Lift’s Top Ten Training Tips
Start each week with a game plan.
So many people skip going to gym out of the frustration that once they get there they do not know what to do. This is a problem that has a simple solution. Sit down Sunday morning and write down in your calendar what activity you plan to do on which days. For instance, Monday is chest and triceps, Tuesday is legs and so on. Once you have a game plan, you can just walk into your training facility on a mission to train as hard as you can without wondering where to go next.
Build your strength to build your health.
Men typically love weight training and women are usually frightened of it. Only if every woman knew all the benefits and that she wouldn’t be walking around looking like Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger, then maybe everyone would take advantage of this wonderful sport. Weight lifting can lower cholesterol triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Plus, it’s a natural anti-depressant and anti-anxiety remedy. As if it can get any better, there is still more. Weight lifting not only takes care of you internally, but can make you look pretty darn good externally. Muscle shapes the body and burns fat long term. It’s like putting a huge log in a fire that will burn for days on end. Muscle is that log that will burn calories and fat for days on end. On a final note, this is a true case of “use it or lose it”. As we age, sarcopenia, the loss of 1% muslce mass per year after the age of 30, sets in lowering our metabolism due to the loss of muscle. You could lose 20% muscle mass by the age of 50 if a sedentary lifestyle in not changed.
Expand your lungs.
For those who do love weight training, cardio is easy to forget about. No matter what your goals are, gaining weight or maintaining weight, everyone should attempt to do 2 days of cardio per week for 20-30 minutes at a sustained target heart rate. For health purposes, you heart is a muscle too and it’s needs some TLC just like any other muscle in your body. Cardio increases stroke volume, the amount of blood the heart pumps per beat. Anything that can make your heart more efficient is worth a little bit of your time.
Goals, goals, and more goals.
How do you know where you should be in your fitness regimen if you don’t know where you are going? Most people start training to just lose weight. We need to get more specific than that. Do you want to lose 5 lbs in 2 weeks or would you rather lose 5% body fat in two weeks? Yes, there is a difference, but even that is not enough. Those are two short term goals. You still want to identify another intermediate goal and long term goal. Once these goals are determined, write them down on your calendar, put it up on the fridge, set an alarm on your computer, and tell everyone about it. Do all that you can to make a commitment to these goals. There should be no excuse to say, ” If it gets too hard I can just forget about it.” If you abandon these goals then you are also abandoning something that you really wanted for yourself in which you could easily obtain.
Quench your thirst.
Feel sluggish, lethargic, hungry, or achy? Chances are you do not drink enough water. Most people aim for 1 gallon a day. Sounds like a lot, but even if you don’t finish the gallon you will still drink more than the average person. Drinking this much water will help curb hunger pangs that occur from dehydration and give you more energy and endurance for your workouts. What’s the best way to get all of your H2O in each day? Start early. I have 16 oz first thing in the morning with juice of half a lemon and a few drops of stevia. It’s so quenching and invigorating and the perfect way to start my day.
It’s so much easier to just leave the gym after a hard training session; however, stretching can help you build muscle, speed recovery, and reduce the risks of injury. Focus on stretching for 10-15 minutes after a workout and hold each stretch for a series of 15-30 seconds. Each stretch should be held in a place of slight discomfort and with each session attempt to deepen the stretch slightly more than the last session. Keep in mind it is best to stretch warm muscles. Prolonged stretching before a training session or competition can lead to a temporarily slowed muscle activation that may potentially make you feel weaker.
You must find a happy medium between being consistently active and having optimal rest for recovery. Once you start seeing results, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the intensity of accomplishment. For some reason, we tend to think if we do more of something good it can only get better. This is the wrong approach to take in your training. Recovery is the time your muscles and joints heal and rebuild. When we train, micro tears within the muscle occurs in result to minor trauma. These tears heal to form tighter, leaner, fuller muscles. For this reason, no one should train the same muscles consecutively. Instead, give each muscle trained 48 to 72 hours of rest before training those muscles again. Over-training can lead to mood swings, irritability, lack of appetite, increased resting heart rate, constipation, insomnia, chronic fatigue, and achy muscles and joints.
Tighten those abs!
I cannot stress this enough and I often refer to my earlier days as a beginner. Next time you train, try focusing on your breathing and holding your abs tight (not sucking in) while you lift or do your cardio. This is my main approach to training my abs currently; however, as a beginner I thought it was necessary to train my abs every day with 200-400 crunches in the morning and at night (over training). I have more definition in my abs now training them only once or twice a week then I did when I trained abs every day( this is also thanks to my clean diet). So hold those abs tight while you are benching, rowing, squatting, and running and you will be amazed. Not only will your abs feel tighter, but this will also insure proper alignment and stability to prevent injury. Brittany Spears can keep her thousands of crunches a day.
Make the commitment.
Do not make excuses for a busy lifestyle. I train moms, dads,business owners, lawyers, doctors, and wide variety of individuals whose lifestyles may limit them in their training. Still, these people do not look at fitness as an option, but a way of life and so they make the proper adjustments to fit training into their busy hectic schedules. For many people, the easiest solution is to train first thing in the morning that way nothing can interfere. Also, if you travel or cannot get to the gym first thing in the morning, keep a set of resistance bands, light weights, and a stability ball on hand for a quick at home or on the road work out. There are truly no excuses.
Keep it interesting, challenging, and fun.
There are so many ways to make your fitness training enjoyable and interesting. Change your goals, scenery, order of exercises, intensity and training splits. Never let yourself plateau or get stuck doing the same thing over and over again. That may mean you take that next step up on the weight stack or you change your cardio from the elliptical to running on the treadmill. Whatever it may be, remember to try the things that are truly challenging for you and then conquer them! I also really enjoy training with my husband and or a friend for a new twist. If you train with a buddy, make sure your determination and willingness to work are similar. Once you find a good match, the support and external motivation is a winning key for getting anyone out of a slump.