When you’re new to fitness, weight lifting can seem daunting because it’s physically challenging and you must learn new exercises for each major muscle group; it’s not as easy as pushing “start” on the treadmill. Not to mention the horror stories of torn muscles and injured joints (which is only a concern if you’re performing the exercises incorrectly and/or are using weights that are too heavy).

Weightlifting increases muscle mass, so it’s great for your health and transforming your body. In the long run, it torches more calories than pure cardio because it keeps one’s metabolism elevated over a longer period of time than does aerobic activity long after the workout is done. Plus, the more muscle you add, the more calories you burn because muscle uses more energy than fat does.

Additionally, weightlifting improves posture and strength, making everyday activities easier.

Lastly, weightlifting is a great way to challenge yourself to create a strong work ethic because it takes grit to stick with it.

What to Expect

It goes without saying that weightlifting isn’t a walk in the park; it takes time and dedication to master correct form but the time and effort are worth it.

Most lifters rely on 4 main exercises known as the Big Four: the squat, bench press, overhead press, and dead lift. These lifts are incorporated into nearly all routines because they use multiple muscles at once.

For example, the bench press relies on the chest muscles, shoulders and triceps. It’s the perfect lift for less experienced weight lifters who lack the knowledge and experience to perform isolation routines that are designed to target individual muscles.

Getting Started

There are plenty of great resources online about the Big Four and how to do them. However, if you’re a complete beginner, your best bet is to join a gym and get a personal trainer.

While the weight lifting culture at some gyms is not exactly welcoming to beginners, the benefits of lifting correctly offset the discomfort of being a newcomer. In fact, most people are more than willing to offer help if you ask but otherwise they won’t bother you.

At the end of the day, learning to lift weights is just like learning anything else. It is challenging in the beginning but if you stick with it, it will be incredibly rewarding in more ways than you can imagine, especially with regards to weight loss, body composition and the great numbers you’ll get at your annual physical.

Women can Lift Weights Too

Many women consider weight lifting to be a man’s sport. They fear that lifting weights will make them look bulky and massive. However, this is a terrible and unfortunate misconception; weightlifting actually makes the bodies of women look shapely and toned. Weightlifters who look massive and bulky usually become that way by using steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. If you don’t take drugs, you won’t become huge and bulky.

In closing, the thing to keep in mind is that building muscle turns your body into a fat burning machine. It does this by increasing lean body mass, which in turn increases the amount of calories you burn daily. Combined with a modest calorie deficit, this means you will burn fat as fuel, resulting in a more toned and shapely body (and a healthier one, too because appearance isn’t everything).

A healthy diet, plus weight lifting is more effective for weight loss than a healthy diet alone. It’s because weight lifting burns fat while cardio burns both fat and muscle.

If you want to start lifting weights, talk to a personal trainer or coach. Remember, it’s easy to injure yourself when first starting; using correct form is more important than how many pounds you lift. So do yourself a favor, to prevent injury and make steady progress, seek advice from someone who knows what they’re doing as you begin your journey to total body transformation.

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