Have you always wanted to start weightlifting but maybe felt a little intimidated by it? Or unsure of where to start? Well, no need! First of all the best place to start is just to start. I’ve got some practical tips for weightlifting beginners that will help get you into the gym and get started. These tips can apply to any method of strength training, most commonly falling under the categories of bodybuilding, powerlifting and Olympic lifting.
Whether you’ve never picked up a weight in our life or have tried on and off but never found your lifting groove, this post is for you. Lifting weights is a lot of fun, constantly humbling, it builds strength and character and it is one of my biggest passions. I hope these tips inspire you to get into the gym and give it a try, no matter where you’re starting from.
Weightlifting is for everyone, so what are you waiting for?
What is Weightlifting?
When you here people talk about “weightlifting” often they’ll be referring to the sport of Olympic weightlifting. The Olympic lifts are the snatch and the clean and jerk. Both are ground-to-overhead movements in which the barbell travels from the floor to a locked out position overhead to finish the lift. The sport of weightlifting has been around a long time but it’s rise in popularity over the last 5 or 10 years is in large part due to the inclusion of these lifts in the sport of CrossFit.
Olympic Lifting vs. Powerlifting
Powerlifting on the other hand, includes the squat, bench press and the deadlift, none of which move vertically overhead. Powerlifting movements are used in both CrossFit and in Olympic lifting for training and building strength, power and speed to improve the snatch and clean and jerk. All of these movements are highly technical and a Science unto themselves but that doesn’t mean they’re not accessible to anyone and everyone.
One might also say that the Olympic lifts are done with speed and explosiveness while powerlifting is often performed at a slower tempo due to the very heavy weights being moved. We don’t really need to be concerned with the technicalities of powerlifting versus weightlifting but know that with a little practice and instruction, all of these movements can be safely be performed by beginners.
What about Strength Training and Bodybuilding?
Powerlifting and weightlifting are both forms of strength training. Strength training refers to any of exercise that uses resistance to induce a muscular contraction, thereby building the strength, size and endurance of muscles. Bodybuilding is a sport in which strength training is used to control and develop the muscles of the body to look a particular way. Bodybuilding-style workouts are the most comment type of strength training people do. Think bicep curls, lateral raises and leg extensions.
Choose What You Enjoy
It really doesn’t matter what kind of strength training you do. All of them have their merits and offer the same benefits when it comes to building muscles, improving strength and endurance, reducing stress and keeping the body fit and healthy as you get older. The most important thing is that you find a form of strength training that you enjoy and that you’ll do consistently.
My Weightlifting Story
My first experiences with strength training was during dry-land training sessions as a young competitive swimmer. As I eventually grew out of competitive swimming and became interested in other sports, I started lifting weights on my own. I started bodybuilding-style when I was around 15 years old.
I would find workouts in Oxygen magazine and go to my local recreation centre every morning before school and alongside the early bird seniors, I would do my strength training workout.
I remember casually bicep curling 20 lbs and impressing all the older gentlemen and women with my super-powered 15 year old strength. Ha! I loved feeling strong. As I got older, I continued lifting weights and strength training in some form or another right up until present day.
Falling Into CrossFit
Over the years, my interests started to lean towards sports conditioning and from there I eventually heard about CrossFit. When I first heard of Crossfit it was still in it’s earliest stages and not many people knew what it was.
I was a personal trainer at the time and one of the trainers at my gym was teaching this “CrossFit thing” to his clients. He took a lot of flak and while everyone else thought he was crazy teaching overhead squats in a “Globo” gym, I started looking into CrossFit online and incorporating CrossFit-style metcons, or metabolic conditioning workouts, into both my own training and my clients programming.
I’d have my clients do AMRAPS and rounds for time, using movements like burpees, box jumps and running, combined with the traditional powerlifts like deadlifts, squats and bench press. I wouldn’t learn Olympic lifts until I finally joined a CrossFit gym years later. That was about 4 years ago and I haven’t looked back since.
I still incorporate bodybuilding into my fitness program as accessory movements to help improve other lifts. And bodybuilding workouts are just fun sometimes, I mean, who doesn’t love a good arm pump?!
