A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post talking about my general lack of knowledge, and courage for that matter, of the world of weight lifting. I talked about how daunting it seems to establish a routine, getting used to the equipment, and just not looking like an idiot. I wanted to take a few moments today to talk about my experiences thus far.

Since talking about it, I’ve completed four sessions of weight lifting. I should probably use the term session loosely, because it really wasn’t very formal, or really very much work at all. But I did do some pretty hard work. My strategy the first two days was simple, pick a few machines that focused on my upper body, and roll with it. To start, I selected the Seated Press, Seated Pull Down, Seated Row, and Seated Shoulder Press. I made sure to look at the machine, read the description and learn how to get it set up properly. I then took a few reps to figure out a comfortable weight, and then set to work. In all, it probably took me 15 minutes to complete. I can’t tell you how horribly sore I was the next day.

I think my strategy to start out slow has worked pretty well. I am now up to six machines, adding in a back extension workout and the strange ab-working machine that is awkward.. I have an idea of how much weight each machine should be set to make the last few reps of each set be just enough.  I feel like it is working too, or at least that I am more sore than before I started. Simplifying the routine made it manageable. I didn’t need any spreadsheets, or fancy apps on my phone. Reducing it down just made it more accessible to get started.

I’m going to harp on this concept a little bit, because I really think it applies to working out in general. Reducing the complexities, removing the confusion, the mystery, and the mental blockage of workout routines can make a world of difference. I feel like people can get caught up pretty easily with all of the literature, the magazine articles and diet plans. Everything is so complex and difficult. There really is no reason for it if you are just getting started. Just put your shoes on, and go for a run. Walk up to that fancy machine, read the guide printed on it, and lift some weights. Start slow, and add a machine every so often. It doesn’t need to be more complex than that. That’s what I learned on Tuesday, just start doing it.

It brings me back to an old saying that a computer science professor ingrained in us throughout college: Keep it simple stupid. The more complex the solution, the more chance it will fail. Keep it basic.