Search for “strength training for women” and you’ll get overwhelmed with info quickly! Don’t over think it! Here’s what beginners need to focus on when they want to start lifting weights.
When new lifters start researching, they can become overwhelmed pretty quickly.
There’s a lot of information out there that might cause you to procrastinate starting.
I don’t want that to happen because there are too many benefits to lifting weights.
I’d like to share what needs to be a priority in the very beginning when you’re starting
Here are three things beginners need to know about lifting first.
1) Keep it simple.
In the beginning you don’t need a complicated program.
Your focus needs to be on developing consistency and using proper form and technique.
At this point you are building your base strength.
This novice phase will last 3-6 months if your workouts are consistent and at that point you will change the workout because you’ll need to.
But right now a new lifter needs to do just enough to keep progressing safely by building capacity.
I’m not just talking about getting stronger.
I’m also talking about getting your joints, your tendons, and your ligaments ready to be able to handle increased loads in the future.
Not only do you not need a complicated program, you shouldn’t be doing a complicated program.
Go to the gym 2-3 times a week and do full body workouts.
2) Nutrition Focus
What two things should new lifters focus on with respect to nutrition?
Protein and total calories.
The recommendation for protein is 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.
You can get your protein from food. It’s actually the best way to get your protein.
But if you can’t quite get enough from food, choose a supplement that you like.
It’s very difficult to build muscle in a calorie deficit.
So you want to keep your calories as close to your maintenance level as possible.
Maintenance is where the amount of food that you’re taking in is about the same as the number of calories that you’re burning in a 24 hour period.
If you are a little bit overweight, it’s okay to be in a small deficit.
In the very beginning, you will be able to lose fat and build muscle at the same time.
But it can’t be a very extreme diet and it’s going to be hard for the body to build muscle if you’re not taking in enough calories so that you can recover from your workout.
The third thing that needs to be a focus for new lifters is rest
New lifters are really motivated.
They want to work out a lot more than they should and that’s an issue.
Remember I said that this first phase, you are building the capacity to be able to do more later.
You need to give your body time to rest between workouts.
That means at least one rest day in between lifts.
Your sleep is important, too.
You need to try to get enough sleep because that is when your body is recovering from your lift.
If you don’t pay attention to this rest and recovery aspect of your training, you’re setting yourself up for potential
injuries down the road.
On these rest days in between those would be great days to do stretching, yoga, or a little extra cardio.
But you need to give your body time to recuperate from your lift.
Which of these is your biggest challenge?
Is it the food, rest, or is it just being consistent?
Know you need to change, but aren't sure where to start? I created this free training to answer the most common questions women have asked me over the years.
- What to eat?
- Why lift?
- How to stick with it?
- How to get started?
Hi! I'm Tammy! I was a busy, stressed, and unhealthy teacher until I decided to take control of my health. I did not become an athlete until I was in my 50's!
I earned personal training and fitness nutrition certifications, then retired from teaching to dedicate my work life to fitness education for other busy women over 40.
My results are obviously not typical because most people don't train to compete as a bodybuilder.
But I believe everyone can make positive changes with healthy habits! Each of us has a unique combination of strengths and challenges that need to be considered to customize a program that will work for us. Science-based principles, flexibility, and consistency make all the difference.