I don’t like to advise that everyone start lifting weights in the gym as, just like everything, exercise is very individual to a person. However, I am a big believer in trying new things.
If you are trying to find a new exercise or need a nudge to get started, here are some reasons you should try weight lifting:
1. You can easily track your progress. If you exercise regularly, strength builds quickly in the gym. You might only start squatting 20kgs at first, but when you’re adding an extra plate onto that bar, you’ll feel badass about it! Make sure you document your gym sessions so you can see how far you’ve come!
2. It burns calories long after you have finished your workout. Rather than feeling like you need to slog on the treadmill for an hour, your body naturally burns more calories when you build muscle. Muscle tissue burns more calories than body fat, so even at rest your body starts working harder.
3.It’s a great stress reliever! Had a bad day at work? Nothing gets the heart pumping and endorphins rushing like lifting some heavy weights. The adrenaline will help you hit some PBs as well. If I have a rough day at work, I plug some music in and just focus on lifting and by the time I leave I’m in a much better mood.
4. You can eat more! When I first started lifting weights, my calorie intake (including carbs) increased dramatically. And I still lose fat! Carbs get a bad rap for being naughty, but whole foods – such as potatoes, rice and wholewheat pasta – are not bad. And when you are lifting heavy weights 3-4 times a week, your body needs the energy. So much better than a salad for dinner!
5. You still get a sweat on. Don’t think you need to slog on a treadmill to get your heart rate up (I’m not saying you don’t need to do cardio) but squatting 60kgs and then going straight into walking lunges gets the heart rate up and a shiny forehead! Which I love! I leave the gym feeling like I have smashed it when that happens.
If you’re new to weights, go easy and don’t push yourself too hard. Ask a fitness instructor if you aren’t sure on your form or you can try the machines which help with the movement.
Try the below lower body workout to get started:
Use a weight that is about 70%-85% of your max 1 rep. You want to be able to complete the sets with good form but finding the last couple of reps challenging. If it’s too easy, go up a weight!
4 x 8-10 Back Squats
3 x 12 Walking Lunges (each leg)
3 x (12 each side) Single Leg Kettlebell Deadlifts
3 x 12 (each side) Weighted step up
3 x 12-15 Glute Bridge