Friday, August 17, 2012

Why weight training? Want results? Add it into your training...

Weight Training - training with weights.  Many people are afraid of the weight's area at the gym.  It is a common fact.  I know when I train I am pretty much the only girl training in the weights section of most Fitness First gyms I go too.  Why? Because most women (and some men) still believe that killing themselves with cardio will give them the body they desire.


Cardio gets you cardiovascular fitter, by strengthening your heart and lungs. More blood flow to your body and it's organs.

Weight training will help you get stronger, build a strong core, stronger muscles, you will look leaner and also burn more bodyfat at REST. Yes people, burning more at rest.

Cardio and weight training work together to ensure you are fit, healthy and strong.

If your goal is to run marathons, then you will stick to training that will enable your body to run for long durations, this will include strength training (weights). You obviously don't have to do strength training to actually do a marathon but it will enhance your training.

Train for your goals. Swimmers, triathletes, runners all move differently and will adapt a training program to suit their needs.  But for most of us, we just want to be fit, healthy and maybe even feel good about your body.

Your body will adapt to any changes that you give it, but it is your head that stops you. The fear. Fear of  failure, falling over, embarrassing yourself stop so many people from achieving their goals.  Of course you aren't going to know exactly what to do in a weights area of the gym if you have never done weights before, your brain only knows what signals it has received from other training you have completed.  But you didn't know how to walk or talk at one point in your life, did you and how is that going for you now? You CAN achieve anything.

Keeping your bone density at a safe level you HAVE to do some form of resistance training, not running or cardio!!  Losing muscle will increase your risk of low bone density. No matter how much calcium you digest, your body stops laying down new bone in your 30's- you need to stimulate to lay down more -  muscles and tendons NEED to pull on the bones to be stimulated to produce more get the blood flowing through, regenerating the area, having healthy bones, it protects against falls and fractures as well improving balance and strength.  (falls and fractures aren't just for older people)!   Which promotes overall health and reduction of so many diseases!! Overall health people is our goal.

Do you want to have a fit and healthy body? More importantly do you want to have strong bones, strong muscles (don't think size, think strength) if you want to step forwards into your goals for fitness and well-being you will steam ahead with adding weight training to your programme 2-3times a week, easy.  

Quality over quantity.   Your body needs to recover to grow and adapt to changes.  Constantly pushing your body through its paces will slow down this process, you need to:-

FUEL - clean healthy foods, lots of fresh vegetables, lean meats, good fats and water!!
RECOVER - if you feel tired, run down, listen to your body. Eat well, sleep well, avoid late nights, avoid loads of alcohol, sugars, get a massage.... LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!
REST - full day rest one day a week MINIMUM (no active recovery)

Don't compare yourself to how others are training unless you know exactly what they are training for and where in the scheme of things they are up too! They probably have a different goal than you or are at a different achievement process, or they could be over training if they are doing like 10 classes a week!


I love a good circuit weights session when I really want to ramp up my heart rate and get some solid training in I will do super-sets and work opposing muscle groups (biceps/triceps) and then through in burpees or jump squats to increase the intensity.   Even when I am training a certain body part with weights I am in and out of the gym in 45mins. You don't have to spend hours on training, quality versus quantity!

So how to get started? Some gyms have great deals for PT so you can have a few sessions and get comfortable with the basics. Pump classes will teach you a few simple lifting techniques which you can practice on your own in the gym - you have to start somewhere!  

I love (bodybuilding site) they are so informative and you can really find out about training, read easy articles to get you started.  Check out this article!

Aim for 2 full body weight training sessions a week to get you started.... or you can split the training into upper/lower.  This is better if you are time conscious.  When the weights get lighter, put them up! You can do it!

My favourite splits are

Day 1 - Legs & core - squats, walking lunges, step ups, calf raises, deadlifts - warm up on bike or treadmill, do 1 warm up set lighter weights and then 3 sets of each exercise with 10-12reps.

I add core exercises in between sets ie
walking lunges
plank hold for a minute
repeat this 2-3 times
step ups (with handweights if you have strong balance)
calf raises
side plank holds each side 30 seconds

When you are doing your leg exercises with free weights this is working your core as your body has to stabilise to complete the exercise.  This is why I recommend you don't use machines when you first start out! Learn how to train your body and then incorporate these machines for a more isolated workout.

Day 2 - Upper Body - chest press on swiss ball, seated row, shoulder press, lat pulldowns, pushups, tricep dips, back extensions.

I would mix up the exercises something like this:
chest press on ball
alternate with seated row - complete sets and then do
Lat pulldowns
Shoulder press
Tricep dips

Is the weight too light? My rule of thumb is if the last 2-3 reps you cannot feel the burn, it is too light, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO GO UP, that is how you get results otherwise you are not challenging your muscles!!

If you wanted to do three days on the third day you can mix up the two upper lower, something like this

Day 3
chest press on ball
walking lunges
lat pulldown
step ups (with handweights)
tricep dips
step ups

Add one or two cardio/high intensity training days and you are done for the week!

Other reasons why weight lifting is good for you... read this article!

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