Weight lifting isn’t just for bodybuilders. Did you know more and more people are turning to strength training to lose weight, burn fat, and build muscle? Exercise machines are a great place to start, but free weights are where you’re really going to start seeing some positive changes. Why? You have greater range of motion, allowing you to build functional strength, a.k.a. the muscles you need to carry all of the groceries into the house in one trip! Unfortunately, many ladies prefer to stick to their spin class than venture to the Wild West of the free weights. Here’s how to conquer your fears and turn your bat wings into Batman’s biceps.
Schedule your workouts for off-peak hours.
Most Americans run on the same schedule. They work 9 am to 5 pm and have the weekends off. This means that the gym will be packed during rush hour. This may be fine for your typical workout where you can tuck yourself away on a treadmill for 30 minutes. But if you’re looking to try something new, we highly recommend you go later at night or get a sweat sesh in before sunrise. That way you don’t have to elbow your way through a crowd to finally try out that bench press or squat rack. As always, start small. If you’re keen on attempting a few sets of bench presses, only use the bar. That way you get used to proper form and you can show off your skills once you’re comfortable.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
One of the biggest mistakes gym-goers make is doing too much at once. If you’re new to free weights, try picking a few moves to master at first. Yes, it’s important to mix up your workout. But practicing bicep curls and tricep extensions a few times a week won’t do any harm. The key is to select a pair of weights you can do similar exercises with. That way you can grab your dumbbells and set up shop in a corner. Once you get those moves down, you can either increase your weights or mix things up with this upper body workout.
Stop worrying about what everyone else will think.
Do you sometimes feel like you’re making a scene during your workout? Trust us–no one is paying attention to what you’re doing. Everyone else is too busy working out, chatting with their gym buddy, or selecting a new song on their playlist to pay attention to your form. Rushing to sneak in your shoulder presses when no one is looking can lead to poor form and injury. Take your time, and don’t swing your weights around because you want to go back to the safety of the elliptical. Put your headphones in, pick a power song, and only pay attention to what your muscles are doing.
Take an introduction class with a personal trainer.
You don’t have to do this alone. Did you know what every Boost Fitness member gets a complimentary session with a personal trainer? Calling in for backup not only gives you confidence in the free weights area, but also teaches you proper technique. Sure you can easily balance a toddler on one hip, but you might not be ready for 20 pound bicep curls just yet. Your trainer will help create a personalized workout to match your goals and fitness level. Not to mention show you some cool moves that you haven’t seen on Pinterest before.
Enlist a friend to be your gym buddy.
While personal training is affordable, it’s not for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t call in for backup. Having a workout buddy gives you confidence, and soon you two will have no problem marching over to the squat rack to get started on your glutes.