You are ready to commit seriously to strength training to benefit your health and wellbeing, but where do you begin? With all of the sites, ads, videos, and books out there, we are surrounded by conflicting information about how to get the results that we want. The key is to realize that one size does NOT fit all with regard to strength training, and you need to begin by looking at where you are and what you want to be able to do.
Building a program around your own body’s needs is the only way to meet your goals, so you must begin by taking a look at where you are to see what steps to take next..
Basic Strength Training by Using Your Body Weight
Do you need to invest in a gym and personal trainer to begin to build your body’s strength? Of course not. Isometric and body weight exercises are easy for anyone to begin, and do not require a professional’s assistance to begin a program. Provided that you have no underlying pre-existing conditions affecting your joints, beginning with simple exercises like push ups, planks, squats and crunches. The foundation of all of these exercises is body awareness, core strength, and form.
The best way to begin is with a squat:
- Spread your feet shoulder width apart and point your toes forward
- Keep your weight centered over your feet
- Keeping your torso straight, slightly curve your back
- Lower yourself towards the ground, arms extended, keeping your quads loose
You will immediately begin to feel a difference in your body as you begin a squat regimen, but listen to what your body is telling you and don’t try to copy your CrossFit friend’s Workout of Death the first week.
Continue your core strength by working on planks and moving into push-ups:
- For a proper plank, keep your back straight and rest your weight on your forearms, not your wrists
- Begin by holding the plank for ten seconds, keeping your back straight, and increase in increments of five seconds until you find a time that fits your current strength level
- Once you are comfortable with your core strength, try moving your torso farther from the floor by putting your weight on your hands, like a finished push up position, and hold your back straight so that you form a straight line from your head to your toes
- As your strength builds, move into pushups, following a form that best fits your current physical condition
Frequency of the Workouts
How often should you do the workouts? We have all seen social media posts about movie stars who work out four hours a day, six days a week to get ready for film roles. If you are just beginning, the idea is to work for 30-60 minutes twice a week, split into two sessions with enough rest in between so that you do not injure yourself.
Make Sure Your Diet Aligns With Your Goals
Strength training is not the same as weight loss training. You may be in a position where you actually want to GAIN weight as you strength train. How do you know how many calories to consume to meet your goals? It depends whether you want to have a caloric surplus or deficit.
Visiting sites such as the Calorie Calculator (https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html) can help you make sound dietary decisions to meet your strength training goals. For instance, a 30 year old male who is 5’8” and weighs 165 lbs would need to consume 3062 calories a day to gain one pound a week, as long as the diet was healthy and balanced, and focused on adding muscle mass instead of fat.
Be Sure to Rest and Recover
How long should you rest between workouts if you are just beginning? Experts recommend 24-48 hours between workouts, so that the muscles can repair themselves instead of being torn down. This is why it is important to work out different muscle groups on consecutive days. You can also engage in healthy habits like fluid replacement, high protein and healthy carb replenishment following workouts, resting, applying heat or ice, or stretching or walking to improve your recovery.
Your body is a machine, and needs to be maintained in order for it to perform at optimal levels. Make sure that as you begin your strength training regimen that you bear all of this in mind.
For more information on how to begin a strength training regimen, give us a call today (727) 934-0844.