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By Avril Reyes
Every woman should consider adding weight training to their fitness routine, but the prospect can seem a little daunting when it’s new. For many people lifting weights brings to mind jacked men grunting in the gym, but that isn’t all there is to it.
Weight training is ideal for toning and tightening up the body, plus adding lean muscle to a woman’s frame will up the body’s caloric burn, which means more fat burning over all. There are however plenty of things to keep in mind before you dive in.
#1) Get a Demo From a Trainer
Most gyms will offer a free personal training session to give you the lay of the land and take out the confusion of what all those weird machines actually do. Take advantage of this if you can to properly learn the safe ways to use the weights and also how to use your body in conjunction with them. Learning how to use the weights from the beginning is going to save you a lot of time and greatly reduce the risk of injury over time.
#2) Figure Out the Right Weight to Use
You don’t want to start with the heaviest barbells in the gym (and probably will never want to use those), but you don’t want to underwhelm your muscles either. The key is to find the right weight that provides enough resistance that you can only make it through the desired reps without needing a break. In other words, you shouldn’t be able to keep going bicep curls all day with the right weights. This will of course be different for each muscle group.
#3) Hit All the Big Muscle Groups
Any weight training can be beneficial, but it is important to hit all of the muscle groups to stay balanced and safe. Many people are accustomed to training their abs for example but might neglect the back, (blame our vanity), but to have the best looking shape and ensure that you don’t overwork a muscle group it’s ideal to keep things balanced and strong all around.
#4) Your Diet Is Important
When you introduce strength training into your routine you might want to alter your eating habits a bit as well. When you are simply trying to lose weight it isn’t necessarily crucial to fuel up before a workout, but to build lean muscle you will want to give your body something to work with. Try a protein drink, or half a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter for immediate energy in the form of sugar and lasting energy from the protein.
Post workout you should try to eat a meal or at least a snack no more than thirty minutes after finishing your workout. This will help your muscles recover from the training that you just did, and it will also help to ensure that you don’t end up over eating later in the day when some mega hunger levels creep on. Getting enough protein is going to be crucial to keep your muscles strong and your hunger in check.
Antioxidants like those found in cherry juice can also help makes the weight training process a little less painful, since they can reduce the inflammation we experience post workout.
#5) Switch Things Up
To keep up a healthy fitness routine over the long term you should be switching things up both so you don’t get bored mentally but so your body doesn’t get bored as well. You don’t need to weight train every day of the week, but rather you should incorporate it into a routine that also includes cardio like running, swimming, or cycling.
Give your body enough time to master a routine, and then switch it up to shock the muscles into continuing to change. Keep it mind that as you get stronger you will also need to add more weight to continue to get stronger. And you will get stronger even though it can be hard to imagine when you’re first starting out!
#6) Track Your Progress
When you are first starting out it can be helpful to either write down or use an app to track the amount of weight you are using and how many reps you can do. Then you can keep track of your routine so that you have a plan of attack when you hit the gym, but then you can also see how far you’ve come which is great motivation to keep going.
Are you thinking about adding weight training to your fitness routine? Let us know your experiences and if any of these tips helped shape your plan!