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College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends regular strength
training for quality of life and health. Weight training can be an arduous process
with different challenges for each person. However, there are excellent
physical and personal benefits. For example, it can increase your muscle tone,
overall health and self-confidence. Here are five tips to maximizing your
Plan and Document
If you fail to have a long-term weight lifting plan with
goals, you most likely will not be successful. The practice of weightlifting
requires measurable goals, constant diligence and detailed documentation
Consider keeping a workout journal that allows you to track numbers, measure
goals and evaluate progress. This is especially important if you consistently
alter your workout sets and choices. Be sure to plan reduced workout phases that
will prevent over-training and potential injuries. All of this requires proper
knowledge about nutrition, the body and weight lifting.
Separate Fact from
When it comes to weight lifting, there is a lot of
conflicting information from books, the Internet and personal trainers. Lifting
weights, without an increase in caloric intake, will not increase
body mass. Another common myth is that the best way of increasing muscle mass
is through only lifting heavy weights. However, lifting light weights to the
point of fatigue is equally effective. Many experts have always said that it is
best to work out a different muscle group every day. However, interval and
circuit training is actually better for muscles in the long run. A combined
approach will burn more calories while improving aerobic capacity.
Ask an Expert
Anyone can educate themselves about weight training through
books, magazines and the Internet. However, it is equally important to learn
from established experts and trained professionals. Consider joining a gym or
at least attending a few classes to work with an experienced trainer. This is
important because proper lifting technique will accelerate your muscle-building
and reduce potential injuries. A personal trainer is especially important for
beginners because they will receive individualized instruction, motivational
coaching and helpful safety tips.
Avoid obsessing on a certain muscle group or workout. Create
your own weekly or monthly workout routines and then consistently alter them.
This will avoid muscle burnout and force continual muscle growth. Change the
intensity, frequency and duration of both your cardio workout and weight
lifting sets. For example, focus on short repetition, heavy lifts one month and
multiple repetition, lighter lifts the next month. Alternate between free
weights, stretch bands and the weight machine. Be sure to engage in 10 to 15
minutes of cardio before every exercise. Be sure to separate full cardio
workouts and weight training days by a few days.
Unless you follow the right diet, your hours spent at the
gym may actually be wasted. Proper nutrition is key to effective weight
training success. Be sure to consume a lot of carbs and moderate amount of
protein before every workout. Carbs will give you the energy and protein will
build muscle, increase fat loss and decrease hunger. Excellent sources of
protein include meat, poultry, fish and nuts. Pre-workout and post-workout
consumption of protein has been shown to increase energy and muscle-building.
Drink plenty of water after the workout is complete. Avoid sports drinks
because they are full of sugar and empty calories. Consuming whey protein after
a workout is one of the best ways to build muscle. Try to keep things as
natural and high quality as possible, for instance the best pre
workout supplements are generally the ones with plenty of nutrients,
I personally stay away from the ones that promise over 200 mg of caffeine.
Daily vitamins and supplements are very beneficial for muscle growth and
To summarize, weight lifting has excellent social, physical
and emotional benefits. Planning and documenting your goals and routines will
help you progress. Be sure to distinguish between weight training facts and
fiction. Working with a trainer or other professionals will expand your
knowledge and expertise. Workout variation will increase your overall workout
effectiveness. Finally, proper nutrition is critical to building muscles.
About the Author
Ryan Blair is a freelance
writer who has spent 12 years in the fitness industry doing just about
everything including personal training for 6 years. He now spends his time combining his love of writing with his
experience in fitness. If you want to
contact him you can do so at: