The most common question I get on my Instagram is about my workout routine and how to start lifting. My workouts are 90% weight lifting. This is how I break it down. Generally.
Day 1: Shoulders & Triceps
Day 2: Back & Biceps
Day 3: Legs
Day 4: Shoulders & Chest
Day 5: Legs
Day 6: Full Body + HIIT/ABs
And let's be clear about my #goals. I wanted to go from weak to strong - physically and mentally. And before we go further, please get it out of your mind that you will get bulky or manly from lifting weights! I AM PROOF!
Where To Start
When I started going to a gym, the first thing I did was book a personal training session with a trainer. Yes, it costs money, but it is 100% worth it. For my session, they basically showed me the machines and different exercises to do for a full body lifting routine. This is beneficial because you get hands on education about how to execute exercises with good form and the PT is likely to put together a routine for you.
After following that for probably a week (or not even haha). I started to make my own routines. How?
People, it's called Google. Bodybuilding.com is an extremely valuable resource. It lists pretty much every exercises possible for every muscle group. So, for example on shoulder and triceps day, go pick out exercises from there to put together a routine.
Also, Instagram. There are sooo many fitness accounts on Instagram. People post workout videos/ideas. So you can get lots of ideas from there too!
Don't be afraid to ask questions at the gym. People who work there are paid to answer your questions. Gain your confidence at the gym.
How to Create a Routine
If you're making up your routine by yourself (like I do). Then you should generally hit each muscle group at least twice a week. If you are working on really growing a certain muscle group then maybe 3 times a week, but remember that muscles need time to rest and recover to GROW! Also, if you are new to lifting, then expect to be really really sore the first week. So you might have more rest days or off days from lifting. But as you get used to lifting weights, yes you will still get sore, but you'll learn how to train while still being sore :)
So basically you can start off with full body routines and do them 3x a week, or go right into a split like the one I mentioned above.
How many reps and how many sets?
For building muscle/strength you want to aim for 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps, GENERALLY.
How do you pick the weight?
The last few reps of your set should be challenging. If you feel like you could do another 10 reps, then the weight is too light. If you are struggling to do 5 reps, then it's too heavy. You'll be surprised at how quickly you build strength! And remember, everyone's "heavy" is different. No two people lift the same weight. You do you.
Lifting weights burns fat while building muscle, so if you are generally "lean" right now, you don't have to do a lot of cardio (unless you like it and you want to, obv). Because cardio will just break down your muscle, especially if you're not eating enough. You should get a pretty good sweat on from lifting anyways. And as you get more confident in the gym, you'll be super-setting exercises and building HIIT into your routine to mix things up!
Stop Being Afraid
Seriously, I get it. I was scared to walk into the gym and lift things up. Are people going to judge me if I'm not lifting "enough?" Am I going to look stupid? Of course I had those thoughts, but you really need to suck it up! Get out of your comfort zone and just do it! I guarantee that lifting weights will sculpt your body like you never imagined. You will get that figure that you want. Your abs will pop more without even training them that much! You'll have increased energy and feel amazing!
What Else Do I do?
My main, personal workouts are lifting, but I also do hot yoga at least twice and week and I teach POP Pilates 3 times a week, so I'm pretty active otherwise. Those are all just icing on the cake. Hot yoga is an extremely good workout (it's basically like cardio because you sweat so much). And teaching POP is NOT MY WORKOUT, but it does add to my energy expenditure. So, I have to be aware of that and because my goals are to lift heavier and build muscle, I need to feed my body the energy it needs.
Hot yoga makes me feel amazing. I love sweating like crazy. It's also an extremely good full body workout and stretch. It makes me feel strong and powerful. It is 100% part of my routine and a necessity.
What's the deal with cardio?
You probably see people on the Internet who lift weights and are like OMG so against cardio. There is nothing wrong with cardio, but if your goal is to gain lean muscle, then doing too much cardio will hinder your progress. Cardio is good for health and the best kind is HIIT because it preserves muscle while burning fat. And you can do it in a short amount of time. If I were you, I would look into purchasing PIIT28 because it's the best HIIT workout I've ever done and it will sculpt you a strong and sexy core as well.
So, I know I didn't write it all out for you. I didn't give you the exact exercises to do each day, with the reps and sets. But that's because I truly believe you need to put in the effort to educate and experiment yourself. That's what I did! And that's how you'll truly be able to integrate lifting into your life.
So stop waiting. Go do it. NOW!