In the Beginning…
By: Pearl Maalouf BS, FMSC, CPT, CF-L1
Believe it or not when I first started going to the gym I was a cardio bunny. I would bring my textbooks (I was in university) with me and bike for 30 minutes. Then I would switch to the treadmill and watch whatever show was on.
Then one summer I met my boyfriend-now husband- and he lifted weights, really, really heavy ones. Between our busy schedules the only time we could really “hang out” was at the gym. So I started going to the gym with my bodybuilder boyfriend–mind you I was barely around 100lbs at 5ft 7in-and worked out with him and his friends. The cardio section was on a completely different level from the weights so I had to ditch the treadmill and hang out with the big boys. Oh and did I mention our workout times overlapped with the university athlete training times? Most of the time I was literally the only girl in a sea of men. Might sound like a dream come true for some but I felt so out of place among all of these amazing athletes (even the female ones!).
My then-boyfriend taught me all the basics and then wrote me workout plans. My coordination and body control were horrible….ZERO…I was wobbling all over the place. The soreness I had after every workout was not fun. But I got better. And I loved it!
I’ll be the first one to admit that walking in to a weight room where there are a bunch of guys working out can be very intimidating. Trust me when I say I’ve been there, but I think I truly succeeded because I had a great trainer. That’s really the key here. Walking in to the weights area and not knowing where to start or what to do can be scary. If you don’t know what you’re doing–get a professional! Having a trainer holding your hand, so to speak, until you feel comfortable around the weight room is really priceless! Learning how to do different exercises, use different machines, and knowing you’ve got someone on your side if you do something wrong can really make weight lifting a lot less intimidating.
If you can’t afford a trainer to guide you then there are great free resources online. It will take some time to sift through all of it and make your own program but it’s definitely out there! I also offer custom online workouts including instructional videos that describe how to do each movement.
Hiring a trainer is just like hiring an accountant to do your taxes or a plumber to fix a leak. You can always try and figure it out yourself and sometimes it works, but if you want to get results quickly and efficiently the best way is to trust in the professionals. Personal trainers that are really committed to their field spend a lot of time and effort studying the human body, the mechanics of how it moves and works, and focus a lot on performing exercises with good form.
If you’ve been working out but never really learned how to perform movements properly, or are a complete beginner to working out please think about getting a personal trainer at your local gym. You can also get an online trainer for a lower cost to help you with programming your workouts or try to DIY from online resources. Either way, equip yourself with knowledge and walk confidently towards the weights! I know you can do it because I did too!