If you are new to fitness and an exercise routine, weights can be intimidating. But they shouldn't be. There are so many great benefits to strength training that outweigh the intimidation of starting. For instance, building muscle will help increase your metabolism! If you are eating well and building muscle, you could lose more weight than just cardio alone. Building muscle also helps increase bone density, something we naturally lose as we age. And girls, if you are worried about lifting weight and becoming big and bulky, don't worry. In order for that to happen, you would have to be very intentional about your diet, supplements, and amount of weight lifted. By lifting weights and eating well, you should build muscle that is lean and not bulky.
Now that you know some of the benefits of weight training (and that you won't look like a body builder) you may wonder where to start. If you belong to a gym, they will typically give you a tour of all the machines and equipment and make sure you know how to use it correctly. Some even offer a free session with a personal trainer (take it!).
If you can afford it, meet with a personal trainer so they can build a program that will help you reach the results you want. They will teach you the exercises to do, and adjust accordingly when you they workouts get too easy or boring for you.
If a personal trainer is not in the budget, check out the group fitness classes. This is where I found my love for strength training! These classes will likely be free with your gym membership, so get your money's worth and use them! When you go for the first time, introduce yourself to the instructor and let them know you are new to the class and need help getting set up. A good instructor will help set you up with the right amount of weight and watch your during the class to adjust your form if necessary (not to embarrass you, but to make sure you don't injure yourself).
If you are not ready to strength train in a gym setting, consider doing it in your own home. Try Beachbody on Demand and find a trainer and program you like, and build your confidence at home. If you don't have weights at home, looks for a program that uses your body weight instead of hand weights (like PiYo or Focus T25). Once you build your confidence at home, you may be ready to join a class at the gym or use their equipment without guidance.
If you are ready to get started with a program that builds muscle and incorporates cardio that you can do in your own home, but also want the accountability you'd get from a group, check out the Fight Like a Girl Challenge Group that starts in March. We will be doing Core de Force as a group, and this program uses no weights - just your body weight! All you need is the program.
I hope you give strength training a try, no matter which direction you go.