I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say they don't lift weights. This was me too up until a few years ago. Do you know that area of the gym with weight racks and strength training machines? I never went there. That stuff scared me, so I steered clear, keeping my workout confined to the cardio machines and stretching area. The only weights I used were kettlebells and lightweight dumbbells.
Then I went to my first CrossFit class. I learned about form and saw how easy it was to incorporate heavyweights into my fitness routine. Since then, I've been a big advocate of strength training a few days a week. In fact, I much prefer it to cardio or body weight exercises.
If you've been avoiding heavy lifting or strength training equipment, here are a few tips and words of advice to help get you started:
1. Watch Youtube Videos
Nothing feels as good as doing an exercise and knowing I'm doing it with proper form. Same goes for loading up weights or using a machine. I like to feel like I know what I'm doing--and this is essential for safety. Youtube is an excellent resource for learning how to lift heavier weights and adjust machinery. It's also a good place to get exercise ideas and learn proper technique (just check the person's credentials to ensure they know what they're doing).
2. Ask a Gym Staff Member or Personal Trainer for Help
When I decided I wanted to start using heavy weights and equipment, I had to get over feeling embarrassed about asking for help. Whether I needed a spot or I needed someone to show me how to adjust a machine, I was done feeling embarrassed. Gym staff members and personal trainers want to help people--it's their job. Don't be afraid to ask one of them about form or adjusting a machine. They want to help you!
3. Take a Lifting Class
Whether it be a Crossfit intro course or a weight lifting class, there are many gyms out there that offer classes to teach people proper form and heavyweight exercises. If you're nervous about getting started on your own, you may want to take one of these classes or book a session with a personal trainer. They can walk you through specific exercises so that you feel confident doing them on your own at the gym.