’t let fear hold you back from reaping those rewards. It takes time, but we all have to start somewhere. Find a way to go for it. Then keep learning and you will only get stronger. I promise you can do it!
I would love for you to stop by my blog, Faith Fitness Fun. I can assure you I share openly and honestly on all things. From post-baby progress and body image to workout ideas and recipes. Hope to see you there!
Thanks again for the great guest post, Tina! :) You’re such an inspiration — especially to new moms looking to get back into shape!
I hope you guys are now feeling as motivated as I am to get into (or back into) strength training. Did you know I have a whole section on my blog dedicated to demonstrating my favorite strength and core exercises?
Check them out:
- Lateral Leg Exercises (with video!)
- The Eagle Ab
- Weighted Push Up with Arm Lift
- Weighted Push Up with Side Plank
- Weighted Triceps Lunge (with video!)
- Weighted Squat (with video!)
For awhile, I was doing these moves frequently at the gym, but now that I don’t have a big gym anymore I’ve kind of let strength training fall off a bit. I’ve been doing a lot of swimming and yoga this spring/summer, so that definitely counts as an arm workout, but I still think it’s time to get back after it with the weights :)
Do you like strength training? How frequently do you do it?