Just Lift Something
My days of body part-specific lifting are behind me but I’ve always maintained some form of weightlifting in my fitness program. Because my main focus is CrossFit now, weightlifting comes in the form of the snatch, clean and jerk, press, deadlift, squat and all the movements that help support those lifts.
I do a lot of bodyweight strength training, or calisthenics, as well. That being movements like push ups, air squats, pull ups and core work. In addition, I like to incorporate plenty of plyometrics like jump squats and box jumps to keep that explosive power up.
Regardless of what kind of lifting I’m doing, it’s a lot of fun, constantly humbling, always a challenge and after hundreds and hundreds of lifts, there’s always more room to learn and grow.
Why I love Weightlifting
Fitness is a passion of mine and I can’t imagine a life without getting active every single day. My favourite form of fitness is weightlifting. Lifting weights makes me feel strong, fit and confident and I love the way it make my body look and feel. I love the personal challenge and feeling of accomplishment I get after a hard workout. It gives me something to work towards, keeps me feeling young and I love knowing that whatever life throws at me, I’ll be able to handle, physically and mentally, thanks to the toughness that I’ve built through weightlifting.
Lifting weights is also my favourite way to manage stress. I can go into the gym with a thousand things on my mind but by the time I’m done my session, I can’t even remember what I was worried about. Being in the gym lifting weights forces you to be present and live in the moment. You can’t think of much else when you’re a the bottom of a squat under a heavy barbell.
As a woman, feeling strong is empowering. I can walk into a gym or up to a squat rack and be confident enough to lift heavy right alongside anyone that might be beside me. I love getting stronger and moving weights I once couldn’t. What an amazing thing, watching your body adapt to what you’ve demanded of it. I love the discipline and strength that weightlifting builds. There’s no cheating in weightlifting, no grey areas, you either make a lift or you don’t and I love that. 200 pounds will always be a 200 pounds. Some days it might feel like less and guaranteed some days it will feel like more but every time you pick that weight back up, it builds a little confidence in your ability to fall down seven times and stand up eight.
The Benefits of Lifting Weights
Let’s take a look at some of the top benefits of weightlifting. I believe everyone who is able to should be including some sort of weight-bearing exercise in their fitness routine. What that is exactly may vary depending on your goals, access to equipment, injuries or health concerns or simply your preference of training.
The benefits are numerous and range from strengthening your bones, to reducing your risk of injury to just feeling strong and confident in your body. In addition to the major benefits below, you can also expect lifting weights to aid in fighting inflammation, improving your posture, sleep and energy levels, boosting your mood, improving performance in other sports such as running, cycling and swimming and increase your life expectancy.
So really, what are you waiting for? These are powerful benefits and you can take advantage of them in as little as 30 minutes, 3 days a week.
1. Improved Bone Density
Weight-bearing activities are important for strengthening your bones. One of the best ways you can control bone loss as you age is to add some form of strength training into your fitness plan. Any activity that requires muscular contractions will potentially cause bone growth, how much growth will vary depending on the physical demand placed on the skeletal system. Some activity is better than no activity but that being said, the best way to prevent age-related decline in bone density is to utilize resistance training to encourage bone growth.
2. Injury Prevention
Lifting weights Increases the strength of connective tissue, muscles and tendons. This leads to improved performance and decreased injury risk both of which are important as we get older. It also improves our balance, helps maintain mobility and the ability to move with ease and prevents back pain.
3. Fat Loss
Build more muscle, burn more fat! Muscle is active tissue and will burn more calories than fat when you’re just lying around. Keep in mind, muscle also weight more than fat, so while you might shrink your dress size when you start lifting, your weight might stay the same or even go up. The scale is not always the best way to measure progress so try taking measurements and photos if you want to see how you progress over time.
4. Training for Life and Longevity
I don’t know about you guys but I want to be able to do everything i want to do for as long as I possibly can. A strong body will allow me to do that. Whatever it is you love to do outside of the gym, getting strong inside the gym will help you continue to do that.
5. Stress Management
it is so important to have a healthy way to manage stress in your life. Stress is inevitable and can help us grow, learn and improve but if we don’t find a way to bring high stress levels back down, that’s when stress gets ugly, negatively effecting almost every area of our physical and mental well-being. Pumping iron, getting lost in your workout, sweating it out; it’s a wonderful stress release. In addition, strength training has been linked to reduced anxiety and depression symptoms as well as improved self-esteem.
