Lifting weights is a great way to tone and build up muscle, making you stronger and leaner. But where should you start? After consulting your doctor about your health and fitness goals, you can start your own routine. As a person obsessed with fitness and who loves lifting weights, here are my recommendations for getting started with a weight lifting program.
As with any exercise, you need to drink a lot of water. I reiterate it a lot with friends and fellow gym rats, and even in my articles. You need to drink about half your body weight in ounces of water a day, and more if you’re working out. If you weighed 100 pounds, for example, you need to down about fifty or more ounces of water per day. I keep an 8 ounce water bottle with me at all times and constantly refill it. Not only do I have a cold drink when I need it, but it helps me keep track of my hydration.
A lot of people don’t think about warming up when they lift weights but it can be very important in not tearing a muscle or injuring yourself even more. Do some light stretching or very light cardio before you start lifting. I like to do a quick walk or jog for about ten minutes to get the blood flowing in my muscles. You can also do yoga or Pilates to help loosen and warm those muscles before you lift.
If you want to lift weights, you need to start small. I once tore a muscle in my shoulder because I got ahead of myself with how much I thought I could lift. You will want to push yourself, though, so test several sets of weights before you buy or start lifting in the gym. You should have a little bit of trouble lifting, but not too much. If the weights are so light you could hold two in one hand, they’re absolutely not heavy enough.
Switch it Up
Make sure you change how heavy your weights are on a regular basis, whether that’s once a week or once a month. It should be challenging but if you’re struggling with the weight, they’re way too heavy. As you get stronger, your body will naturally be able to do more. Don’t be shocked if you can suddenly pick up that 20 pound weight with very little effort in a short amount of time. You also want to work different muscles at a time. Don’t focus only on your arms or legs, because the best benefit of strength training is getting your entire body tough.
Do Cardio and Rest
You can’t replace cardio work outs with weight lifting and expect to see overall results. Working all your body means working your heart and lungs, too. I like to do cardio work outs on days when I’m not lifting, and take at least two rest days a week. If you find that you’re too tired or feeling lots of muscle strain, work out a little less each week. When you are just getting started, aim for two days of cardio and one day of weight lifting and slowly increase both.
You will find that in time you are getting more toned, and much stronger. Make sure to eat a balanced diet, including veggies and fruit, to help your muscle growth even more. Many people think they can gobble up protein and will get results, but a truly balanced diet is the best way to help your body achieve it’s fitness goals. Even if you just want to lift up your kids more easily, starting a routine can help you get there.