After you’ve made the decision to start strength training in addition to your cardio routine, you might find it intimidating once you actually move from the elliptical to the weight room. You should resist the urge to leave.
Strength training is not something to be afraid of. Instead, you should throw yourself into it with the same enthusiasm that you have for cardio. Strength training is an important activity for women who want to get fit, but is not emphasized nearly as much as it should be. The fact is that the more muscle tissue you have, the stronger your metabolism will be. This means that you will make improvements to your health and your body more quickly than you will if you decide to just stick to cardio.
Won’t I Look Like a Man?
What usually keeps women away from the weights is the fear that they will bulk up and look more masculine than they would like. However, if you aren’t trying to get big, you won’t. Bulking doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a tremendous amount of work, energy, supplements and food; just ask the guys who are bulking!
Going blind into a whole room full of machines might have you bolting out the door. Have an idea of what your strength training goals are and how to achieve them. There are magazines and websites dedicated to women’s fitness and strength training. These can usually give you a better idea of what you would like to achieve and recommended workouts to get you on your way.
Through your research, you can also learn how to use the machines involved in your new workout regimen. This way, you can get started on your own without having to hire a trainer. However, if you can afford a few sessions with a personal trainer, you should consider it, since a trainer can demonstrate the use of the machines and give you advice that will be tailored to your specific needs.
This is your next step after researching. All the information you gathered will better inform you about what you want to gain from your training, but defining what these goals are and setting a deadline for yourself will give you something to aim for.
People who keep to themselves and avoid interacting with other people in the gym might have a hard time staying motivated and are more likely to give in to the urge to slack or even quit. Sticking to a routine is never easy, but people who try to go it alone make it even harder for themselves to follow through on their commitments. Having workout buddies and mentors means having people who will hold you accountable for slacking off and a support network to keep you going even when you want to quit.
Most people in the gym will remember what it was like to be a newbie and will be happy to help you if you ask. Within a few workout sessions, you will probably begin to recognize the more advanced regulars who might be willing to spot you, help you correct your form or answer questions you might have.
Don’t be afraid of failure or looking stupid on the machines. Failure is just making mistakes and then giving up rather than learning from them, and no one cares if you look stupid. Everyone started somewhere, and even if they do look up from their weights and see you struggling, they’ll remember being new. Knowing where you’re going is an important step, but at a certain point you have to move on from preparing and just go.