6. Disease Prevention
From heart health to diabetes prevention, lifting weight does it all. A study by Appalachian State University found there was a 20 percent decrease in blood pressure after 45 minutes of moderate intensity strength training, a benefit equal to surpassing that of blood pressure medication. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in The Archives of Internal Medicine found that men who lifted weights for 150 minutes each week in five 30-minute sessions, had a 34-percent lower risk of diabetes.
Regardless of the numbers and the countless studies, it’s clear that lifting weights can help manage stress, prevent injury, improve blood flow and circulation, motivate us to eat better and improve our overall mental and physical health. Think of strength training as one more tool in your tool belt that can help you live your best life and feel your best while doing it.
Do I Need Any Special Gear for Weightlifting?
Nope. Not one bit. However, I would recommend some athletic clothing you feel comfortable in and allows you to move easily through a full range of motion at your shoulders and hips. As you become more experience with lifting weights, there may be equipment you want to look into, but none of it is required.
I use my weight belt fairly often and I use my lifting shoes regularly for things like the Olympic lifts and squatting. Some people find wrist wraps and lifting straps to use useful but those are all things you can discover in your training journey. It depends what kind of strength training you prefer, what your goals are and how far you want to take it but there is nothing besides comfortable clothing that you need to get started.
Finding the Motivation to Start
I’m lucky. I developed the habit of a consistent fitness routine at a very young age. Once I had that, there was never a question of a life without fitness. I love everything from hiking to yoga but my biggest love it weightlifting. Weightlifting makes you feel strong and powerful and there’s nothing like moving a weight you could move just months before.
So how to find the motivation to start something completely new? I don’t think there’s an easy answer or quick fix here. You just have to do it. Luckily, getting started is the hardest part. Once you do that and have some momentum going, don’t stop.
Stop Working Out, Start Training
When you’re first starting out in the gym, or wherever it might be that you plan to start training, it can help to shift your mentality from it being a workout you have to do, to training you want to do.
You are an athlete, we all are, so get into it and start training like one.
Tips for Weightlifting Beginners
Today’s tips for weightlifting beginners were written with powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit in mind because that’s my preferred form of lifting weights however, they can certainly be applied to any form of strength training. The concepts apply across the board no matter what type of lifting you’re into.That might be going to your local community centre three times a week and using the machines. It might be heading to your apartment building gym or you garage gym and starting to work with a set of dumb bells.
The best strength training program is the one you believe in, so as long as you’re consistent, with whatever you’re doing, you will see results, improve your health and fitness and reap all the benefits that weightlifting has to offer. It doesn’t really matter where you start, the point is just to get started. You can do this.
1. Consider a coach.
If you can afford it, I’d recommend investing in a couple of sessions with a weightlifting coach or qualified personal trainer to help you get started. Learning the layout of the gym, knowing how to set things up properly and learning the correct movements will help you feel more confident when you’re ready to go out on your own. Your coach can also teach you a proper warm up for weightlifting as well as some mobility exercises that will help improve your flexibility for weightlifting. Even if you don’t plan on joining CrossFit, a CrossFit gym may have a qualified Olympic weightlifting or powerlifting coach that can help you get started so it’s worth looking into.
2. Get a plan.
There are plenty of free and paid online resources that where you can find weightlifting programs. For strength training and bodybuilding workouts, I’d recommend bodybuildiing.com for access to a variety of different programs suitable for beginners. For comprehensive weightlifting programs, you can check out the TrainHerioic marketplace, The Outlaw Way, Catalyst Athletics or Brute Strength.
