By Naomi Rabon, NW Fitness Team Trainer

When you were a kid, your parents may have enrolled you in soccer, football, softball, swim lessons, dance classes, or some other activity or team sport. On your first day, no one would have expected you to step foot on a soccer field or into a ballet studio and just know how to score a goal or execute a perfect plie, pirouette or grand jete.


Even as an adult, if you wanted to learn how to play classical guitar, what would you do? You might first enroll in guitar lessons and likely wouldn’t expect to start really knowing how to move your fingers comfortably up and down the strings and neck of the guitar until you’d been at it for a year or two, or maybe even longer. Developing calluses, learning to read music, learning how much pressure to apply to the strings, figuring out how to position your fingers for specific notes and chords, etc.

So why is it that so many people think they should be able to just waltz into a gym, or buy a few pieces of home gym equipment, and start ripping out reps and sets like they were born knowing how to lift weights? From my experience training clients, most people are shocked and get so disappointed when they struggle with exercises after only being at it for 2-3 weeks.

Or even during an initial orientation, almost everyone seems to feel the need to give me some kind of disclaimer warning me that they are really out of shape, or have no upper body strength or aren’t very coordinated or stable. That’s why you’re coming to see me, right?


Seriously, though, if you haven’t been working out, or have never worked out, there is no reason whatsoever why you should be in shape or in peak condition or have upper body strength. With some genetically gifted exceptions, we were not born with these attributes. Strength, fitness, endurance and conditioning is developed with targeted, specific, intentional nurturing over a very long period of time comprised of consistent, correct weight-bearing, resistance exercises several times per week on a regular basis.

As with anything else in life you attempt, you won’t get good at working out, or become an “expert weight-lifter,” unless you practice, practice, practice. Here are some things you can do:

1. Learn good form There are many different ways you can learn how to execute an exercise with proper form, such as watching video tutorials from reputable sources (Nicole has a number of videos that cover the wrong and right way to conduct exercises in her video library), video yourself doing an exercise and then watch it to see what you may be doing incorrectly, or if you feel comfortable doing so you can post your video in the Nicole Wilkins Facebook Community and one of us can critique it for you. You can also hire a trainer or coach to teach you proper form, which brings me to my next point.

2. Hire a reliable, knowledgeable trainer or coach Football players, professional bodybuilders, MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters, distance runners and other amateur and professional athletes have all hired a coach a one point, or throughout, their athletic careers. Even athletes who don’t have high ambitions or don’t necessarily plan on competing still often hire coaches to help them reach their goals, make sure they are doing the right things for what they want to achieve and in the safest way possible to avoid injury. When you are conducting weight-lifting exercises, you are involving both heavy weights and body mechanics (a recipe for disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing). It seems like a smart idea to hire someone who can teach you the right way to move your body when handling heavy weights, and also what movements to avoid to minimize risk of injury.

3. If something is hard for you do to, stop avoiding it To get better and stronger at doing pushups or pullups, guess what you should do? Yep, more pushups and pullups (yay!). Or at least stop avoiding them because they make you feel weak. It is ironic how in order to get stronger you have to do things that make you feel super weak, right? You know what though? You won’t get better at doing them if you don’t do them.

4. Accept where you are in your journey Try not to get frustrated or discouraged or down on yourself if you are just starting out, or if you are a year or two into your journey and still don’t feel like you know what you’re doing. I don’t think I really felt like I knew what I was doing until about 3 years after I started lifting, then into my 5th year of lifting I really had a breakthrough where I finally felt really comfortable with my workouts, body awareness, form, strength, pain tolerance, grip strength, etc. Five years! There are definitely baby steps when learning the world of weight lifting and you will have breakthroughs and “ah-ha” moments along the way. They just won’t likely come as quickly as you want them to (does anything fitness related ever come fast enough?).

5. BE PATIENT! It takes time – I mean like years – to get really good at anything. And with weight lifting, you are looking at developing so many things mentally, emotionally and physically to get to a point where you are so comfortable lifting heavy weights as if you’ve known how to do it all your life. The body mechanics and mental fortitude alone are quite a maturing process. This takes a long time to develop, not to mention tolerating and pushing through pain thresholds and building good, solid quality strength over time.

Remember that we weren’t born knowing how to lift weights. Everyone who has ever participated in weight lifting as a hobby, lifestyle or profession had to start somewhere and had to learn along the way. You may not be as far along on your journey as some people who’ve been at it for longer, but you may be way ahead of others who haven’t even started yet. Accept where you are – your movements, your strength, your body awareness, body mechanics and exercise form – and KEEP GOING! Think of how good you’ll be at it ten years from now!

Tip Me Tuesday: Feed Your Physique
Tip Me Tuesday: Change Your Ways
Tip Me Tuesday: Sustainability
Tip Me Tuesday: Resistance Is Key
Tip Me Tuesday: Reaching Out, Reflecting In

Naomi-lighterBIOOne of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.

Go here to find out more about training with the NW Fitness Training Team!