By Carolyn Hansen
If you are about to start strength training exercise for the first time, or you are getting back into it after a long layoff, you may think being labelled a "beginner" or "re-beginner" is not desirable. And you'd be wrong. Being a strength training beginner is awesome.
The first several few months of training is when linear progress is at the highest level it'll ever be. This means you can get stronger, fast and create a radical change in body composition (muscle/fat ratio).
The only real way we can increase our metabolism and the rate we burn fuel, is with strengthening exercise to maintain or increase our lean mass. It's also one of the very few ways to make bones denser, a perk that is especially important for women. Lifting something heavy, like a dumbbell, makes bones bear more weight, and in exercise, stressing your bones is a good thing.
If you eat well and train consistently, the first few months of your strength training journey are immensely rewarding. Take advantage of this high rate of progression and this reality is what makes being a beginner so damn awesome and motivating to keep you returning for more.
You will notice you start to carry yourself differently
When you approach strength training seriously, with purpose and a desire to get strong, after a few months your body feels different, in the best way possible.
You start to walk differently. You stand differently. You even sit differently. You just carry yourself in a more confident manner.
And it feels incredible.
When performing daily tasks, you feel muscles activate in a way you never paid attention to before. Getting stronger allows you to discover your body in a new way outside the gym, and it's really cool.
Daily activities become easier, and less tiresome
Once women have been strength training for a couple of months they notice how much easier daily tasks become.
Activities that used to wear you out are barely a challenge anymore.
Spend your time wisely – when you are just starting out, practically any progressive strength training program will produce some results, but some will produce significantly better results than others.
Your sole purpose as a beginner trainee should be to learn a few basic movement patterns you can master quickly, and then get stronger with those exercises. This will build a solid foundation upon which you can later customize for your specific goals.
The real question should be: What should a trainee do to maximize the returns from her time spent in the gym, so she doesn't just achieve some results, but achieves the most results possible?
Three things: Use compound exercises that train basic movement patterns that can be learned quickly. This should include a squat, deadlift, and pressing movement; a row and chin-up variation is great, too. Stick to the basics and you'll be well rewarded as these big movements will effectively and efficiently hit every muscle in your body unlike working one little muscle group at a time.
Perform 2-3 total body workouts per week. This training frequency is not only manageable for most people, but
it's been proven to be effective for building strength. Improve performance every workout. You must do better than the last time you performed the same workout. Perform more repetitions with the same weight, or add more weight. If you do those things, you'll achieve excellent results from a minimum time investment.
Strength training allows you to highlight your strengths so you can bring out the best in you. There are many additional reasons women should strength train, but those should be enough to convince you get started now, or to continue the journey.