Online Strength Training Programming:
- StrongLifts 5×5 (free) – a very simple but effect program to increase weigh tin the Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift, Overhead Press and Barbell Row
- Bodybuilding.com (free) – browse their selection of programs for various goals, suitable beginner to advanced, bodybuilding and traditional strength training focus,
- The Outlaw Barbell ($20-30/month) – various programs for beginner to advanced, starting at 3 days week, Olympic weightlifting or CrossFit focus
- Catalyst Athletics Starter Program (free) – starter 4-week Olympic weightlifting program, will need some help with coaching if you’re new to these lifts
- Catalyst Athletics (approx. $30 per program) – Olympic weightlifting
- WODStar ($30-50/month) – various programs from CrossFit to strength training, intermediate to advanced fitness levels
- TrainHeroic Marketplace ($10-50/month) – huge variety of programs from beginner to advanced, CrosssFit to sports conditioning to bodybuilding
- Barbell WOD ($15/month) – really great 3 day a week Olympic weightlifting program, I did this program for a long time, it’s excellent and very doable for a beginner if you can get some initial coaching on the lifts, example videos are included but if you’re very new to weightlifting I’d recommend working with a trainer before you go on your own
- List of the Best CrossFit programming (free and paid)
I would definitely recommend following some kind of plan and even if you don’t follow a program, at least make a plan for each time you go to the gym so you’re not wondering around aimlessly. You can browse all the Running on Real Food workouts for ideas. Beginners may want to start with a full-body workout three times a week and stick with it for a few months before moving into a more specific program. There are also a ton of great free and premium apps out there that have some good strength training programs you can take to the gym with you.
Strength Training Apps
- Nike Training Club (free, iOS and Android) – plenty of great bodyweight and strength training workouts with videos, timers and more, this one is great to take on the road
- Workout Trainer (free and premium versions, iOS and Android) – thousands of free workouts, complete with video instruction
- JEFIT.com (free and premium versions, iOS and Android) – bodybuilding focus, exercise database and routines, good for all levels
- Fitstar Personal Trainer (free, iOS) – set your workout goals and the app will provide a workout session for you
- Sworkit (free and premium versions, iOS and Android) – select your goal or build a custom routine, each workout is different
3. Take it slow.
Don’t plan to jump into a 5 day a week intense weightlifting program. If you’re new, chances are your muscles are going to be pretty sore after every session. I would recommend starting with 3 days a week of strength training and if you can, getting active with some cardio, stretching or other forms of fitness on the other days. Over time, your body will adjust to the volume and if you want to add more strength training days you’ll be able to bump it up.
4. Read, learn and read some more.
There are endless amounts of free resources online where you can learn about weightlifting. Peruse YouTube for technique videos, listen to Podcasts for motivation and self-development, and make Google your best friend.
5. Stick to the programming.
When I first started Olympic weightlifting, I always wanted to lift heavier than what was prescribed in my program but the programming is written with certain percentages and numbers for a reason. Stick to them. Those numbers are there to help you progress safely and effectively. You can’t PR every time you’re in the gym, not even every week or month, or maybe even year. Slow, consistent, dedicated and periodized effort will get you where you want to go. Stick to the numbers.
6. Work your core.
A strong core is imperative to safe and effective weightlifting. Everything comes from the core. The core helps you transfer power from your legs to your upper body. It helps protect your back. You can look at the core as everything from your hips to your shoulders. There’s a lot of power there. Core training plays an important role in everything from development to longevity in weightlifting and can also be used to correct poor movement and improve posture.
Core Strength Exercises
- Planks – high planks, side planks, weighted planks
- Hollow rocks and hollow holds
- Back extensions
- Sit-ups – weighted, banded, med ball toss
- Russian twists
- Landmine rotations
- Barbell hip lifts
- Single-leg hip lifts
I would recommend training your core twice a week and doing 3 sets of 10-20 reps of each exercise and building your planks up to at least 60 second holds, from there you can start working with weight planks. When it comes to your core think of working it multi-directionally and working both the posterior and anterior sides of your body.
7. Improve your grip strength.
Grip involves everything from the elbows down to the fingertips: think forearms, wrists and hands. Grip strength used to be a limiting factor for me but over time by adding grip strength exercises to my routine, I was able to improve it and thereby improve my lifting.
Good grip strength and strong muscle and connective tissues in the hands and wrists can also help prevent injury or recovery faster if you do get injured. You’ll also develop better endurance meaning you can train harder for longer without fatiguing your hands and forearms. Strong grip will help you build endurance for bigger sets and lift heavier, especially in pulling movements like deadlifts and pull-ups.
