Featuring videos from a YouTube fitness fave, Madfit
I started casually gyming in college. By “casual” I mean alternately leeching off of my parents’ memberships with my sisters, of course. With two other eager (albeit non-paying) gym-goers to rotate turns with, my chance to clock in some exercise would come around once every couple of weeks. Thirty minutes on the treadmill. Ten minutes on the floor. A couple of rounds on the machines if I was feeling fancy. Rinse, repeat.
My understanding of what it meant to be fit was shaped by the gym and its endless rows of equipment.
I didn’t realize it then, but the gym's layout and structure contributed to my perception of who certain exercises were made for. Women flocked to the group classes on the second floor, mothers and their teen daughters gracefully catapulting their arms and jumping atop their step boards. Light dumbbells lined the full-bleed mirrors. Two medicine balls sat pretty beside the mats.
Meanwhile, the third story was where the real lifting happened. The double-digit weights, barbells and heavy-duty machinery were cooped up on the third floor, an area that seemed to be reserved for gym bros above 200 pounds. Strictly speaking, there were no guidelines about who could use what. But rules don’t have to be committed to writing to feel real.
Thankfully, whether intentionally or otherwise, we're learning to challenge those notions. In these times, working out is an individual experience—most especially since we’re doing them alone at home. Your workout, no matter what you want it to look and feel like, is between you and your computer screen.
If you’re just about to pick up a pair of dumbbells for the first time, remember to ease yourself into it. Start small and unassuming like a pair of three- or five-pounders. Heck, if you don’t have actual weights at home, you can make do with rice-filled jars or cans of soup in the beginning. From there, feel free to work your way up gradually. And don’t worry, you won’t bulk up unless you actually intend to!
I’m no expert, but when friends ask for toning pointers, Madfit on YouTube is a frequent recommendation. Maddie’s routines are simple enough for first-timers to keep up with, but challenging enough to make me break a sweat. Most of them are between 10 to 20 minutes, so they can be compounded with other workout videos, too. It’s the sweet spot for weighted exercise videos, and over a year later, I still circle back to her uploads.
Get you started on your journey with weights with these beginner-friendly exercise videos!
P.S. Use lighter weights if 15 and 25-pound dumbbells are too heavy!
Full Body Tone
Core tight, chest out, muscles engaged. Also, remember to get ample rest between the days you work with weights. Happy lifting!
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver