Weight Training - How to Start

by Srikanth Salva

August 22, 2019

I started weight training in September of 2014. Back then, at 21, I was weak and extremely underweight. To fix this, I took up weight training. Despite having no expectations going in, in the five years since, I’m still pleasantly surprised at the positive impact it has had on my life.

It’s hard to go wrong with weight training if you are looking to get fit. Done right, done consistently, it will help you manage your weight, increase your strength and endurance, stabilize your heart rate, build your bone health and density, and even help you sleep better. 

Gender, age and base fitness levels don’t matter; only your interest.

“Okay, I’m sold. How do I begin?” 

Easy. 

Find a Gym

Your gym doesn’t have to be the most expensive gym in the country. For starters, any small local gym with decent equipment will do. My advice? Pick one that’s close by and easily accessible.

Most franchise gyms – and a lot of local ones – will have trial offers where you can try out the equipment or do a free session first. I highly recommend you avail these offers before signing up. You want to make sure that the equipment is in good condition, that you are comfortable with the atmosphere and that the trainers are attentive and experienced. 

Have a Goal

Why do you want to get fit? Maybe you are getting older and want to improve your lifestyle, or maybe you just want to impress a girl – the reason can be anything. But it has to matter to you. 

Once you know that, decide how weight training will help towards that objective. It’s fine to have a general goal when starting out. For instance, my goal when starting out 5 years ago was to put on weight and become healthy. When you’ve learned the ropes and understand things better, develop your goal. Flesh it out. Be as specific as possible. Do you want to lose weight? How much weight do you want to lose? What’s the timeline? By Christmas? Okay, good, now work towards that.

Goals are essential to getting fit. They give you an objective to work towards and focus your effort. However, you have to be realistic. You know yourself best, so bite only what you can chew. If something is not working out, revise it to something more achievable. Keep in mind that goals can evolve and change over time, and that’s completely fine. 

Find a Trainer

In the gym, find yourself a personal trainer – someone experienced and professionally certified. Have them guide you on your exercise routine, proper form and all the other basics involved. 

“Aren’t personal trainers expensive? What if I can’t afford one?” 

This is an investment into your future well being. As a beginner, even a few sessions with a trainer will provide immense value.

Having a professional teach you the right exercises with proper form will go a long way towards helping you make real progress towards your goals while avoiding potential injuries down the line. Additionally, if you have any injuries, disabilities or deficiencies, a trainer will help you work around them.

All that said, if you can’t afford one, the next best thing to do, in my opinion, is research.

Research! Research! Research!

There is a ton of content online, to help you with your exercise routines, form, nutrition and recovery. Regardless of whether you have a trainer or not, get into the habit of exposing yourself to fitness related content. Read, read, and read some more.  

Be critical. A lot of times, the content you find online may be misleading or outright false. To get an objective view on topics, get your information from a variety of different, trusted sources – be it video, audio or written.

Research will let you understand how your body functions, where you need to be cautious and where you can really push yourself.

Make Friends!

Here, let me tell you a secret. Those big, buff guys and girls you see in the gym are usually some of the nicest people you’ll meet. If you are unsure or require assistance, it’s okay to approach someone who looks like they know what they’re doing. Just… ah, you know, keep it concise; remember why they’re there. 

Your own friends can be great sources of support and inspiration. If your friends weight train and know what they are doing, stick to them and learn everything you can. They will be more than happy to have you join them. After all, gym buddies are great to have.

The Essentials

Proper exercise, good nutrition and adequate rest – these are the three essentials to a healthy lifestyle. All three are interdependent to each other; weight training will increase your appetite and stabilize your sleep, while good food will provide the fuel required to lift and sleep will help your body recover and grow stronger. So get in enough sleep, and focus on your nutrition.

Nutrition is King

Arguably, good nutrition is the most important component of fitness – and the hardest. It doesn’t matter how dedicated you are in the gym; if you are not eating right, you won’t see much progress. And consider this: While you may workout once a day, you have to feed yourself constantly. Keep this in mind when you start working out and start building good nutritional habits right away.

Make sure you hit the right macros at the right times and get in enough water throughout the day. Keep yourself fueled and energized. 

Okay, so that’s it, then? Six pack in six months?”
No, not exactly.

Managing Expectations

It takes time and consistent effort to achieve meaningful results. Know that works for others may not always be what works for you – and that’s fine. There are infinite ways of achieving your goals. Just find one that suits you. 

While it’s not easy, there is a simplicity to fitness in that way – what you put in is what you get out. Initially your sessions might leave you dizzy, with your heart beating too fast, and your body all sorts of uncomfortable. The key is to keep going until your body gets used to it and you begin to have fun. 

Then pace yourself. Killing yourself for three months to look like a superhero will mean nothing long term if you come to hate working out because of it. Good workout and nutritional habits take time to build. So have patience, keep at it and have fun!

The gains will come. Good luck!

 

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