5 Steps to Begin your Weight-Training Journey

by Moorea Boardman, Owner of YellowLizard Strength, Personal Trainer at All Athletes Welcome Gym

If it’s your first time stepping into the weights section of a gym, your mind may be swimming with unhelpful thoughts.

You’ve heard of the benefits, time and again — from your doctor, from your friend Jim and now from this magazine. But how do you start weight training safely and effectively, with zero experience?

Here are five simple steps:

1. Identify your goals

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but your goals can change over time and so should your training program. Identify what you want out of a weight-training program.

Some common goals include increased muscular strength, increased mobility, stronger bones plus tendons, and a better-looking physique.

2. Prioritize stable, compound movements

For your muscles to be stimulated, they must be able to produce force. Ever try to throw something as far as you can while off balance?

Machines and barbells can help you load the muscles in a stable way. You also want to make good use of your time by prioritizing compound movements that use multiple muscle groups.

Beginners can benefit greatly from a full-body program two to three times a week. Be sure to include an upper-body push, upper-body pull, hip hinge and squat/lunge movement to cover your bases.

3. Progressively overload

Once you’ve established a routine with your weight training, it becomes crucial to give your muscles a reason to adapt. Remember that progress can take many forms.

Examples of progress include increasing your lifts by 5 pounds, increasing total work done (sets and reps) or progressing to a more difficult movement.

4. Perform exercises you enjoy

This is a big one, guys and gals! Ultimately, if you loathe your workouts, you’re not going to do them (or you still do them, though with minimal effort and a bit of a frown). Create a list of exercises you enjoy the most; perform a few of those each session.

5. Hire a coach

Lastly, if you have the means, and the accountability is alluring, hire a coach. This can help take out a lot of the initial guesswork and get you to your goal faster. A coach takes time to answer questions and educate clients on the why and the how so they can begin to create those changes for themselves with confidence.