Are you a female newbie to the gym? Don’t fret! The days of intimidating male-dominated gyms are long gone. A new trend of “muscle mommy’s” and #girlswholift spending time in the free weights area has changed the stigma that “lifting weights makes you bulky” and that women should focus on purely cardio equipment to lose weight and burn calories.
We now know, due to modern-day research and science, that strength training is the elixir of life, plus it makes you strong and confident. The gym is a place to feel empowered as a woman, where you get to work on yourself, fill up on endorphins and walk out of the gym feeling like a boss woman here at Crunch Fitness.
We can understand that this may all sound well and good but, where the hell do you start?! What exercises should I do? How long should I spend at the gym? How many sets and reps should I do? How do I get past the anxiety of feeling like everyone is watching me? Isn’t the gym for people of elite fitness levels?
Don’t worry in this article we are going to cover EVERYTHING you need to know as a newbie to the gym to ensure you not only get the BEST results, but you build CONFIDENCE and make the gym your new favourite place to spend time outside of home.
What Should A Beginner Do At The Gym?
Get ready for a mind-blowing workout truth: Your fitness journey kicks off way before you hit the gym! It all starts with mental prep, and hey, we get it. Those thoughts of feeling like an alien in a spotlight can creep in.
But guess what? That’s called the “spotlight effect.”
It’s a fancy term from social psychology for overestimating how much others notice us. In reality, everyone’s too busy focusing on their own journey. They were all beginners once, just like you. The secret sauce is showing up and pushing through those initial jitters. Once you conquer that hurdle, there’s no turning back! Get ready to unlock a healthier, stronger you and embrace a new lease on life. The gym is waiting, and greatness awaits!
What Equipment and Exercises Are Best for Women
If you’re new to training and exercise, building work capacity and an aerobic base is crucial. Let’s talk mitochondria—the energy powerhouses in our cells. By improving our cardiovascular system, we enhance mitochondrial density and function, leading to increased energy levels and better recovery between sets, thanks to improved lung capacity and heart health.
At Crunch, we recommend starting with 10-15 minutes of light cardio. Aim for a zone two heart rate, typically between 120-140 bpm. If you don’t have a wearable or heart rate tracker, think of a steady pace where you can comfortably hold a conversation while exercising. Opt for low-impact options like a stationary bike or cross trainer to be kind to your joints.
If 10-15 minutes feels challenging, no worries! Start small and gradually build up over time. Begin with what you can manage, whether it’s 5 minutes or 2 minutes. Each time you return to the gym, add one more minute until you reach a consistent 15-20 minutes at a comfortable pace. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint—consistency is key.
Now, let’s dive into stretching and mobility work, which are essential starting points. Before we focus on strength, we need to prioritise mobility and stability. Think of it as a three-step process: mobility, stability, and strength. Address key areas like hip, shoulder, spine, and ankle mobility. If you need guidance on using equipment or proper stretching techniques, our friendly and expert staff is here for you. They’re ready to provide hands-on coaching and help you feel confident in your workouts.
How Long Should You Workout For If You’re a Beginner?
Firstly, be realistic. How much time can you commit per week to your fitness goals? Can you commit to three 1-hour workouts per week?
If so, great! If not, don’t stress.
If it’s only 3 x 45 minutes that’s plenty of time to start with, even less than this depending on your current fitness level may be suitable to start with whatever is comfortable for you.
I recommend just taking your time with things, if you’re new, developing the skill of movement patterns and lifting weights is important to ensure you are performing the exercises with correct form, again if you’re ever unsure, speak to one of our team to help check your movements. As you improve your fitness levels then you can increase the length of your workouts as you add more volume and time to your cardio and strength training by adding more sets and exercises.
Your goals will also determine your workout length, if you’re not looking to run a marathon anytime soon or become the next female fitness competitor and just want to stay fit, strong, and healthy then three times per week for an hour should be realistic for you to achieve this.
How Many Days Should I Workout?