Grip Strength Exercises
- Farmer walks – as heavy as safely possible, walk with heavy dumbells or kettlebells. iI like doing 5 sets of 50 metres as a finisher to my workouts.
- Dead hangs off the bar – work up to a 60 second hang
- Plate pinch hold or walks – similar to Farmer walks ecept you’ll pinch a weight plate between your thumb an dfingers, hold for 30 seconds and repeat. You can eitehr stand in place or do walks while pinching two plates.
- Bottoms up kettlebell holds and presses
- Towel Farmer walks, pull-ups or hangs
- Wrist extension and flexion
8. Choose form over weight.
I know it’s tempting to go up in weight. Hitting bigger numbers is fun but not if you’re body isn’t ready or you’re still learning technique. When you’re just starting out, take the time to nail the basics so as your numbers go up, your body knows what to do.
9. Ditch your ego.
You can’t have an ego in the gym. Let it go. There are going to be people half your size lifting heavier than you, there are going to be women out lifting you, you’re not always going to be able to hit the numbers you think you can and if you push harder than you’re ready for, you run the risk of injury. Ditch your ego, ditch comparison and just focus on your own journey and progress.
10. Be consistent.
Consistency is very important when it comes to building strength and muscle. Once a week isn’t going to do it either. Like we talked about earlier, start with 3 days a week and get 100% consistent with that. Overtime consistency will start to build and you’ll really start seeing results.
11. Be realistic and stay patient.
Like most things in life, building strength and putting on muscle takes time and a lot of hard work. It can take years and years to develop as a weightlifter. I’ve been doing this my entire adult life and even as a teenager. If you’re brand new to lifting weights, your body is going to take some time to adapt to the demands you’re now placing on it. It’s not just your muscles that need to get used to it either, your tendons, ligaments and mental strength are going to have to get stronger too. You’ll also have to start adjusting to volume over time if you want to train more without injury. If you’re absolutely new to lifting weights, it’s going to take at least a year to feel really solid in the weight room. I’m not saying you won’t make progress in weeks and months but the progress will be slow so don’t expect anything crazy to happen overnight.
One of my favourite quotes is “Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” My point is, what’s the alternative to doing nothing because you think it will take too long to progress? What if you do nothing and another year goes by? You’ll be in the exact same place as you are today or perhaps have even gone backwards.
Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a day or a week and vastly underestimate what they can accomplish in a year. The goal is to keep doing this for your whole life, so what’s the rush anyways? Start today, stop worrying about short-term arbitrary goal and just focus on getting consistent. If you do this, the results will happen naturally.
12. Prioritize recovery.
There a quote that goes “there’s no such thing as overtraining, only under recovering” and while I wouldn’t say that’s entirely true, I see what it’s getting at. Recovery is so important. Recovery includes sleep, eating well, stretching, ice baths, epsom salt baths, mental breaks from the gym, having fun with friends and family, massage and anything else that helps your body and your mind recover and rejuvenate.
13. Go for quality over quantity
Intensity is as important as volume. If you’re in the gym 6 days a weeks struggling to make progress or hit your numbers in each session, I’d consider backing off and coming into each workout with more focus and intensity. Four high-quality, intense sessions per week will be more effective than struggling through 6. More isn’t always better in this case. Training too much without making progress can cause mental burnout too and you want to make sure you keep the joy in your training.
14. Up your mental game.
Weightlifting can be a mental challenge at times. To improve your mental toughness it can help to practice visualizing making successful lifts. Any high-level athlete will talk about the importance of visualization and mental toughness in their sport. It’s important to go into each training session with focus. Go into each training session with the mindset that’s it’s all you have and every rep is an opportunity to train not only your body but your mind.
Best Books on Mindset
- The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive
- Chasing Excellence: A Story About Building the World’s Fittest Athletes
- The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
- Ego is the Enemy: The Fight to Master Our Greatest Opponent
- Mindset: The Psychology of Success
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
15. Don’t be afraid to fail.
Go for those big numbers, sometimes you will fail but that’s the only way to make progress. What’s the worst that can happen? Or better yet, what’s the best that can happen? Sometimes you just gotta go for it. Once you’re got some weightlifting experience you’ll know when it’s okay to push further and go beyond your comfort zone. The ability to do this doesn’t just come from physical strength but from mental strength as well, both of which you’ll gain as you continue along your strength training journey.
