A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO LIFTING WEIGHTS
*This post is sponsored by Adidas. I am an Adidas Ambassador.
Most of you guys will know by now that I’ve been working on my #PersonalBest journey for quite some time. If you’re new to my blog and don’t know what that hashtag means, basically I’m working on a mission to become a healthier and fitter human by throwing myself into new and exciting workouts and different forms of excercise/healthy food. So far I’ve given rock climbing a go, kicked butt in spin classes and taken things down a notch by enrolling in a pilates class. So many of you have joined me on this #PersonalBest adventure and it’s so exciting to see you guys getting involved and working with me on this mission. I’m not the fittest human in the world (nor do I claim to be) but I’m really trying my hardest to push myself to get up and get active. Trust me, getting out of the house and down to the gym doesn’t come all that easy to me (sometimes I just want to sit on the sofa with some tea and biscuits!) but I can guarantee that once I’ve finished my workout I always feel so much better for pushing myself to make the effort and get to work! I never thought I’d say this, but now I understand that exercise is healthy for not only the body, but the mind and soul too.
As part of my #PersonalBest journey, I decided to get my good friend (and fitness QUEEN) Zanna Van Dijk on board to teach me a thing or two about lifting weights. Whenever I go to the gym with Aslan I’m always envious of how he makes lifting weights look so easy! I’ve always wanted to give weight lifting a go but I’ve never been sure on where I should start and what exercises I should do, so that’s exactly why I decided to get in touch with Zanna and organise a trip to the fitness studio Evolve in Parsons Green. The idea of lifting weights was something that actually felt quite daunting to me, so I thought it was important that I get an expert involved to teach me how to do it properly. I was super scared of doing it wrong and ending up with a sore back or a torn muscle, but thankfully Zanna saved the day and showed me some really useful tips on how to get started and become stronger!
The first exercise that Zanna showed me is called an Arnold Press (named after Shwarzeneger himself of course). This exercise really helps to target the front and side of your shoulders and is great for strengthening your arms and core. This one is fairly easy because you’re able to sit down while you’re doing it. I used 4kg dumbbells which is a great place to start if you’re a beginner like me. Whilst holding a weight in each hand, extend your arms over the top of your head and twist them as you go, hold it for a second before coming all the way back down and pushing the weights together. Make sure your movements are slow and controlled and don’t forget to take your time whilst coming back down with the weights too. Zanna suggests that you do three sets of 10 reps of the Arnold Press exercise, but just do what you can and build yourself up over time.
This exercise is called a Single Arm Row and apparently it’s great for your posture For this one you’ll need to make sure that you have a bench handy and position yourself so that you’re half on and half off of the surface and make sure that your back is nice and straight. Using one hand, lift one of your 4kg weights up towards your body, hold it there for a second and then release. This exercise is great for your bicep but also works to pull your shoulders back (hence why it’s so good for your posture!) Try to do 8-10 reps on one arm before switching over to the other. I found this one surprisingly easy at first, but trust me when I say that they get a lot harder!
Wanna work that booty? This exercise is the one for you! The Goblet Squat focuses on the quads, hamstrings and glutes (basically your legs, thighs and butt!). I found this exercise quite difficult but what I like about it is that it works three areas of your body in one. To do a Goblet Squat you’ll need to hold the weight up to your chest and stand up, make sure that your legs are a shoulder width apart with your toes pointing slightly outwards. Now that you’re in position move your body down into a squat and as you come back up squeeze your butt cheeks together! Do 3 sets of 10 reps and your bum will thank you for it!
Again this exercise is great for your posture and it specifically targets your hamstrings and your glutes. I didn’t realise that hamstrings or glutes had anything to do with how you hold yourself, but targeting these areas actually helps to support your posture! To do this exercise you’ll need to hold a dumbbell in each hand whilst standing up straight. Once in position, take a nice big step back, stabilise yourself and then drop down so that both of your legs are creating a 90 degree angle, hold it for a second and then come back up. Make sure that your knee is as close to the floor without touching it and use your front heel to take the most of your weight and push yourself back up to a standing position. I ramped things up a notch and used 6kg in each hand for this exercise, but again just do what you’re comfortable with and build yourself up over time. Try to do 3 sets of 10 reps per leg if you can!
I found this last exercise quite tough so I’d have to say it’s my least favourite! This one is called a Plank Drag and you can amp things up by using your dumbbells or just do it with your arms if you’re not ready to tackle the weights. To do a Plank Drag you’ll need to position yourself into a plank (which in my opinion is tough in itself!) making sure that your back is nice and straight and your arms are a shoulder width apart. If you’re using weights, grab one of the dumbbells and pull it across to the opposite side. Make sure that you lock your core and don’t allow your hips to wobble, it’s important to keep your body as controlled as possible. If you’re doing this exercise without weights, you can do all the same moves as you would when using the dumbbells, but instead of picking one of those up simply use your arm to tap the floor on the opposite side. Again you should do 3 sets of 10 reps each side. This one is super tough and even Zanna described it as a ‘killer’ so if you’re giving this one a go be warned! It’s tough!
So those were the 5 beginner weight lifting moves. Huge thank you to Zanna for helping me to tackle something that I’ve wanted to try for a very long time! I actually really enjoyed these exercises and love that I’m on the road to being a stronger human! If you want to see some more advanced workouts make sure you check out Zanna’s YouTube channel, she really is a fitness QUEEN!!! Definitely make sure you watch the video that we filmed for my channel if you want to get a better understanding of how to do some of these moves. Let me know if you try out any of these exercises and don’t forget to use the hashtag #PersonalBest so that I can keep up to date on your progress!
GYM BAG INSPO 2017
I’m not one for cliche’s, but every time that the month of January rolls around there’s something about being able to wipe the slate clean and relish a fresh start that gets me excited to make positive changes in my life. You all know that I’ve been on my #PERSONALBEST journey for a number of months now and I’m really proud of how much my health and fitness has improved since I began my mission.
My primary goal for 2017 is to have a complete overhaul of my health and fitness and get serious about making this a long term commitment! Going to the gym is a little more exciting to me than it used to be and sometimes I actually LOOK FORWARD to trying new classes! (Who’d have thought!?) However, I’m only human and sometimes the thought of putting on my yoga pants and heading out the door into the cold London air fills me with nothing but dread. When the dread overcomes me, I find that putting on my favourite workout gear and most badass sneakers is enough motivation to get me back in the zone and ready to kick some butt!
I was on a mission to get a new gym bag, so I thought I’d share with you some that caught my eye during my search. Packing your water bottle and change of clothes into a bag that you adore might be a small and simple pleasure but let me tell you, it really makes a difference to my motivation! Let me know if you feel the same way and if you’ve got your eyes on any of these beautiful gym bags! I’d love to know which ones you’re loving. I went for number 08 if you’re curious!