While dieting does help you in weight loss, exercise and weight training are an integral part of the weight loss process as well.
What most people fail to understand is that your weight loss journey should be focused on living a healthier life. This means losing weight should not weaken your muscles or make you weaker. Weight and strength training ensures that while you lose weight, you do not compromise your strength and physical well-being.
Weight and strength training can have multiple benefits from weight loss to giving your body a perfect summer shape. It increases your bone density, helps you build a stronger heart, improves blood flow, and improves your mood and self-confidence.
Weight training is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. You have to commit yourself and keep going.
Today we are going to discuss exactly how to get started with weight and strength training.
But before we take our first step, let’s first understand the basic difference between weight and strength training.
Strength training is a term used to describe any exercise which uses some form of resistance to build muscle.
In strength training, you create that resistance and put your muscles to work by using hand-held weights, weight machines, resistance bands, resistance balls and even your own body.
Pilates and yoga classes are two examples of strength-training programs that use body weight to strengthen bones and muscles.
Weight training is a type of strength training that uses free weight or weight machines for resistance that helps strengthen your bones and muscles. It also helps in toning up your muscle.
It doesn’t require long gym sessions to get results. Only 20 to 30 minutes of weight training two to three times a week will help you reach your goal.
Now that you understand the basic difference between strength and weight training, it’s time to see exactly how we are going to start our strength and weight training.
1. Identify the type of training
Weight and strength programs can be customized to achieve various objectives. You may want to lose weight, build those perfect six-packs, build muscle, get lean, or even strengthen your legs.
Before you take the plunge, you need to understand your purpose. Once you have determined your training program, you can start your training.
Here are some types of training options that will help you achieve your different fitness objectives:
Objective: Prepares body for tough conditions
This training program exposes you to exercises that include lifting heavy things and throwing heavy things, which can be beneficial in building strength of the muscle.
It is the perfect course if you’re looking to climb tough terrains, go mountain climbing, or do all endurance tasks that require every aspect of fitness.
Objective: Helps in burning fat and sculpts a lean body
Circuit training is fast-paced training that includes a number of training exercises in quick succession, usually lifting a light amount of weight for a high number of repetitions.
For example, doing 20 bench presses, 20 squats and shoulder presses with little or no rest in between.
Objective: Helps gain core strength and increase flexibility
Bodyweight training uses weight of the body as the resistance to build core strength of the muscle. This type of training includes exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, and dips.
Objective: Increase stamina and endurance
Isometric weight training is when you hold a weight in a certain position for a set period of time. This kind of training is meant to increase your stamina and can help you hold positions for an extended period. For example, you could hold a dumbbell over your head for one minute.
2. Make a game plan for your training program
Research shows that when you have a plan, your chance of achieving success is 80% higher. A game plan serves as a roadmap that leads you to success.
This means that you should have a plan before going to the gym or you will walk aimlessly from machine to machine.
For a beginner, it is advised to choose a full body routine workout that you can do three times a week with a full day of rest in between.
Here’s a quick overview of the amount of sets and reps that you should do to have an actual result on your fitness:
- To build super dense muscle and strength, do reps in the 1-5 range
- To build equal amounts of muscular endurance and muscular strength, do reps in the 6-12 range
- To build muscular size and endurance, do 12 reps
Sample of how full bodyweight workout program look like
Feet shoulder width apart, keep your chest up; push your bottom out, bend your knees.
Start with a closer, underhand grip and progress to a wider, overhand grip.
Hold the bottom of the squat position against a wall.
Brace your core and lower yourself before you push up again.
With an underhand grip, pull your chest up until it touches the bar.
Parallel bar dips
Lean forward and lower yourself to 90 degrees before pushing back up.
Hanging knee raises
Raise your knees up to your torso while flexing your abs and lower yourself.
Keep your torso straight, brace your stomach and don’t let your hips sag.
3. Focus on forms
People who are new to the gym always have trouble with their form especially when they are performing movements like squats and deadlifts. Having proper posture and technique is crucial to ensure that the intended muscle group is targeted in each exercise.
Before you push the accelerator on your gym routine, work on your form, and not weight training or reps.
Below are few tips that can help you improve your form:
- Give yourself 1-2 minutes in between rep sets to make sure you are maintaining proper form while you exercise. Lighten your weight if you feel yourself struggling.
- Look around at local strength and conditioning gyms and see if you could hire a coach for one or two sessions just to go over the basic movements.
4. Be consistent with your training.
You have to be consistent if you want to see the most gain or improvements in your training. Acquiring fitness is a short-term process but it can take at least a year and a half of consistent training to become race fit.
Make training a lifetime habit in order to see long-term results.
5. How much weight should you lift?
This question is typically common among beginners. So, here is the short answer:
You should always lift the maximum amount of weight that allows you to complete all of your reps in all of your sets of a given exercise. And remember once that weight becomes too easy for you, increase it. That’s it.
6. Have the right amount of rest
When you are working out in a gym you are breaking apart your muscle fiber. When you are out of the gym, you are healing and getting stronger. So, it is important to take rest.
Each muscle group takes at least 48-72 hours to fully repair following an intense workout, so this means that each muscle group should be attacked one or two times per week at most.
Remember if you aren’t resting, you aren’t growing.
7. Enhance your strength and power by changing your fuel
Just like a race car needs special fuel to reach maximum speed, your body requires a unique mixture of fuel to perform at its best.
You need to give yourself 1-2g of protein per pound of body weight if you want to grow, along with 1-3g of complex carbohydrates per pound of body weight and plenty of healthy fats.
So before embarking on your muscle building journey, you need to first outline your upcoming diet to make sure that you are giving your muscle everything they need to grow as quickly as possible.