Weight training helps to improve muscle mass, strengthen bones, and boost confidence. Yet despite the health benefits, people are often unnerved by the idea of picking up weights. Whether you're intimidated by the presence of more experienced lifters or worried you won't know how to use the equipment, here are tips to help you face those dumbbells and machines with confidence.
If you're new to weight training, demystify the process by doing some research. Learn the names of different muscle groups and the exercises to target them. Watch some YouTube videos to determine proper technique to avoid injury. Then, ask the staff at your gym to introduce you to the equipment. The machines may look daunting, but an orientation session will show you how to position yourself and adjust the weight you're lifting.
Work With a Trainer
It's much easier to go into the weight room with a plan of action, because you're shifting the focus away from what others are doing to what you need to do.
Set up a session with a personal trainer to evaluate your fitness, help you set goals, and start you out on a program. A customized plan is a much better way to maximize your workout time than trying to invent it as you go along.
Build Your Confidence
Sometimes, the hardest part of training at a gym is working out next to those who have been doing it for years and who have the physique to show for it. If you're feeling out of place, take baby steps. Go during off-peak hours or start by practicing your technique at home. Some women may prefer going to a female-only gym.
As you master your form, and your curls and rows start feeling like second nature, you'll feel more confident about striding into that weight room and picking up a set of dumbbells.
Find a Workout Buddy
Make plans to train with a friend. Ask someone who's already familiar with strength training to show you the ropes, or convince another beginner to start working out with you. A familiar face can offer reassurance amongst the clanking metal of the weight room.
Remember, It's Mind Over Matter
Strength training isn't about competing to see how many weights you can stack on — it's about empowerment and getting stronger. Sure, you're starting with lighter weights as a beginner, but as you build strength, you'll be ready to add heavier weights and different machines to your routine.
Motivation is a great way to get over your fear. Follow fitness influencers for inspiration, set realistic targets, and go for it! And remember, you do fit in with those people who are lifting heavier barbells — you're all striving to get healthier and stronger.