Tag Archives: lifting weights

Strength Training Basics

The key to any strength training program is knowing what your goals are.  Strength training uses a variety of resistance techniques to achieve any number of goals, and your routine will vary greatly based on what your goals happen to be.  Weight training is a great way to burn fat and gain muscle no matter what your age, but it becomes especially important as we get older.

Muscles burn twice as many calories as fats do, so building muscle is a great way to enhance your metabolism and burn more calories every day.  When setting out to gain muscle and lose fat, it’s important to have a basic idea of what kind of routine you need to use to reach your specific goals.  There are lots of options for strength training equipment available, and you might be surprised how much you can do with just your own body weight.  Resistance bands, machines, free weights, and medicine balls are all other good choices for building muscles.  Picking a method for your training regimen has to be based on what your ultimate goal is.

If your goal is to ‘tone up’, you want to decrease body fat while simultaneously increasing muscle definition without busting out of your t-shirt.  In contract, those who want to buy bigger t-shirts for their biceps are trying to ‘bulk up’.  The average person is not interested in bulking up, lifting very heavy weights for a few reps every day, coupled with the strict diet required for reaching body building goals can really get in the way of day to day life.  That being said, everyone should lift heavy weights.

That may sound like a contradiction, but what you and I think of as heavy is a walk in the park to someone who body builds, just check out the Olympic records!  When your muscle becomes fatigued, it tears a little bit.  The body’s effort to repair these tears is what makes you sore and helps those muscle burn calories that take those unwanted pounds off.  Lifting light weights will get you results, if you have the time to do enough repetitions to fatigue your muscle.  You might have to do 100 reps with a 5lb weight to feel a little burn, but only 12 with a fifteen pound dumbbell.  Our time is valuable, so cutting down the reps by increasing the weight you lift will keep your workout moving along.

Whether we like it or not, muscle mass decreases with age.  It’s important to replace that muscle as we age regardless of what type of weight you’re lifting or how much time you spend doing it, as long as the muscles get tired.  Strength training of any type is also going to help keep bones dense, making them less likely to break and aiding in the prevention of osteoporosis.  Building muscle can also help with balance, making dangerous falls less likely to occur.

Now you have an idea of what you’re getting with a strength training routine, so go get started!  Have questions?  Want help?  Ask us!  Info@FitNicePT.com.

Remember These Five Workout Tips

Choosing to embark on a fitness journey can be intimidating.  Getting and staying in shape takes time, energy and plenty of motivation.  Setting goals is easy, actually getting them is challenging.  Make sure any fitness goal you set is realistic, by achieving each goal you’ll stay motivated and see better results.  Seeing results is the best way to stay excited about hitting the gym, and preventing injuries is super important, so before you head out, here are five things you should be sure you include in your workout.

Warm up.  Getting loosened up prepares your body for a serious workout by increasing heart rate, range of motion and circulation.  This decreases the risk for injury and sets your muscles up to do some heavy lifting.

Proper technique.  Invest in a couple of sessions with a trainer or coach to learn the correct form and appropriate weight to use for exercises.  Learning proper technique is the key to preventing injury and seeing gains in strength.

Use heavy weights.  Lifting weights is wonderful, lofting heavy weights is even better.  To burn fat, metabolic rate has to increase.  A pound of muscle burns twice as many calories as a pound of fat, which will help speed up metabolism.  To ensure muscle growth, make sure you are using enough weight, if you can easily do fifteen repetitions, time to increase the weight.

Steer clear of the machines.  There are lots of strength machines in the gym, and while they look fun and exciting, they are bad news.  The majority of machines force your joints into unnatural positions, and isolate single muscles, which is not functional.  The goal of strength training is to make everyday activities easier, so stick with full body exercises like squats, deadlifts and pull-ups.

Mix it up.  Change your workout regularly by taking a group class once a week, seeing a trainer, or do something outside every now and then.  Trying something new prevents workout boredom and overtraining while continuing to challenge muscles and build strength.

Now you know what to avoid, so find a professional and get started!