Tag Archives: weight lifting

5 Tips for Safe Strength Training

Temperatures are dropping, days are getting shorter and working out in the fresh air is loosing some of its appeal.  When the weather turns, more people turn to the gym to keep their routine going.  Everyone can benefit from lifting weights but increasing the amount of time you spend strength training can also increase your risk of injury.  Here are 4 tips to make sure you’re safe strength trainingpracticing safe strength training to stay injury free all winter long.

Find a coach.  One of the best ways to ensure safe strength training is to use a coach or trainer.  Partnering with a certified professional who will help you learn the proper way to perform movements while pushing you to try new things is the best thing you can do to protect yourself.

Take it slow.  If you choose not to work with a coach, resist the urge to dive in head first.  Take a little bit of time to educate yourself on what each muscle group does and what exercises are the best to work on making it stronger.  Get comfortable with movements before increasing weight, making sure you’re performing each one properly for every repetition.

Take it seriously.  Just because your passion is running and not lifting weights doesn’t mean hitting the gym should be taken lightly.  Warming up and cooling down are important parts of any workout, especially when you’re pushing muscles to do something new or hard.  Safe strength training means showing those days respect and putting in the time to treat your body well.

Mix it up.  A big part of safe strength training is trying new things regularly.  When you give your body a new challenge, it’s forced to constantly respond, burning calories and getting stronger every workout.  Changing up your routine also prevents overuse injuries that come from performing an exercise to excess without a break.

Recover.  Foam roll, stretch and mobilize after each workout.  Safe strength training includes being ready for the next day’s workout.  Listen to your body and take a day off or try something new when you need to.

Use these five tips for safe strength training to keep your gains on track without risk of being derailed by an injury this winter.

Coach Meredith

Yes, Women Should Lift Heavy Weights

Women should lift heavy weights. 

It’s true.  Every woman can benefit from lifting women should liftweights.  Get together with a fitness professional to help ease gym anxieties and learn how to work with bars, plates and dumbbells so you can reap these five awesome benefits of lifting heavy weights.

1.  Build muscle faster.  Moving serious pounds builds muscle faster than using little weights, and that means more definition.  Doing 8-12 reps with a heavier weight will be more effective and time efficient than 50 reps of a very light weight.  The best part?  There’s no reason to be afraid you might ‘bulk up’ or ‘get big’.  Because women have low testosterone levels, their muscles aren’t programmed to get huge.  Unless you’re following a seriously tough Olympic strength training system and eating a very strict diet, ladies have nothing to worry about.

2.  Increase bone density and decrease risk of osteoporosis.  While any weight bearing activity can aid in maintaining bone strength and density, studies have shown women should lift weights to help prevent bone fractures and possibly even build new bone.  Strength training also improves balance and coordination which means you’re less likely to fall and get hurt.

women should lift3.  Burn more calories.  Muscle burns more calories than fat, but there’s more to it than simply having more of one than the other.  Women should lift heavy weights because it tears the working muscles down.  The body has to work for hours after you finish a workout to repair those muscles, making your muscles more defined and burning calories all day long.  The elliptical?  Not so much.

4.  Prevent injury.  Strengthening the muscles around joints gives those joints more support.  When they have support, joints are steadier and stronger, making them less likely to become hurt.  Strength training also moves joints through a full range of motion, keeping them lubricated and loose.  Cardio can’t always do that.

5.  Have more energy and reduce stress.  Working out is a great stress reliever, add in some weights you can move around and it’s an even better one.  Women will also get an energy boost after a workout, from the increased oxygen expenditure (EPOC) that’s part of your body’s post-session recovery.  A weight lifting session will also make you feel awesome about yourself, giving you confidence and something you can definitely be proud of.

There are five wonderful reasons women should lift heavy weights, but there are plenty more.  Find your motivation, get together with a fitness professional and start getting stronger today!

Want help starting or updating your weight lifting routine?  Ask us!

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!