Creating strong habits is key to driving consistency and establishing a routine. Remember, the secret is to keep showing up. Aim for a minimum of three days per week to form new habits and routines. Surprisingly, even dedicating a small amount of 10-15 minutes every day can lead to long-lasting habits that effortlessly become part of your everyday routine.
To make your gym routine stick, consider these tips. In our time-constrained world, prioritize finding a time that works best for you. Block it out in your diary and make it non-negotiable—this dedicated time is crucial for your success. By prioritising and carving out this valuable time, you’re setting yourself up for consistency and making your fitness journey a top priority.
Easy Beginner Gym Workout Routines for Females
If you’ve got to the end of this article and you feel like you’ve plucked up the courage to brave the gym but don’t know what you’re going to do when you make it past the front door, we’ve got a few things to help you feel more confident. A few beginner workout routines for your cardio workouts as well as a beginner strength training routine. I also recommend checking out our other guide on the best dumbbell exercises for females.
Cardio Workout Routines For Beginners
– 5-minute stationary bike at 50-60% max heart rate 120-140 bpm
– 5-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) in the 5-minute timeframe of 15-20 reps of bodyweight squats to a bench or box followed by a 20-30s plank hold and then 12-15 burpees.
– Rest for 1-2 minutes and then repeat the above for 2-3 rounds.
– 5-minute rowing machine at 50-60% max heart rate 120-140 bpm
– Complete the following exercises as a circuit with minimal rest between them.
– A1) 10 Bodyweight walking lunges each way A2) 10 Kneeling push ups A3) 8 each side Deadbugs A4) 10 step ups onto an elevated surface such as a step or box.
– Rest for 2-3 minutes then repeat for two or three sets.
Now it’s important to start off with a low intensity, exercise execution and correct form are important so take your time, if you need longer rest between exercises or rounds, take it. If you’re unsure of what any of the exercises are then speak to a staff member to help show you what they are and how to perform them.
Beginner Strength Training Routines.
When it comes to strength training, we want to focus on full-body movements and the main movement patterns. These include the squat, hinge, horizontal and vertical push and pull, and incorporating rotation and locomotion exercises.
Here is a starting example routine that covers all these bases. The workout is written as supersets so complete the ‘A’ exercises back-to-back with the allocated rest times before moving onto the ‘B’ series. Tempo is written as 3-1-2-0 which means 3 seconds lowering (eccentric phase) a 1 second pause at the end range followed by 2 seconds shortening (concentric or contractile range) then 0 seconds at the top portion of the movement.
|A1) Heel Elevated Goblet Squat||3||8-12||3-1-2-0||30s|
|A2) Chest Supported Dumbbell Row||3||8-12||3-0-2-1||90s|
|B1) Half Kneeling Single Dumbbell Press||3||8-10 Each side||3-0-2-1||30s|
|B2) Lying Hamstring Curl Machine||3||12-15||3-0-2-2||30s|
|C1) Leg Press||3||10-12||3-2-2-0||30s|
|C2) Lat Pulldown Machine||3||10-12||3-0-2-1||90s|
|D1) Dumbbell Lateral Raises||3||12-15||3-0-2-1||30s|
|D2) Cable Tricep Pushdowns||3||12-15||3-0-2-2||60s|
Start Light, Master Form, and Reap the Rewards
It’s important to start with light weights, focus on good form and proper exercise technique dialling in the tempo and control of the movement before adding load. Muscle gain happens by putting tension across muscle fibres and execution and form are how it’s done. Be patient, take your time and remember slow and steady wins the race, just keep showing up.
The benefits of weight training for women are phenomenal, increase your basal metabolic rate which means you’ll be eating more, staying leaner, losing weight, and improving your body composition with increased muscle mass whilst getting stronger, feeling more confident and lean and becoming a “muscle mommy”. If this isn’t a reason to start strength training and lifting weights, then I don’t know what is.
If you want to gain more confidence and have a personalised plan to help you achieve the best results in the shortest time possible then be sure to reach out to one of our team members for a FREE PT consultation to help create a roadmap to get you from A to B.
Crunch Fitness Virtual Assistant