Weight and Resistance Training - Intimidated by weights




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Jasmine
06-27-2009, 09:01 PM
I am a runner...well, a beginner runner...I have run off and on for years, nothing ever serious until recently when I signed up for a 10K. The 10K takes place in September and I have been training diligently for that. I love it and it's my "thing" if that makes any sense. Since starting training for the 10K, I have lost 10 lbs., which great. I see a big difference in my bottom half, but....

What is really bothering me right now are my arms and abs. My arms have that underarm "old lady" flab, and my belly has been like jello since my last baby was born in 2001. I so desire a tight belly and some definition in my arms. I would love to work out on some of the machines at the gym but I am totally intimidated by them and don't know where to begin. I know there are instructions posted at each machine, but that doesn't help me to gain enough confidence to actually use them! When I go to the gym, I always walk slowly by the weights, skim over the instructions, and then head for the treadmills.

How did you get started on weights? Did you feel intimidated at first? Any suggestions for me??


losermom
06-28-2009, 08:56 AM
I was able to take a class specifically for women at the university that I work for and we went into the gym together--safety in numbers you know. Now I'm hooked! Can you hire a personal trainer for a session or two specifically for weight training? While I'm pretty sure that you could ask people using the machines to show you how, I see lots of people doing some pretty scary stuff, too much weight, bad form, etc., to seriously suggest that.

Lydia227
06-28-2009, 10:44 AM
Jasmine: I encourage you to hire a personal trainer for a few sessions. When you meet with this person tell them you are a runner and that you would like to add strength training to your routine. I would also suggest that you request assistance with learning how to lift with free weights instead of instruction with machines.

There are numerous reasons why free weights are more beneficial than machines and there is a sticky about this at the top of the forum. But in addition to all of those reasons, you can walk into any gym, find a bench, pick up some dumb bells and get to work. If you are trained upon a specific type of "machine" you never know what you will find if you need to choose a new gym, travel, etc. Then you are right back where you began.

You may also find some valuable lifting advice from this site.

http://www.stumptuous.com/

Spend some time here reading the articles and the different lifts. Make a list of what you may like to learn and share it with the trainer you hire.

Once you get a feel for the movements and all the different variations you will be hooked! While it isn't intuitive, everyone has to learn this from someone, getting the right form down and guidance in selecting the best exercises for a routine are worth the investment. It is knowledge you can keep with you forever. Best of luck and let us know how you are doing.


jamsk8r
06-28-2009, 06:04 PM
A trainer is a great idea, but if you can't afford that right now, check out "The New Rules of Lifting for Women" (book) for a good intro to free weights, and ask at your gym if they offer a free weight room orientation or beginner's class or program.

Once you have an idea of what you want to do and how to do it, one way to get in the door is to pick just 2 or 3 exercises, put them in your warm-up before a run. Do a little light jogging just to get the blood flowing and muscles warmed up, do some range of motion work and/or light stretching to get the joints ready for the movement, then just go in and do 1 or 2 short sets of each exercise, like do the assisted pull-up/chin-up machine for 8 reps, do 8 sit-ups (or other ab exercise) on a mat, do 8 bench presses with dumbbells, repeat, then go on with your running workout. You'll be in and out. You don't have to start with a full workout if you're nervous about being there.

Having a plan before you walk in the door helps overcome a case of nerves better than anything. I think we all had the same fear of walking into the weight room for the first time, so you're not alone! :hug:

Jasmine
06-29-2009, 12:37 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice. I had no idea there was this "machine vs. free weights" thing out there...very interesting. I do have some 5# and 10# dumbbells here at home, maybe I could begin here at home.

I think it would be a good idea to hire a personal trainer for a few sessions, although I don't know how much that would be so I'm not sure I can afford it. I'm a member at Bally's and when I first joined they offered me a free personal trainer for a specified time, but I didn't take advantage of that. I should have! I am assuming I could hire someone at Bally's. I wouldn't know how to go about it otherwise. I will have to look into it.

Thanks again!

Tomato
06-29-2009, 01:02 PM
Weights are your best friend. :-)
Also, if you can grab an issue of Oxygen magazine - you will find lots of pictures of how to do the exercises. Almost every issue has something for the arms.

Jasmine
07-04-2009, 10:15 AM
Thanks for the tip about the Oxygen magazine. I had never heard of it before but picked one up the other day. Wow, there's really a lot of good stuff in it!

BlueToBlue
07-28-2009, 04:18 AM
Thanks everyone for the advice. I had no idea there was this "machine vs. free weights" thing out there...very interesting. I do have some 5# and 10# dumbbells here at home, maybe I could begin here at home.

I think it would be a good idea to hire a personal trainer for a few sessions, although I don't know how much that would be so I'm not sure I can afford it. I'm a member at Bally's and when I first joined they offered me a free personal trainer for a specified time, but I didn't take advantage of that. I should have! I am assuming I could hire someone at Bally's. I wouldn't know how to go about it otherwise. I will have to look into it.

Thanks again!

If you never used your free session at Bally's, I think you can still use it. There's no time limit on it. Just ask at the front desk. But you should know that it is primarily designed to sell the personal training. You'll get a good workout, but it's unlikely that the trainer is going to design a program for you or that you'll learn enough to feel comfortable on your own from just that one session.

I belong to Bally's and I've worked with a trainer there for going on four years now. I've been thrilled with my trainer; since you already belong to Bally's I would definitely recommend starting with them if you are considering personal training. And the fact that you already belong to the gym gives you an advantage when deciding which trainer you might want to work with, because you have an opportunity to observe them with their clients. When you are there working out, watch how the trainers interact with their clients. You want a trainer that is focused on his/her client during the workout, that uses free weights rather than the machines (I know you feel intimidated but the machines are easier to figure out than they look--it's not worth the money to pay a trainer to teach you how to use them), that isn't going to put you on the cardio machines (you already know you can manage your cardio on your own) and that has a training style that you feel comfortable with (e.g., do you want someone that will push you really hard or someone that is a little more laid back). You can also talk to the trainers when they are with clients. At my Bally's, they will often hang out at the front desk when they aren't with clients. Have a conversation with the trainers you think you'd like to work with about what your goals are and how they would train you.

WaterRat
07-28-2009, 02:49 PM
Good advice, Barbara. I've watched the guy at my gym (we have 2 trainers, one male, one female) and I would never ever pick him for a trainer. The woman has recently been training clients when I'm there in the morning, so I'm watching how she does.....

I know when I got my first "free" session when I joined, it was strictly how to use the machines and a canned program (aside from where things are and the rules, of course).

There are tons of videos on YouTUbe with different exercises, and also lots of books. You can do a lot at home, but eventually you'll outgrow the 5# and 10# dumbbells and want heavier weights and other things like a cable station and benches.... But those two weights, plus some body weight exercises will go quite awhile for you. Be sure to look for compound exercises (i.e. work more than one muscle at a time)