Definitely listen to DRAGONCHILDE and repost this in the fitness forum, to get better advice. ;)
The following is my experience as a beginner lifter. Emphasis: beginner. I'm no expert and I had neither the time to attend a gym away from home nor the funds I was willing to hand over to a trainer. If my goals were more substantial I would definitely consider doing both, but I was specifically looking for a plan that I could do at home with minimal equipment, and at odd hours when my toddler was napping. A trainer is a *great* idea, if it's something you are interested in and can work into your schedule.
I googled around for beginner plans and browsed the exercise databases here and on bodybuilding.com (I don't love all their stuff, but the video demonstrations were still very helpful to me when I was starting). The part I liked most about that site, and others probably do it too, was that each exercise demo told you exactly which muscles it works, including secondary muscles, as well as the type of movement it involves etc. That way, if I found a plan that I liked but didn't like a particular move due to lack of equipment or what have you, I could browse around for a move that did essentially the same thing in a different way. Or, if a plan looked good but it put too much emphasis on one body part and not enough on another, I could add/subtract where I saw fit until it was a better match with my personal goals.
When finding exercises, bodyweight exercises are 100% portable, free, and generally less likely to cause excess injury, but *they are not necessarily easy.* I chose some unweighted exercises, but I also picked up some dumbbells that were a larger than the ones I use for circuit training (because 5 pounders are good for long cardio sessions with some presses and whatnot mixed in, but not so good for genuine weight lifting). Then I just...started.
Pay attention to form. It's the most important part, by far. Even unweighted or using tiny weights, you can hurt yourself if your form is poor, and even if you manage not to hurt yourself, poor form can still be detrimental to your progress. If you decide to use weights, choose ones that are challenging but not ridiculously huge; start small and if the weights aren't causing failure after about 12 reps, go larger (btw, in this case "failure" means "I need to rest my arm for a minute, or I can't keep going," not "MY ELBOW JUST BLEW OUT, CALL 911"). Increase weight just a little at a time until you find a size that works well with your current strength level. Jumping in too deeply too early can cause your form to suffer and cause injuries, but using a weight that isn't challenging enough is essentially a waste of time unless you're using it for circuit training or something and doing lots of reps (and even then it just helps with endurance, not really with muscle growth). When that size becomes too easy over time, go bigger again.
Remember that muscle work causes muscle swelling so you might be bloated and sore at the beginning. If you can stay off the scale for a few weeks (or longer), I highly recommend it, especially if this is the first time you've done weight work, because it can cause some serious water retention at first.
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
9,689 8/17/13 11:34 A
Check out the Fitness forum. There are more people there who know about fitness than necessarily hang out here in the Diet forum. :)
Heather Writer, mother, wife, and breadwinner. I love to run, but running doesn't love me, so I'm switching to my low-impact bike.
Fitness Minutes: (65)
1 8/17/13 12:01 A
Join a gym and use the machines. Start out with light weight. Rest at least a day between workouts. Gradually increase the weight every day you work out. Try out all the machines to see which ones you like. If you're not sure how to use them, ask someone. Free weights can be dangerous if you don't know what you are doing, but I think the machines are safe.
Fitness Minutes: (0)
4 8/16/13 3:18 P
I find that if you have a gym membership, weighted machines are a great place to start. If you have dumbbells at home try bodybuilding.com for tons of exercises including videos!
Fitness Minutes: (84,915)
118 8/16/13 2:43 P
Personally, I would start out with body weight exercises (squats push ups, dips, etc.) until you find that you actually enjoy doing it. YouTube has some good channels for that, as does Pinterest. I wouldn't invest a lot of money on fancy equipment until you know a little more about what your fitness levels.
However, a personal trainer would be a good choice as well, but it could be a little more expensive.
I found that link really helpful and motivating when I re-started weight lifting. It has similar advice to the previous blog post too. Nia also has videos on her site showing proper form. If I had the money, I'd certainly invest in a personal trainer to show me the basics and watch my form, but I'd want to make sure their values with lifting aligned with mine. Good luck on your journey!
8/16/13 11:43 A
I strongly recommend a certified personal trainer, at least for the first few sessions, so that you learn proper technique. This is critical to avoid injury.
There was an excellent blog on here by BREWMASTERBILL that I would recommend reading:
Afraid of a colonoscopy? Believe me - they are much less frightening than surgery and chemotherapy.
Colonoscopies allow polyps to be removed before they can become cancer, or let cancers be found before they are too widespread. Please don't let fear stop you - cover your butt!
Fitness Minutes: (4,769)
25 8/16/13 11:37 A
I reallllly want to get into weight lifting, but I am so afraid of injuring myself and I don't know even know where to begin... How do I go about starting some sort of regime and where can I find videos, or do you recommend a personal trainer? Thanks!!
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