How to Begin
An in-person class with a trainer is still the best way to learn the basics.
With the second wave of COVID-19 showing signs of slowing down and a few States easing lockdown restrictions, it is possible to get in-person individual training sessions in the outdoors.
In cities that are still under complete lockdown, personalised online classes are the next best bet. A one-on-one class can help beginners fix their form, before signing up for group classes that can make it challenging for trainers to notice and correct minute glitches.
While learning the basics, watch recorded videos repeatedly and practising without weights, to begin with. If you can work out in front of a mirror, even better.
A well thought out warm-up precedes a workout session, and a trainer can help tailor the warm-up according to the training routine on a particular day.
Start slow and work your way up. Factor in adequate rest and recovery. “A muscle needs anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to repair and rebuild, and working it again too soon can lead to tissue breakdown”.
Trainers caution beginners against bodyweight training — push-ups or squats — without guidance.
Choosing online workouts
There’s no dearth of fitness channels on the internet and zeroing in on what suits your body best can be confusing. Look for trainers who have been doing this for years. Browse through a few videos, read the comments to see whether it has benefited those who have tried the regimens. Start with routines that are specifically made for beginners. For those who have never done strength or weight training before, beginn with resistance band exercises to minimise the possibility of injuries. Step up very slowly, be it in terms of repetitions or taking up small weights.
Why lift weights?
Weight lifting might seem intimidating at first. Navigate the basics — stability, mobility, flexibility and strengthening the core — and it turns into an enjoyable practice. Those who are consistent in their training gain strength, reduce body fat, and minimise instances of back pain, plus better moods and increased confidence levels.
“Muscle mass can begin to decline as early as in your 30s. Starting a weight training programme can help you maintain and even build that strength as you get older.
A synergy between aerobic workouts and strength training to get the best results. “Perform an exercise without weights for a few reps to see if you are doing it right, then incorporate small weights — 2 to 5 kilograms. Trying to lift heavier weights before fixing your form can lead to injuries”. Gyms have equipment that facilitate better alignment. This isn’t possible while training at home with free weights. So be watchful.”
A homemaker speaks from experience, why women should lift weight : Earlier, I was practising yoga and would go on brisk walks. I began incorporating weight training more than three years ago, building it up slowly. Now I can do deadlifts up to 50 kilograms, and 25 to 30 kilograms on barbells. I feel stronger and healthier. Don’t do it to impress anyone. We need to do this for ourselves, our health.”