Lose unwanted body fat with weightlifting, plus safety and dietary tips from a fitness trainer

Muscular bodybuilder guy doing exercises with dumbbells in gym
A gymgoer exercising in a gym. PHOTO: Getty Images

Did you know there is such a thing as ‘Gym Fear’? If you feel intimidated when confronted with the barrage of foreign-looking pumping machines with their mind-boggling functions and have no idea where to kickstart your gym journey, you have come to the right place!

According to Pure Gym, the fear about heading to the gym is real, particularly in weightlifting. Here are the top scariest things about going to the gym

  • Looking stupid in front of others: Nearly 40 per cent are nervous about the gym because they're afraid of showing people that we don't know what we're doing.

  • Feeling self-conscious about your fitness: Nearly half of the females (45 per cent females vs 29 per cent males) said they would be nervous in the gym if the other gymgoers were fitter than they were.

  • Lifting weights: 32 per cent said the most intimidating area of the gym was the squat rack, followed by the pull-up/chin-up machine and then the bench press. 64 per cent said they didn’t know how heavy the weights they use should be.

  • Asking for help: 48 per cent said they'd be too embarrassed to ask for help.

Now now, if you are one of the 48 per cent who is too embarrassed to ask for help, Yahoo Shopping is here to render our services. Do you find your fitness performance plateauing with no significant improvement or wish to reduce body fat? It may be time to head to the gym and add weightlifting to your workout mix.

The benefits of weightlifting are aplenty. According to Laila White, who has been a trainer for the past two decades and helmed the TV show “Life by Laila” in 2019; weightlifting tones, shapes and builds a more muscular body while strengthening the bones, reduces joint injuries, lowers body fat while building a more robust and healthier heart. At the same time, it works wonderfully for your wellness, which includes mood improvement and stress reduction and improving sleep patterns.

But how and where do I start, you ask? We spoke with Laila White, fitness trainer from My Gym Lab, on how to overcome ‘Gym Fear’ with a detailed guide to kickstarting your weightlifting journey, be it with a home gym or elsewhere, on top of dietary and workout safety tips.

My Gym Lab@Siglap. PHOTO: My Gym Lab
My Gym Lab@Siglap. PHOTO: My Gym Lab

How does one kickstart weightlifting?

White: Start with small, simple and short-term goals that are achievable and realistic. Set aside the number of days and times you can fulfil the exercise routine. Your exercises should comprise compound exercises using big muscle groups. For example, the push and pull movements are the Chest, Back and Legs.

The first week: Start once a week and work out for 10 to 15 minutes. Increase to twice-weekly sessions of 20 to 30 minutes in the following week. Rushing into a programme leads to burnout, but you may also miss the moment to be present. Track your process, jot down the weights, sets and repetitions. Recording your procedures helps you to reduce, increase and improve your training. Progression is key!

Safety notes:

Choose weights that are not too heavy or too light

The objective is to challenge yourself without feeling overly taxed or too easy. Never sacrifice form, posture and control for the sake of wanting to finish the routine or making quick progress.

Always warm up first

Warm muscles are less susceptible to injury. Perform 5 to 10 minutes of warm-up sets of each exercise in your workout using a light, easy-to-lift weight or do cardio for 5 to 10 minutes.

Focus on form

Good form prevents injuries and lets you reap all the benefits of your workout. Pay attention to your posture (stand tall with chest lifted and abs held tight. Execute the exercise slowly (this ensures you're relying on muscles, not momentum, to do the lifting). Remember to breathe. Don’t hold your breath while exerting. Exhaling during the most challenging part of the exercise helps with the movement. Try counting each action as it allows you not to hold your breath.

Give yourself at least a day of rest to recover

Rest days are crucial for building lean muscle tissue and preventing injury, so try not to work for the same muscle groups two days in a row.

Concentrate on learning the correct execution of each exercise

It is not how much weight you're lifting or how many repetitions you're doing. Performing each exercise correctly is vital. Worthwhile change takes time, so don’t miss out on the process.

Get ready the day before

Lay out your outfit, shoes, towel, a water bottle the night before. Doing so takes away your excuse of not wanting to train the next day.

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Favourite evoKNIT Short Sleeve Men's Training Tee. PHOTO: Puma
Favourite evoKNIT Short Sleeve Men's Training Tee. PHOTO: Puma

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driRelease 8" Men's Training Shorts. PHOTO: Puma

What is the best way to lower my body-fat percentage?

Do strength training

The more muscles you acquire, the lower your body fat percentage. Muscles are good conductors of fat burning. Muscle mass raises your metabolic rate while at rest, which reduces body fat percentage.

Have a healthy relationship with food

Food is fuel. Fuel your body with healthier food choices for it to function effectively. Eat more proteins to increase muscle mass, complex carbohydrates to help you focus, and higher energy levels. Good fats are essential for energy, vitamin absorption, hormone production, cell membrane integrity, and overall growth and development.

Cut down and progressively cut out sugary drinks and foods

Replace with water and healthier snacks such as celery and nuts. Sit to eat your meals, chew and enjoy the food. Doing so gives you time to use your tastebuds and senses and allows your body to digest and process the food, preventing you from overeating.

Be consistent with your training

If you manage to do only 10 minutes of training today, add 10 minutes more the next day. Again, balance is key to consistency and eliminating resentments.

Woman exercising on a fitness ball at home
A woman exercising with a fitness ball at home. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

How do I set up a mini home gym for weightlifting?

Your space at home and your fitness goals will determine what you can fit in. Be realistic. Add equipment according to your needs and progress.

i. Plan your storage for your equipment. Design your gym with minimal equipment, allowing space for safety and movement – weightlifting and stretching.

ii. Allow natural sunlight to stream into your home gym. Natural sunlight is a mood booster.

iii. Use portable speakers to set the mood. Plan a playlist of your favourite hits.

iv. Invest in a mat, dumbbells, barbells, and TRX.

v. And if you have more space, add an adjustable gym bench or fit ball.

vi. Install a full-length mirror to check your form, adding dimension to tight spaces.

vii. Add thera bands, kettlebells, and medicine balls as you progress along.

How do I prevent injuries during weightlifting, especially without the guidance of an instructor?

i. Listen to your body. Ask trained professionals for advice. Asking questions allows you to learn the most.

ii. Do not swing and lock your elbows, knees when executing your exercises.

iii. Muscle ache is ok; joint pain is a NO.

iv. Keep your movements basic, do not aim to be an acrobat when you are just getting started.

v. Rest is key.

vi. Do not compare your progress to others; you do not know their goals or story.

vii. Keep it short and simple.

viii. Progression is a step towards success!

More about My Gym Lab

My Gym Lab offers an alternative to a home gym for those with space restrictions. When you book a Lab, the space is yours for the time you booked.

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Yahoo Shopping Southeast Asia