Building Your Body
Achieving your ideal body comes only after weeks of extreme dedication and hard work. You might commonly hear exercise and diet being the key to health, weight loss, and muscle building, but you may be unsure about the benefits of certain kinds of workouts. Beginning an exercise program can be difficult without the right facts. This article will give you the basic tools you will need to start your strength training regimen, and will supplement your goals to live a healthy, strong, and injury-free lifestyle.
While eating well and partaking in cardiovascular workouts are essential to living a balanced life, strength training has several benefits that have an enormous impact on one’s health. Maintaining a consistent weight training regimen, increases metabolic rate (number of calories burned), and enhances muscle fiber size, strength, and endurance. Strength training simultaneously decreases your chances of injury and resting blood pressure and heart rate (Cranky Fitness). Lastly, spending time with weight machines or dumbbells will ultimately lead you to the body you have always envisioned.
There are certain conditions of strength training that are important to be aware of before jumping into your program. Being aware of using too much weight too soon or not using enough weight is important as it will ultimately determine how much you benefit from your workout. Too much weight may lead to injury while using not enough weight will not elicit your desired results. Additionally, you should pay close attention to the speed with which you are moving through your repetitions, as lifting in a slow and controlled manner increases muscle fiber activation while decreases tissue trauma. Another vital yet often overlooked guideline is posture and form. Ensuring that you are using proper alignment when lifting free weights or using machines is essential to preventing injury (bodybuilding.com).
There are several “tricks of the trade” to pay special attention to when first starting with a strength training regimen.
- Complement with cardio and a balanced diet: these elements are equally as important to changing your body (about.com).
- Start-off easy: start with lighter weights and gradually increase them for each workout as you get more comfortable, strong, and confident in lifting weights.
- Mix it up: doing different workouts each time you workout or mixing up the order in which you do your exercises to “keep your muscles guessing,” (FitSugar).
- Hit all parts: ensure that your workout targets each of your main muscle groups at least once a week; upper body (chest, shoulders, triceps, lats, biceps), lower body (guadriceps, calves, hamstrings), and core (abdominals and lower back) (GetFitGuy). Do not selectively working out certain groups more than order in order to maintain balance within the body.
- Repeat until fatigued: repetitions should be performed until fatigue hits, yet before you start to loose proper form. In addition, one set is recommended for health gains while two sets are suggested for fitness gains, with eight to fifteen repetitions recommended per set (American College of Sports medicine).
- Utilize your rest days: working the same muscles in the gym everyday is counterintuitive to building your muscles; as they grow on your “rest days,” so do not cheat your body of the rest it deserves. Instead, try doing a different workout on your day off if you are still feeling energized.
Terri Walsh, a personal trainer in NYC states that, “The goal is not to torture yourself, but to allow your mind, body and life to catch up to, and get used to your new thinking. Too many changes all at once is harder on the psyche than most people will admit, and that in turn causes ‘relapses’.” Doing things in moderation, and really listening to your body are key aspects to beginning a weight training program. Realizing your abilities and addressing bodily pain is crucially important to maintaining the health of your body.
Whether you are brand new to weight lifting or you are just starting to get back into it, understanding the basic principles and techniques of strength training is essential to improving and maintaining your health. Sign up with a gym, buy free weights and use online or magazine resources, or attend fitness classes. Choose something that you will commit to, stick with it, and start changing your life today.