We’re kicking off a series of blog posts just for beginners (or anyone who’s been out of the gym for an extended period). If you’re just getting started or need to ease your way back in, we’ve created Before the Barbell to do just that! It’s an eight-week strength training intensive designed to take you from beginner to confident lifter.
We recently asked some of our followers – who are gym newbies or have never touched a barbell – about what holds them back from getting in the gym and training. And while we got all kinds of answers, most of them fell into three categories:
They feel unsure about what to do once they get to the gym
They feel worried about injuring themselves/having bad form
They’re held back by their mindset (scared, anxious, nervous, etc.)
If you have any of those same feelings, we’ve got you covered! Today we’ll touch on the first point, but there are additional blogs with information to help you regarding the other two categories.
So, you’re feeling unsure about what to do when you get to the gym? Simply put, we have one big piece of advice: find a program! Why? Here are four good reasons why.
#1: You’ll have a game plan
No more wandering around or feeling aimless. If you’re a beginner or easing back into it, you want to go in with a plan, so you don’t overthink it. It’ll be easier to stick with a routine if you follow a plan because it gives you purpose when you step into the gym. You don’t have to worry or think, “What do I do today?”. This will help you feel more confident as you’re still getting used to being in the gym.
#2: You don’t have to do the planning
You may ask yourself, “How many sets of squats should I do?” or “How many sets of deadlifts should I do?”. Instead of piecing together which exercises to do and how many sets and reps you should do, you can leave it to a professional! Loads of people studied strength training in college or have experience as athletes, so they’re equipped to put the best plan together for you. While you can find an in-person coach or personal trainer to develop this for you, the more accessible and economical choice is often a strength training program online. You might be wondering, what is the best strength training program? There isn’t a straight answer for that; try out different ones and see what works best for you!
[insert a screenshot of stronger by the day?]
#3: It helps you see progress
The key to strength training is a program with progressive overload. The main idea with progressive overload is to make your workouts more challenging over time by placing greater stress on your musculoskeletal and nervous systems. You can do this by adding heavier weights week to week. When you don’t have a program, two things can happen:
You vary the types of exercise too much. We get it, there are a lot of free workouts on Instagram, TikTok, or even YouTube. When you constantly change the exercises you do at the gym, it means you can’t look back and see the improvement, whether your form has improved, or monitor other progress indicators.
You do the same exercises at the same weight. While it’s the opposite of the first point, it causes the same result. Without a program pushing you to add weight week-to-week, you’ll probably start to think you’re not making progress and get bored.
For these reasons, it’s essential to have a program that incorporates progressive overload. Tracking your workouts and monitoring the weights can show you how you advance. It will help you stay engaged and aim for new goals!
#4: It will help prevent injury
A good program will ensure that you’re not over-exercising (or under-exercising for that matter). Instead of going full force all the time, a well-rounded program will help you pace yourself to make improvements without pushing too hard.
Next Steps for Lifting
We hope these reasons are enough for you to consider finding a beginner strength training program that’s right for you. Before the Barbell will check all of these boxes and more! If you already have some barbell experience and looking for something more advanced? Our group training program – Stronger by the Day – might be a better fit for you!
Megsquats has a beginner's gym guide if you want to see her discuss exercises and types of programming.