Pushing beyond your known limits when you know you might fail is where the growth is. It’s going to be uncomfortable but you can’t grow without a little discomfort.
16. Be prepared for hard work.
Weightlifitng is hard but that’s what makes it so rewarding. Remember nothing worth having ever comes easy, so be prepared mentally and physically to push yourself to your full potential. The rewards will be worth the effort.
17. Consider lifting shoes.
My lifting shoes are probably the one piece of special equipment I use on a regular basis. Lifting shoes have an elevated heel and a flat base that creates a solid platform for you to lift from. Elevated heels can help improve your position when you’re in a squat. In general, I just I feel a lot more solid when I’m lifting in them. I invested in a pair of Nike Romaleos a few years ago and they’re still as good as new.
I’ve also had CrossFit-style Reebok Lifters but I didn’t like them nearly as much as the Nikes. If you do CrossFit and like wearing lifters for some metcons, I’d recommend the crossover lifters from Reebok. If you love weightlifting and powerlifting, I’d recommend looking at the Nike Romaleos or Addidas powerlifting shoes. They aren’t required equipment by any means, especially depending on the type of lifting you’ll be doing but I almost always wear mine for squatting and Olympic lifting. Plus they’re just fun to wear and make you feel a little bit badass.
There isn’t much else I use on a regular basis aside from my shoes and a weightlifting belt but some people find the following accessories to be useful. You can investigate these equipment suggestions as you get more experienced.
- wrist wraps
- lifting straps
- weightlifting belt
- knee sleeves – I use these every once in a while if my knees are a bit tender and feel like they need some extra support
- fun socks – everybody needs a couple fun pairs of Stance Socks for the gym!
18. Don’t skip mobility and flexibility.
Strength is only going to take you so far if you don’t have the mobility and flexibility to use that strength. The opposite is also true, if you’re highly mobile and flexible but haven’t developed strength, it’s the same case. They go hand in hand. I try to spend at least 10 minutes a day stretching and doing a few mobility exercises, especially for my chronically tight shoulders, chest and hips. If you work at a desk or drive a lot, it’s quite common to be tight in these areas and have limited mobility.
Some areas of importance should be improving thoracic and scapular mobility, keeping the shoulders healthy and improving ankle, foot, hip and glute mobility. I’ve listed some tools, programs and videos you can use to work on these areas and more.
Best Mobility Resources
- 8-week Mobility Program for Masters Athletes (free)
- RomWod – paid subscription to daily flexibility and mobility work
- Mobility, Flexibility and Warm-Ups from Catalyst Athletics (free)
- Guide to Mobility for Olympic Weightlifting (free)
Best Tools for Mobilization
- foam roller – must have for rolling out tight muscles at home and improving mobility, I especially love it for the upper back (thoracic) area
- massage ball and myofascial release set – inexpensive and effective, get ready for pain but it’s so good!
- massage roller stick – feels amazing in the worst but best kind of way
- trigger point self-massage stick – best thing ever, get one.
- resistance bands for stretching – super handy for stretching out everything from shoulders to lats and hips
- muscle floss bands – reduce muscle soreness, improve range of motion, these things are amazing, easy to use at home when watching TV etc.
19. Eat well to support your training.
Nutrition and strength training go hand in hand. You’re not going to be as successful as you cold be in the gym without a solid nutrition plan. You can train as hard as you want but if you’re not eating well, at least most of the time, you won’t be getting everything you can out of all your hard work.
If you are looking to gain muscle, you’ll need to make sure you’re eating enough to support that. It can help to track what you’re eating for a couple of weeks to see if you’re getting what you need, and on the flip side, not eating too much. If you’re new to healthy eating, you can start with these posts to point you in the right direction:
- Where to Start: 17 Simple Healthy Eating Tips
- 17 Simple Nutrition Tips for Vegan Athletes
- How to Get Started with Flexible Dieting
- 12 Small Steps for Better Nutrition
- Flexible Dieting
- Beginner Tips for Eating a Plant-Based Diet
20. Have fun and enjoy the process.
You’ve got to have fun in the gym. If you’re new, you’re probably going to feel pretty uncomfortable at first. Keep going. Try to have fun and enjoy the struggle because once you come out the other side and weight lifting has solidified itself as part of your lifestyle, it’s pretty damn awesome. It can help to explore different gyms and style of workouts at the beginning to find something you enjoy. Even though weightlifting is something we should do, keep at it until it becomes something you want to do.
