This week was the second week back in school (my last year, EVER!) and it’s been a good experience so far. One thing has been exciting for me- my roommates this year are very interested in learning how to lift weights. They started with me last week, and this is their first full week of our plan. It’s great to hear all the commentary between them.. how sore they are, how different it is from cardio, how HARD leg day is, how hungry they are after leg day, how they thought regular running would give them a nice backside (it doesn’t), and how much sense it makes to lift weights to shape your body.
I know I thought all of these things when I first started. For one, I was surprised how much I’d been selling myself short when I used to lift weights (without really knowing what I was doing). Both the girls lifted well beyond 5lbs during their first week. I think it helps to have someone there with more experience to say, Nope, you’re using 15’s or add 10’s to each side of that barbell or someone to hand you 25’s and say, Last set. Go.
There is so much going on in your head when you start a new exercise program. Am I doing this right? Can I lift that much? Is this going to give me the results I want? Can I do this?
If you’ve been afraid to start lifting but want to, get a friend to start a plan with you. The two of you can venture over to the weight room and try things out. Go early in the morning so there are less people around and more opportunities to try out the equipment. It may even be a good idea to get a personal trainer for at least one session to show you the equipment.
One of the things we’ve talked about this week is how to know when you’re lifting heavy enough. For me, the last 3 reps for a set become really hard. If I were to try one more rep beyond when I was going to do (let’s say I’m going to do 12), there is NO WAY I can do 13. And for me, once I approach 10(so the last three, 10-12), it’s almost like this signal goes off in my head and I think , “Oo wow I can really feel that”. And often times, by the time I finish my last set, I’m in disbelief that I just did what I did. Instant empowerment : )
It’ll take time to understand how this is supposed to feel, how much is too much, and how much is not enough. I remember going to the gym with my sister in January and while I was doing a set she said to me, “Why are you making that ugly face?”
Thanks, sis. ; )
I think that day she realized how “ugly” it is to lift hard and heavy. Next time you’re in the weight room, look at the intensity that most guys lift with. Do you see girls putting forth the same sort of effort? Granted, I know some guys can go overboard, but to lift with the intensity to make a change in your physique, it’s gotta get uncomfortable.
An analogy I like to think of in terms of what lifting heavy does for your body is the “band-aid” analogy. This is how I think of the body’s response to lifting, and whether or not you’ll build muscle from what you’re doing.
Lifting light (for your own personal strength) simply creates a “scrape”. No need for a Band-aid.
Lifting heavy breaks down the muscle much more, and the body says, “Dear lord, that was stressful. I need a Band-Aid after that workout. If I’m going to be put under this type of stress, I’m going to have to build some kind of defense to meet these demands that are being placed on me.” Each time you lift heavy like that, your body puts another Band-Aid over its muscles.
So when you see someone who’s muscular, imagine how many times and how much that person’s muscles have been stressed. That’s a whole lota Band-Aids! Think that happens when you’re lifting light? No need for a Band-Aid, so no reason to grow.
So get in that weight room and challenge yourself. Train hard, lift heavy, and most importantly.. enjoy the process!
To read more about getting started, read this article from Cutandjacked