Friday, September 17, 2010

The Importance of weight training

The Importance of Weight Training
                Good Morning Everyone! Yesterday I had an very intense work out that encompassed all the basics of exercise.. cardio, strength training, stretching, etc. and as I looked around the gym I realized that there were many other people there who simply did the same machines for a hour and considered themselves done. During my time in the gym, I try to understand what exercises will be the most efficient uses of my time. I hardly got any results when I was doing my own cardio machine routine. When I started circuit training and splitting my time between cardio and lifting..I saw amazing results in my muscle mass, energy, and stamina. Therefore, I can only logically come to the conclusion that weight training/ resistance training is very important to overall fitness!
                Now I understand that there are a few issues that most people run into when they contemplating started a weight training routine. Many people that I have trained or that have been in the group I am training with have had many questions. I thought that I would use today's blog to field some of these common questions and concerns.. so let's get started!
•1.       I don't want to get bulky - Now obviously this is a concern I get mostly from women because they associate lifting weights with muscle-y bodybuilding men who can't touch their own shoulders because they are simply too buff. (Which is too much by the way.. if you ask me) This could not be further from the truth. Women's bodies are not created to hold heavy muscle tissue the way a man's body is. When a woman starts a strong weight lifting routine they will simply gain strength, boost Metabolism, and build lean muscle. It is virtually impossible for a women to get bulky muscle unless they are using supplements or spending hours upon hours lifting heavy weight every day. TIP: For men - Try Increasing the weight you lift on every set of exercises while lowering the amount of reps to build strong muscle. For women- try a medium weight (Any weight you lift, bench, or curl should be challenging but doable..for beginners I suggest 10 pounds dumbbells for most exercises) and try to do at least 15-20 reps every time..more reps with a medium weight helps to build lean muscle and not bulk.

•2.       I don't want to hurt myself - It is true that lifting is its own beast in a sense. It can prove to be dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. This is why I suggest that you don't undertake any weight lifting routine without some preliminary consultation first and make sure there is always someone there to spot you. There is a certain form for lifting and if it is done incorrectly you can hurt yourself and slow your results. TIP: If you don't have a personal trainer readily available (please sense the sarcasm) then think about asking an employee at your gym if they can show you a few exercises, spot you, or watch your form. Also, for those who are very inexperienced.. try taking a toning class! Low weights with an instructor showing you exactly what you should be doing. These are all stepping stones to learning the proper and efficient technique! Always make sure that if you are lifting that you have someone, whether it be a friend, trainer, gym employee, or friendly gym go-er to spot you! It is common gym practice to spot people who need don't feel weird asking someone.

•3.       Why does lifting help? - Lifting strengthens your muscles and causes more muscle tissue to be present in your body. More calories are burned in your body to sustain muscle then it does to sustain fat. This means that your metabolism (the rate at which your body uses energy) will speed up to burn energy faster to use the calories to sustain your muscle.

•4.       I am in great shape but lifting still makes me sore..why? This question is one that plagues even myself.. I have been lifting steadily for over 6 months now and I still have different body parts sore every day because of it. I am going to explain why people get sore.. and stay with me here because it sounds a little strange. When you make your muscles work hard you are actually essentially breaking them down and tearing them apart (sounds gross I know..why would you want to do that to yourself? right?) However, strength training and lifting tear these muscles down and throughout the next 48 hours your body does this amazing thing called "adapting." You body repairs the torn muscle and actually repairs it in a way that makes it stronger and more able to withstand intense work. This system of breaking down and repair is what strengthens your muscles but unfortunately the "repair" process means soreness. TIP: Make sure to have some source of protein both before and after your work out.. if you don't want to be as intense as drinking protein supplements.. try a handful of nuts or look up a list of protein rich foods that you might like and are easily thrown in your gym bag.  Protein and plenty of water help muscles repair faster.

Please remember that while some people get really into lifting.. that doesn't mean that you have to be a serious body builder to get results and appreciate it. Resistance training or 30 minutes of weight training in a day can be enough to build muscle and raise metabolism. You don't even have to use weights starting out.. many people have seen success using simply their body weight as resistance (Dips, push ups, etc.) Remember try something new and it could really pay off!!

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