If you’ve never lifted weights before, you probably think you’re at a disadvantage when it comes to building muscle and making your fitness aspirations a reality. But, believe it or not, you have the most to gain. In fact, picking up strength training for the first time results in a wild ride that is usually characterized by rapid changes to your body. “When you are a beginner you are at an advantage as far as results are concerned, and not simply just adding muscle,” says kuudose celeb trainer, Joey Thurman, CES CPT FNS.
Now, let’s be clear: You need to be pumping iron, no matter your age or your body type. Many older adults tend to assume they’ll be better off focusing solely on cardio, but that’s a major misconception. Maintaining adequate muscle mass and function in old age is essential to growing old in a healthy manner. This study, published in the scientific journal Obesity, concludes that older adults are much better off lifting weights over cardio if they want to lose weight without sacrificing any muscle mass.
Perhaps your nerves have kept you from the bench press up until now. It’s totally understandable. A gym can be a scary place the first time you walk inside. Even seasoned fitness experts deal with self-doubt from time to time. “Gym anxiety is so common,” Lis Saunders, C.S.C.S., a powerlifting coach based in Atlanta, told Self. “I’ve always battled social anxiety, so even though I have lots of lifting and coaching experience now, I still feel anxious every time I go to the gym.”
So remember: Pushing yourself to get off the couch and making that first trip to the weight room may be the hardest part. But once you pick up weightlifting… What happens to you and your body? Read on to find out. And for more amazing exercise advice, don’t miss the Unexpected Side Effects of Working Out in the Morning, Say Experts.
As long as you stick to a steady weightlifting schedule, get plenty of rest, and eat right, prepare to see some serious gains over the first few weeks of your new regimen. If you’re only just starting, your muscles aren’t used to weightlifting at all—which means they’re primed and ready to adapt quickly to the new stimuli.
“When you first begin weightlifting, you’re shocking your body into a pattern of resistance training it’s not used to, which spikes rates in muscle protein synthesis,” explains Matt Scarfo CPT-OPT, CES, PES, FNS, of Lift Vault. “This is the rate at which you pack on muscle, and for those that are new to weightlifting, or any form of resistance training, levels take much longer to come down than intermediate or advanced lifters. As a result, your body is spending more time in the muscle-building process as a beginner because of a greater response to workouts, which is a main cause of newbie-gains.”
Research published in Sports Medicine supports the validity of newbie gains, concluding that the average beginner weightlifter tacks on about four to seven pounds of extra muscle over their first three months of lifting. Meanwhile, Mae Alexis, CPT, of Nanala Cove, says that over your first full year of weightlifting you …….