Beginners Guide to Strength Training

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If you’re looking to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, starting out can be pretty intimidating. With the wealth of information that family, friends and Google search throw at you (what are reps anyway?) the whole process can be disorienting. 

Here’s a beginners guide for those of you who are interested in strength training, but don’t know where to start: 

What is it? 

Let’s start off by defining what exactly strength training is. Also known as resistance training, it’s a form of muscle conditioning that works different muscles and muscle groups against external resistance to induce muscle contraction and build strength. The resistance can be resistance bands, kettlebells, free weights and even your own body weight. The resistance applies loads to the muscles, which forces them to adapt, building their strength over time. 

When strength training, you’ll be performing reps and sets. Reps, or repetitions, are how many times you repeat a particular action. Sets are a cycle of reps. A good starting point is 3-5 sets and 12-15 reps per exercise. The resistance level, or weight you choose will vary person-to-person, based on size and ability. You should be using resistance that tires your muscles out after 12-15 reps, but does not completely drain you, as reps ought to be repeated after a minute or so of rest.

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🔥LOWER BODY WORKOUT🔥 . Get ready for a KILLER leg workout! In order to grow, we need to progressively overload our muscles and push ourselves!. . 2 min rest between each sets . 1 Full Circuit = 1 Set . Circuit 1 – 3 sets – Each leg 1️⃣Barbell Lunges x6 2️⃣Bulgarian Split Squat x6 3️⃣Step Ups x6 4️⃣Body Weight Lunges x12 . . Circuit 2 – 3 sets 1️⃣Barbell Good Mornings x12 2️⃣Sumo Squats x25 3️⃣Barbell RDLs x12 4️⃣Barbell Standing Thrusts x12 . Circuit 3 – 3 sets 1️⃣Leg Extension (start at 50lbs go down each 10 reps till 10lbs) – x10 Toes Up – 200lbs – x10 Toes in – Hold extend for 10 seconds – x5 Toes Up – Hold extend for 10 seconds – 10lbs . 25 Air Squats – Flex entire Leg . Circuit 4 – 3 sets 1️⃣Leg Press (start at 200lbs go down each 10 reps till 140lbs) – x10 Close Stance – 200lbs – Hold Press for 10 seconds – x10 Wide Stance – Hold Press for 10 seconds – x15 Wide but Low Stance – Hold Press for 10 seconds – x10 Close Stance – 140lbs . 25 Air Squats – Flex Entire Leg . #gymshark #girlswholiftweights #gymsharktrain #sweetsweat #legday #legdayworkout #gluteworkout #gluteexercises #legexercises #lunges #squats #rdls #stepups #splitsquats

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Like any exercise, strength training helps promote an overall healthier lifestyle. This type of exercise helps reduce body fat, increases lean muscle mass, and helps burn calories efficiently. Strength training actually works to alter your metabolism- so it can change the rate at which your body is burning calories, even when you aren’t at the gym. On top of that, it also helps develop stronger bones. By stressing the bones, it encourages an increase in bone density. This can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, which is particularly beneficial to women, who are more likely to get osteoporosis than men.

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If exercises aren’t preformed properly, or if adequate rest isn’t taken between working muscle groups, there is a chance of injury. Stress fractures, which are essentially tiny cracks in the bone, are caused when you lift more weight than you can handle, when you aren’t in proper form, and when you don’t give your body a chance to rest. The best ways to combat this is to start off with lower weights, to start off using only your own bodyweight, or to consult a personal trainer to ensure you’re in proper form. You should always rest between reps, and give your body a full day’s rest between working the same muscle group. Additionally, if weight loss is your main objective, strength training can seem to be working against you. Because it helps you build muscle mass, you may not see a visible difference on the scale once you start, or you may even see an increase. If you begin to lose fat but gain muscle, you may notice an increase on the scale because muscle weighs more than fat. 

How should you change your diet? 

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Exercise can only do so much to help you achieve your fitness goals. Changing your diet is not only essential to helping your fitness journey, but is necessary once you incorporate exercise into your routine. Simply put, your body’s nutritional needs change once you have a consistent workout routine. It’s important to eat a “smart snack”— something 100-200 calories before a workout, to boost energy levels. You should also try and squeeze in a meal or snack within 30 minutes of exercising, to help with the muscle recovery process. Higher protein intake and a good intake of carbohydrates is also important, to make sure your body is both getting and absorbing protein that will be turned into muscle mass.

Starting anything new can be daunting. Understanding what you’re doing and how to do it effectively, can help you feel less self-conscious because gymtimidation is a real thing folks!