If you are new to training, I agree that it can definitely be an intimating feeling seeing the complex looking machines in the gym and the rows of dumbbells, barbells and free weights. But I can assure you, once you know how to navigate each machine and make use of the free weights and equipment, they will become your best friend!
Not only does weight training help build muscle strength, it also increases your body’s resting metabolic rate, causing it to burn more calories throughout the day – more than any amount of cardio would!
Here are some fun little tips to remember when starting out strength training;
Don’t work the same muscle group two days in a row
Your muscles ideally need 48 hours to recover between weight session so it’s a good idea and advised to not train the same muscle group on two consecutive days. If you do all lower body weights on a Monday, aim for upper body the following day or have a rest day in between and do upper on a Wednesday. It is really up to you, but it’s just important not to over train the same muscles as this will lead to possible injury and tears.
Focus on Compound movements
There are isolated and compound movements and while isolated are great, compound are even better and should be used every time you train. By performing compound movements, you will not only build muscle faster but also build power and strength.
Examples of Compound movements (movements that use multiple muscle groups at once): Deadlifts, squats, lunges, bench press
Examples of isolated movements (movements that isolate and use one tiny muscle group): bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises
It is very important to have rest days to allow your muscles to recover. Weight training causes tiny tears in the muscles (tears are good) but only if you allow them time to heal and recover between workouts properly. Rest days are when the magic happens and when your muscles develop.
Don’t skip warm up
If you train first thing in the morning this is especially important. Spending 5 minutes doing something to warm your muscles up before beginning your workout. You definitely don’t want to hit the weights with cold muscles as this will result to injury.
Maintaining good form is super important
You could be lifting heavy and increasing your weight regularly as you get stronger, however maintaining a good form is the single most important thing when training as learning proper technique will make sure that you’re working the right muscles without creating strain. It is way more important to make sure you have got the perfect form when doing exercises, even if it means doing lighter weights until you feel comfortable going up.
Mix up your workout and keep challenging your muscles
Not only will you become bored with doing the same exercises and using the same equipment all of the time, your body will too and you won’t be testing and working your muscles out to their full potential. Try mixing things up by incorporating new equipment and new exercises into your workouts as well as monitoring your weight amounts and raise them as you get stronger! You gotta keep challenging those muscles.
Eat the right foods to fuel your body
There is soo much about diet and training that I could write about here but I will just keep it basic and simple for now..
If you are looking to look more toned and lean, then diet goes hand in hand with weight training..in fact, diet is probably the most important thing. Think eating lean proteins such as (turkey, chicken, eggs) and complex carbs (sweet potato, oats, rice) and healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil, flaxseed).
Cutting back on simple carbohydrate ie. foods like chocolate, sweets (basically processed food) as they are high in sugar and are not nutritionally dense to help you achieve your fitness goals.
Don’t overdo it
It is fantastic to have fitness goals and goals to aspire too, however, overdoing it isn’t going to get you anywhere. You’ll more than likely burn yourself out or even worse, you’ll lose motivation. Seeing the results you want to see can take many months of hard work and dedication!! Take rest days, listen to your body, and increase your weights accordingly and you will be on your way to your fitness goals in no time.