Weight Training has come a long way from being only a male dominated and competition oriented sport that means only one thing: Building huge muscles. It has dropped its shroud of exclusivity and formidability to become more diversified, encouraging more people to become involved.
People train for different reasons, not all to do with simply bulking up to maximum muscle size. For one, an increasing amount of women have joined the #strongnotskinny movement and have made it their mission to prove that lifting like a girl is a good thing! Long gone are stereotypical notions such as weight training leading to less feminine physique. Accurate information has become freely available helping people around the globe to ignore stereotypical impressions.
There is a negative side to so much information being freely available. It is time consuming and hard to take it all in. People become devotees based on snippets of information, simply because there is not enough time to properly research a topic.
And hey, how hard can it be, right?
Well, that is an entirely different topic. For now, let’s start with the correct mindset.
Expectation: An amazing body in no time!
Off course you entered into this commitment with some serious expectations - it would be unnatural if you didn’t. Visualizing is essential to success. So a few weeks in, that mirror selfie is not really showing as much of a difference than to when you started… You are on the road to discouragement, and failure is your next exit. Maybe this wasn’t for you after all.
Reality: It’s going to take some time.
Knowing exactly what you want to achieve is a great start and a powerful motivator, so go ahead and visualize the end result. However, examine your expectations and be honest first, then reasonable. Weight training is generally done for three outcomes:
- Building muscle mass
- Improving muscle strength
- Shedding body fat and toning
Consult a registered personal trainer, or do some research. If you start a weight training program with the correct mindset, you will be more likely to maintain a consistent program. Before you know it, that selfie will make you proud.
How long before you start seeing results?
This depends on factors such as:
- Your fitness level when starting
- Your body fat percentage
- The consistency of your training
- The intensity of training (within boundaries)
Determine the first two, plan the latter, and soon you will start to see motivating results. Four weeks is a safe time period to start noticing differences in appearance and strength, so keep taking pictures, measure yourself and log progress.
Expectation: More Training Equals Faster Success!
Ah - The overzealous - probably the easiest way to spot a beginner (wink wink). Working out as much as you possibly can may seem to be a great idea, as your motivation is fueled by emotions like excitement and eagerness. It would also be strengthened by the desire to start reaching those goals.
There is nothing wrong with enthusiasm, in fact, we want to encourage it. However, there are limits to consider.
Reality: Common sense brings balance.
Harness your enthusiasm and channel it into gaining the proper knowledge. Knowing what will work for you is a powerful foundation to your ultimate goals. ‘Learning from your mistakes’ could go very wrong and result in injury that may be difficult, or even impossible to recover from.
Consider 2 factors:
1. Your Capacity to Recover
Your being unique means you will recover differently from someone else. Being a beginner on top of this, means that you will recover slower than your future, fitter and stronger self.
Several factors also play a role in recovery, such as:
- Your daily stressors in life and their severity
- The intensity of your workout
- Your age, fitness level and health
If you are serious about progress, it would be wise to have a trainer assess you and help to work out a progressive training plan based on this assessment. Once you have this in place, you can do it on your own if you wish. As you get stronger and more experienced, you will be able to tell when you are over or under training.
2. Common sense
You have a life. Don’t return to the gym more than once a day, unless you have signed a contract to make this your career. Seriously, this is one aspect of your life that will fulfill and develop a part of your needs and wants. Don’t let it take over. If you find yourself talking about it too much, start a journal, a blog or a fanpage. Keep directing that enthusiasm towards progress!
A few tips:
- Take your towel, take your water bottle.
- Keep yourself open minded. Learn from others, and keep researching.
- After your workout, replenish your moisture!
- If you need momentum to lift a weight, it is too heavy for you. Lift while focusing on your movement and ability. Remember, you will get to the bigger weights only if you do this right!
- Be aware of your posture and technique so your training will be more effective.
Remember, this article is meant to help you find the realistic mindset to start off strong and progress to goals. For specific training advice, we strongly advise that you find a reputable source for your research, or a registered trainer.
Have fun, train well and keep thriving!