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Strength Training 101 – Getting Started

Are you looking to lose fat and gain some muscle, but feel slightly overwhelmed or intimidated by the visual thought of big guys shifting heavy weights in a gym? Fear not! Strength training is an incredibly rewarding way to transform your body, it is suitable for all activity levels and it doesn't have to be scary or boring. We understand that starting out with strength training can be daunting. Questions like, "Which exercises are best?" and "How do I know if I have enough weight?" can feel confusing. That's why we've put together some basic strength training tips for beginners to get you started on your journey to a healthier and happier you!

First off, let's dispel a myth: strength training isn't just for muscle-bound meatheads. In fact, building lean muscle through strength training is one of the best ways to burn calories even when you're not working out. Think of it as getting cardio for free! Plus, strength training has a whole host of other benefits, like improving posture, boosting metabolism, and reducing inflammation. So you now know the benefits and you're ready to give it a go, we've got you covered with these simple tips for beginners: 

1. Commit to consistency

First things first, aim to lift weights 2-4 times a week. Don't go all-in right away, though; start with two days a week for a few weeks, then add in a third day, and work your way up to 4-5 days. And don't worry about spending hours in the gym - 20-minute sessions are a great starting point, and you can gradually add on time from there.

Person filling in exercise schedule on a clipboard in the gym with woman working out in the background

2. Prep your muscles

Before you start lifting, it's important to prep your muscles with a warm-up. Try starting with some light cardio or bodyweight exercises, or even a foam roller or massage gun if you're short on time. Be sure to add in some Dynamic Stretches as these prevent injury, improve flexibility, and increase performance. A few minutes spent on some Leg Swings, Arm Circles and Lunge Twists will go a long way to getting your body primed and ready for a good workout.

Woman doing a backwards lunge on outdoor tennis court

3. Start with full-body workouts

Once your body is feeling looser and more limber, opt for full-body workouts that balance pushing and pulling movements. For example, you could pair Romanian Deadlifts with Barbell Back Squats or Overhead Presses with Single Arm Dumbbell Rows.

Woman lifting kettlebell with arms extended

4. Optimise your repetitions

When it comes to reps and sets, keep it simple. Aim for 12-15 reps and three sets of each exercise, to start. Choose a weight that feels challenging but doesn't sacrifice your form - you should start feeling the effects of the weight around rep 8. And speaking of form, don't forget that good form is key! Focus on slow, controlled movements, and use the full range of motion.

Woman writing on whiteboard at gym

5. Stretch out and recover

After your workout, don't forget to stretch - this can help with flexibility and reduce muscle tension. And make sure to refuel your body with a snack within 15-30 minutes of finishing your workout. Eating a mix of carbohydrates and fats after a solid session will help you feel replenished, but most importantly you need to consume protein as it will help promote muscle production and aid in recovery.

Man stretching post-workout in a gym

So what are you waiting for? Grab those weights and get started on your strength training journey - after all, as they say, if you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done. The body achieves what the mind believes so begin building towards that better version of you by getting into weight training today! 

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