This is for folk who have the desire to get into some sort of strength training. This is not for those of you who are training to run a marathon. If that is your goal, stick to the running!
However, if you lack the confidence or know-how to step into the weights room and usually head straight for the treadmill then this is for you. If you spend countless hours running on the treadmill or cross trainer, hoping that it'll give you the body you want, you could probably be putting that time to better use.
If you aren't quite ready to pick up some weights, here's some tips to help you out.
There's no right time to start.
The sooner you start, the better! You don't have to wait for anything, you can just get in the gym and start lifting. If you feel a bit lost, find a free program on the internet to follow so that you've got some structure to your gym sessions.
You can't out-train a bad diet...
If you're only at the gym to try and erase that fry-up or pizza at the weekend then you're doing it wrong. This just creates an unhealthy cycle of you punishing yourself for eating things that you enjoy. Exercise should feel rewarding, you shouldn't feel like it is punishment! Part of building a healthier, stronger body should be fuelling it with the appropriate foods - you'll reach your goals a lot faster and feel better!
You will still burn calories lifting weights
Some people still think that a sweaty cardio session is the only way to burn calories! If you enjoy it, go for it. But if you want to get stronger, build some muscle, tone up AND burn calories then I highly suggest you start lifting some weights. I'm not talking about heading straight for the small dumbbells and doing lateral raises. I'm talking about compound movements like the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press. Why just train your shoulders doing a lateral raise, when you could be training your shoulders, triceps, upper back, and core with the overhead press!? It's still one movement - just a hell of a lot more efficient.
If you're doing endless hours of cardio to tone-up, listen up!
Cardio will burn calories and you will likely lose weight if paired with a sensible diet. However, as you lose weight, you're likely losing muscle as you aren't lifting any weights to preserve your muscle mass! If you want to effectively achieve the toned look, you're going to want to start lifting. You won't get bulky (unless you're into using performance enhancing drugs), you'll just get a great bum!
You don't have to choose one or the other, you can lift weights AND do cardio
You'll often see articles online like 'Cardio VS Strength Training' and they'll go through why cardio is terrible and lifting is superior, or vice versa. Well here's the thing - they're both great at different things. Combining strength training with some cardio sessions throughout the week is a fantastic way to get stronger, achieve a toned look, and increase cardiovascular health. Why do one or the other when you can get great results from doing both!? In other words - don't just pick a side. Figure out what's important to you and incorporate it into your own training. If you're a cardio bunny, I highly suggest you start lifting! If you only lift weights, you might want to add a little cardio into your sessions.