21. Find a training partner or group.
This is why I think CrossFit is so effective for people new to fitness. When you join a CrossFit gym, you immediately gain access to training partners, new friends and a whole group that is going to hold you accountable. Not to mention, you’ll have a coach every time you train. The social aspect is so effective at keeping us motivated and going back over and over even though the workouts are killer.
Regardless of what kind of gym you train at, having a training partner or even just someone you can talk to about lifting, goes a long way. Sharing your struggles and your successes with someone can really help to bring more joy into your training.
22. Stay hydrated all day long.
It’s important to drink water while you’re at the gym but don’t discount the important of drinking water throughout the day as well. You want to arrive at the gym well hydrated and stay hydrated afterwards to assist in recovery. Get yourself a good water bottle and don’t go anywhere without it. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated so sip consistently so keep energy levels up, improve focus and productivity and perform at your best.
23. Recognize every win.
We can be hard ourselves when it comes to making progress in the gym. Sometimes we can’t see progress day-to-day even though if you looked back a year or two you’d come leaps and bounds. If we can redefined the definition of a win to recognize even the smallest amounts of progress or non-weight achievements as wins, we can win more often and start to win on a bigger and bigger level.
Maybe you hit he gym when you didn’t feel like it. WIN. Maybe you did one extra rep when the week before you dropped the bar. WIN. Maybe you did a back squat with perfect form when you once struggled. WIN. Lifting heavier isn’t the only way to win in the gym.
On a another note, refer back to patience, consistency and hard work because getting stronger takes time and nothing is going to happen overnight. It’s taken me more than a year to PR certain lifts but that doesn’t matter, we’re here for the journey anyways so just enjoy the process of training and eventually the results will come.
24. No weights, no problem.
We’ve been talking a lot about weightlifting but if you don’t have access to weights, don’t discount the effectiveness of a killer bodyweight workout. No equipment, bodyweight workouts can be done anywhere, anytime making them great for doing at home or when you’re travelling. Think lunges, squats, sit-ups, push-ups and planks. If you don’t have access to a gym or have any equipment at home, don’t worry, you can get in great shape using just your own bodyweight. Check out my post with At-Home No-Equipment Workouts to get started.
25. Track your Progress
Whether you use an app or a good ol’ fashioned notebook, I’d recommend tracking your workouts in some form or another. It’s fun to look back and see your progress over time but it’s also important to keep track of your numbers so you can progress accordingly.
26. Inspiration Only Zone.
Fill your Instagram feed with accounts that inspire you. Mine is full of female CrossFit athletes and my favourite Olympic weightlifters so every time I browse my feed all I see is inspiration, and a lot of delicious food.
Do What you can with what you have.
I think a lot of people get overwhelmed when it comes to getting started so they don’t start at all. Don’t worry so much about it. Just do something. Something is always going to be better than nothing. Do what you can with what you have, at any given time. Maybe you only have 15 minutes, work with that. You can do a lot in 15 minutes. Maybe you can only workout at home. Get a set of dumbbells and start with that. You can do a ton with just a set of weights and your living your floor.
If you’re going to be working out at home, I would recommend the following equipment to get started:
- a couple sets of dumbells in various weights or a set of PowerBlocks
- a kettlebell
- a yoga mat
If you have more room and want to invest in a home gym, then add:
- a barbell
- weight plates (start with 5, 10 and 15 lb. plates, add 25 and 45 lb. plates when you can)
- a squat rack
- medicine balls
- a weight bench
Well, what else is there to say? You can do this. Don’t wait any longer, get started today! Wait, hold on…one last thing!! I want to hear from you. Have you tried a strength training program before? Where have you struggled with consistency? Are you an experienced lifter and if so, what’s your favourite thing about weightlifting??