Weight training, also known as resistance or strength training, is an essential part of working out because it helps build lean and strong muscles. According to a study in Current Sports Medicine Reports in 2012, inactive adults experience 3-8% muscle mass loss every decade accompanied by metabolic rate reduction and fat accumulation.
On the other hand, just 10 weeks of weight training can not only increase lean muscle mass by 1.4 kilos and the resting metabolic rate by 7% but also cuts down fat weight by 1.8 kilos! What’s more, the same amount of workout also boosts physical performance, movement control, walking speed, functional independence, cognitive abilities and self-esteem. Given such benefits, you should definitely take up weight training under the guidance of a qualified trainer at a good gym. However, you should also keep the following things in mind before you do:
1. Warm-up and cool-down: A good warm-up routine increases the blood flow to the muscles and primes them for weight training. Start with 5 minutes of aerobic training. Going cold turkey right after finishing with lifting weights is another mistake. Instead, a 10-minute cooling down period where you stretch your muscles to reduce stiffness and risk of injuries is recommended.
2. Start light: If you’re a beginner, you should remember that pushing your muscles to carry loads that they don’t have the strength to carry will only lead to pain and injuries - which is more likely to make you want to give up sooner. Soreness is not an effective gauge for good weight training, no matter what you may have been told about it. Instead, you should start with weights you can lift for 10-15 reps without losing form during the exercise. You can then gradually increase the weights by 5-10%.
3. Limit your workout: You might have heard of celebrities working out for hours, but longer workout sessions dedicated to just weight training are not likely to be as beneficial as a workout where you focus on different parts of your body and exercise types. Limit your weight training to 45 minutes a day, and consult your trainer about making the most of this time. This will also help you avoid injuries, burnout and fatigue.
4. Rest up: Rest is very important for your muscles to recover and replenish their energy. Resting up for at least 60 seconds between two sets can help prevent muscle fatigue, especially if you’re a beginner. It’s equally important to not lift weights every single day of the week, and give them a day or two to recover.
5. Eat right: No matter how much weight training you get done at the gym, you can’t out-train an unhealthy diet. If you’re looking to build and strengthen your muscles then including protein-rich foods in your diet is very important. It’s equally vital to know that you need carbohydrates and healthy fats to build strength and maintain workout regimens, so include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in your diet too. Lastly, don’t forget to hydrate.
For more information, read our article on Weight training exercises and benefits.
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