Choose Your Goals
If the first step towards developing as a weightlifter is mentally committing and then turning up for training, then the next one has to be knowing what on earth you are going to do once you get there. It can be daunting if you are inexperienced, especially if you’re at a gym where everyone seems to be massive and in the middle of a very specific-looking workout.
Worry not. All you need to do is decide why you want to begin weightlifting and what you hope to achieve. Is it overall strength, more mass or definition, or are you recovering from an injury?
Don’t bother yourself with what the person next to you is doing. There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to lifting weights, except for technique, which we will cover next.
If you don’t know where to start, a personal trainer or induction at a gym can help by giving you a few pointers. Still, the first thing a personal trainer will likely ask is what you want to achieve with your weightlifting workout. So before you begin, have a think.
Work on Your Technique
Weightlifting is about purposefully sending signals to the muscle groups you want to develop. If your aim is only to lift the weight but not target the muscles correctly then you may burn calories, but you won’t see results where you want to. Flailing and loose movements are also likely to cause you injuries if you pull a muscle.
You should make technique and posture your priority and use mirrors to check that your actions look like they should. Once you have your technique down to a T you will see the development where you want it. That’s when you can begin to increase reps and the amount you lift.
It’s not all about what happens in the gym. You could lift weights several times a day but if your body isn’t running on the right fuel then you will not build muscle or recover effectively after your session.
Your body needs protein to build muscle and carbs for energy. At first, it can be difficult to balance your diet, but with time you will realize what your body needs to have the most efficient workout.
You’ll quickly become aware of others using supplements, but it is important to gauge your recovery capabilities and what your body needs before diving in. To begin, consider whey protein to ensure your muscles get what they need for development and recovery.
Live to Lift Another Day
If you’re feeling motivated you may be tempted to work out every day. That is to be commended, but it’s important to know that rest is as essential as the right nutrition, and it doesn’t make you lazy. Your muscles need to rest in order to grow. Further to this, if you overwork a muscle or do a particularly rigorous workout one day, then those same muscles will not be at their best the next day to achieve what you want. To that end, bear in mind a 24-hour rest before exercising the same muscle group again.
When you get into a rhythm it is wise to plan a full rest day. You may choose to take up some lighter cardio training on this day, but whatever you do make sure your hard worked muscles get some rest.
Make A Plan
Just as you make plans in your day-to-day life on a calendar, you should also plan your workout week at the gym. This will help you to efficiently work and then rest specific muscle groups so that you can track your progress, rather than allowing it all to fall to random chance. Designate a chest, back and legs day, opting for three or four sets of targeted exercises for each.
More Reps Or More Weight
As you develop you will most certainly raise the question of whether lifting more or lifting heavier is getting you the best results. The answer is that there is room for both.
If you want to build muscle mass you should increase your intake of calories and aim for fewer reps of a heavier weight. When it comes to shredding you should do the opposite and lift more reps of a lower weight. This will leave you looking pumped immediately after and during, but in the long run, won’t add as effectively to your overall long-term size and strength.
In the meantime, go for a mix of the two, beginning with heavier lifts at the start of a workout, and working on the same muscle group again with higher reps.