How to Create Your Own Fitness Plan – Part 2 – Strength Training

by A Diet Community

(Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3)

A lot of times people, women especially, are willing to make cardiovascular exercise a priority in obtaining their health and fitness goals but have a hard time committing to strength training.

There’s a fear of looking like a bodybuilder with unsightly muscles bulging to the point where veins protrude.

Or they’re uncertain what to do with the weights, so they shy away from them altogether.

 

Why You Should Strength Train8295217_s

Just as doing aerobic activity is beneficial to your overall health, so too is weight training.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of those advantages of working your muscles include:

  • Relief from arthritic conditions
  • Reduced chances of falling due to better balance
  • Increased bone strength
  • Better blood sugar control

And if the health benefits aren’t good enough for you, consider the fact that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn – even when you’re sleeping!

According to ShapeFit.com, one pound of muscle burns an extra 35-50 calories per day.

That may not seem like a lot, but over the course of a year, one pound of muscle will result in anywhere from 12,775-18,250 calories leaving your body.

That’s 3 ½ to 5 ½ pounds for each one!

So, gain five pounds of muscle and you can lose 15-25 pounds this year while you’re working, relaxing and sleeping.

Isn’t that reason enough?

 

Precautions

Whether you’re new to training your body using weight resistance or have been doing it for ages, there are certain precautions you must take.

First, you want to perform each exercise with proper form.

If you’re unsure what that is, it’s worth the expense of hiring a personal trainer for an hour or two to teach you what you need to know.

You can also watch some YouTube videos; just make sure you follow reputable fitness experts, such as Livestrong and BeFit.

Also, make sure you do the moves slowly and with complete control.

If you try to go too fast, you risk an injury that can hinder any fitness goals you’re trying to reach. Sometimes you see people lifting weights and moving their whole body in the process.

This is bad form and something you should avoid at all costs.

If you’re using weights, make sure you use ones that are heavy enough to work your muscles but not so heavy as to hurt you.

The basic rule of thumb is that you want to be able to lift the weight 8-12 times before you can’t lift it anymore with proper form.

 

Creating an Effective Programmake a health plan

To adequately challenge your muscles, you’ll want to perform strength training exercises 2-4 times a week.  And, you don’t want to work the same muscle groups two days in a row.

So, if you work your arms on Monday, you’re not going to want to concentrate on them again until Wednesday or later.

The reason for this is that when you strain your muscles, such as in weight training, you’re actually creating tiny tears in the muscle.

It’s when those tears are repaired that your muscle fibers grow bigger and stronger. So, if you don’t give them adequate time to heal, you’re doing them more damage than good.

Ideally, you want to work all areas of your body when you strength train, being sure to hit opposing muscle groups.

What this means is that if you work your biceps (front of your arms), for instance, you’ll also want to strengthen your triceps (back of your arms). This keeps your body balanced and will help support good posture.

You can set up a strength training program a couple of different ways. If you want to work out just twice a week, for instance, you could work all areas of your body on both days.

Or if you want to dedicate more time, you can aim for four days a week and follow this type of schedule:

  • Upper body (arms, shoulders, chest, upper back)
  • Lower body (abs, butt, legs)
  • Upper body (arms, shoulders, chest, upper back)
  • Lower body (abs, butt, legs)

You don’t need weights to work your muscles either.

If you find the idea of working out at a gym makes you anxious or is too expensive, you can use your own body as resistance by doing strength training exercises such as pushups, crunches and leg lifts.

You’ll get a workout that’s just as effective at helping you build muscle and burn fat as one provided by machines at the gym.

 

Conclusion

Strength training is just as beneficial for mothers and grandmothers as it is for bodybuilders.

It improves your health, gives you more strength to perform your daily activities and helps you burn calories at a higher rate.

Incorporate some form of weight training into your exercise regimen and you’ll see better results at a faster rate than if you do cardio alone.

So, pick up those barbells and do your body good!


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