One of the biggest deterrants to walking into a gym is not knowing what to do but if you are looking to start lifting weights, it doesn't have to be complicated. As someone who used to fear the 'weights area' in the gym, I've written up a simple outline of where to start.
If you're stepping off the treadmill for the first time, I would suggest starting with bodyweight* exercises such as squats and push ups. Get your technique right with the basic movements and then progress by adding dumbbells later on. Group Fitness classes are a great place to start if Personal Training isn't in the budget as they are designed for all levels of fitness and usually include strength exercises using bodyweight and some light weights.
If you're feeling ready to pick up a dumbbell outside a class environment, you can start to add some light weights to your own training but make sure your technique is correct before increasing the load. The number of repetitions**(reps) you do is based on what goals you are working towards. If you are looking for general strength and to lose some body fat then try a circuit style of weight training because it will keep your heart rate up and is much more time efficient. If you are going for a more traditional strength workout, try and stick to these repetition ranges:
Reps in the 1-5 range build super dense muscle and strength (Arnie style)
Reps in the 6-12 range build a somewhat equal amount of muscular strength plus muscular endurance (my personal favourite)
Reps in the 12-15 range build muscular endurance and tone (good for first timers)
I would keep it simple. 6-8 different exercises using 3-5 sets*** of the above rep ranges. The most important thing... WRITE IT DOWN! Write down what weights you use and how many repetitions you do so you can keep track as you progress.
A good way to gauge if you are lifting enough or too much weight is how quickly you fatigue. The last 2-3 reps should be tough. If you are aiming for 12 repetitions and only get to 8 then you are lifting too heavy. If you get to 15 repetitions with ease then you are lifting too light. Again this is why writing down your weights is crucial because it means that you won't waste time figuring out which weight is the right one for you every time you do your workout.
Now in terms of knowing what exercises to do, there are a few different options. Most gyms will provide you with a program as part of your membership so make sure you ask about that when you join. If you are training at home, look online for a basic strength program and there are plenty on Instagram or Facebook. You can buy light weights at Kmart and Big W and some are even adjustable so you don't need to buy 10 different sizes.
A great way to stay motivated is by lifting weights with a friend. It means you have someone to check your technique and also spot you (help you lift the weight) when you get fatigued. Plus training with a buddy is always more fun, gives you accountability and it's also nice to have someone to push and motivate you.
If you have the budget, seeing a Personal Trainer is always a great place to start if you are new to weight training. A trainer can write you a program and take you through the exercises until you are confident enough to do it on your own.
So if you are looking to get started then contact me today to get a fitness program or for help with technique. Sometimes all you need is a little push in the right direction.