How to Get Over Your Fear of Lifting Weight: A beginner’s Exercise Guide
Lifting weights is intimidating when you have no idea how and where to start. It’s scary to head over to the weight section in the gym when you’re just beginner. I mean you’re already putting yourself out there and you don’t want to be embarrassed by looking like you don’t know what you’re going to do.
You don’t know if you can lift those weights properly. You are scared that weights will make you bulky. You’re scared of failing. You’re not alone and you stumbled into good hand because I’ve been there too, but I got over my fears and here is how
First off, the benefits of lifting weights
Lifting weights is part of strength training, which means that you will build endurance throughout the process. Strength training also imposes force on your body, which will tear up your muscles and build new ones. This is called hypertrophy. So, if you’re looking to tone, have some definition and build muscles, this is perfect for you.
You also learn to build confidence in yourself throughout the process of lifting weights also build your confidence over time as you see your progress throughout your weightlifting journey. The goal is to progress as you go along so that your body can get adjusted to it and you’re able to get stronger as the days and weeks go on.
But before you get there, where should you start?
Here is how to incorporate weights in your routine
You can add two weightlifting days in your whole week. This will not only help you build strength but will allow your body to get use to weights. As soon as you start to get more comfortable, then increase the days. You can add one more day, then another throughout the week.
It’s best not to go over 5 days of weightlifting because you want to give your muscles a rest period so that they can come back stronger and will form better as you rest. Think of it as taking your baked good out of the oven. You usually let it cool down and harden before eating it. This is the same with lifting weight.
Give time to your body to rest.
How many reps/sets should you begin with?
This really depends on your goals. head over to the weight section in the gym. The more you lift and progress on your weights, the more your muscles build up, this is called hypertrophy.
You need to do 6-12 repetitions (reps) of a movement, slow and controlled. Then take a 30 to 45 second break at the most. You need to take as little break as possible to be the most effective during your session. But be sure to take breaks, this is very important.
I know it can be hard, but you need to believe in yourself. It’s only by doing the hard part that you will truly see a change in you, trust me. Don’t avoid the uncomfortableness, it’s there to make you grow, to build your muscles to get stronger.
You want to do at least 3 sets of those reps. Which means starting the same exercise over again 3 times.
How do you know which one is right for you?
If your goal is to build muscles and tone,
Lifting heavier weights and with a smaller number of reps would help you reach to your max, which is where you want to be. You want to progressively increase your weight as well so that you don’t plateau (which means stay at the same level without changing).
If your goal is to increase your strength slowly,
Choose a weight and practice lifting for 2 weeks. Then increase your weight as you start to get comfortable with the older one. In the initial phase, you can lift lighter weights, but make sure to increase your reps. If you’re stuck lifting the same weight, just move on to the next one. Your body is very adaptable and can handle much more than you realize.
Tip: make sure to have use different lifting exercise to keep things interesting. The fun in lifting is the variety of exercise you can do with it.
How much weight should you lift as a starter?
To know how much weight, you are able to lift, two to five pounds (2-5lbs) is a good start. If you’re doing workouts at home, get a gallon of water and fill it up. This would also be good for you so that it can help you get enough water intake per day. Double win!
If you’re using dumbbells, lift one weight at the time to get even on both sides. One mistake I did was lifting both sides at the same time. The problem with this is that your left and right does not have equal amount of force. One side is usually stronger than the other one, so you need to train both sides equally by itself at first.
Another mistake when lifting both arms at the same time is that one side usually helps the other one. I realized that after lifting weights, my stronger side (left) would often feel a lot sorer than the weaker one. To find out which one is your weaker side, do a balance test.
Try standing on one leg on both sides and whichever one you seem to stumble with the most, that’s your weaker side. This is good to keep in mind.
When you feel like both arms are close to equal capacity, then you can lift both arms at the same time. Ta-da!
Other alternative to weights if you’re at home
- A backpack with heavy textbook
- Your pet: cat or your dog (Be sure they are not too heavy if you’re just starting out)
How to avoid injury lifting weight?
- Bend down in a squat position to put the weights down. Don’t just drop them.
Putting your weight on the ground when you are standing up is not safe and can lead to back hurt because you are rounding your back and your upper body is in an unstable position. If you have to put your weights on the ground, carry it like a baby and lower your body as you lower it to the floor. This will save you from back pain and injuries.
- When lifting, make sure to control your movement. Don’t let your arms slack down.
The magic in weightlifting happens during the movement. Make sure it is slow and controlled. Let go of your doubt and always asking if you can do it. Just do it. Don’t overthink it.
It is way better and safer for you to move slow than faster. This isn’t a race. If you want fast paced, then HIIT is for you, but this is a slow burn that will get you big results overtime.
- Get appropriate weight
There is a fine balance between challenging yourself past your comfort zone and not listening to your body. The way to distinguish is to see if your form is breaking down. If it is, simply put the weight back down. This does not mean that you are weak.
On the contrary, you are brave for even starting and getting to that point. Pick the weight right below that and keep going. Form should be your number one priority. You can always increase your weight overtime and achieve your goal weight.
How to conquer your fear of lifting weights
Know what you want to get out of this. Maybe you want to tone up or finally get stronger arm to show off in your tank tops. You got this! If you are intimidated to go to the gym, try weights at home, in your room.
Some place where you feel safe and keep repeating to yourself “I can do this” Say it until you believe it. Imagine yourself as superwoman if that’s what it takes because lifting weights is fun.
You are capable of this. It’s normal to feel intimidated, when you are new. Take it slow, listen to your body. The change really comes with consistency. As long as you do it at least one time per week, that is a great start, make sure to always challenge yourself (while being safe of course).