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The beginner’s guide to weight lifting

Published On: August 25, 2016 11:00 PM NPT By: Aditi Sharma

Want to take up a strength training program, but don’t know where to start? Let me help you with some basic things to get you started on your weight loss journey. With my trainer’s help, I have been doing some serious weight lifting these past few weeks and the results have been worth it.

Even though I haven’t lost much weight (unless the weighing scale is lying), my pant size has gone down and I look more toned than ever before. There’s no reason not to start weight lifting to get in shape. I now realize I should have taken this up sooner. But for some reason when we women decide to lose weight, the first thing we tend to do is jump onto cardio, and weight training is not prioritized.

And even those who focus on weight lifting never pick up enough weight to get a great training effect. If you’re one of those women who think weight lifting is for men as women will just get big and bulking, you need to dismiss that myth right now. But we’ve already spoken about that, haven’t we? So let’s get down to it. Here’s what we need to do to start strength training.

The beginner’s guide
My trainer recommends that the newbies begin with three weight-training sessions each week. For the greatest calorie burn, aim for total-body workouts that target your arms, abs, legs, and back, and go for moves that will target several different muscle groups at a time. For example, opt for squats, which call on muscles in both the front and back of your legs, as opposed to leg extensions, which just affect the quads.

For each exercise you do, try to perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps with a weight heavy enough that by the last set you will feel like you can’t do another single round. To aid further muscle building and toning, I alternate between moderate-intensity workouts of eight to 10 reps with lighter-weight with 10 to 12 reps with heavier weights. You have to find out what works best for you. So I suggest you work with a trainer in the beginning.

The Internet is a good source of information but for beginners it can prove to be very confusing.

Since high intensity interval training hit the scene, easy cardio has been labeled a no-no.

But the truth is that easy cardio should remain in your training schedule two to three times a week to keep your heart healthy, improve your overall recovery, and burn fat.

Anything from walking and slow jogging to swimming and zumba will do the trick.

While starting out, you don’t have to pick up the heaviest possible weight on every exercise like the guy next to you at the gym might, but you do have to lift weights that are challenging for you and continue to push yourself to progress and gradually lift heavier and heavier weights over time. This is progressive overload, and it is important to build muscle and thus tone your body.

So this week, I’ll leave you with this much. Armed with the basic information, you can now start strength training and then take it one step at a time from there on, with a little help from me and guidance from your gym instructor over the next few weeks. I guarantee that weight lifting will redefine how you feel in your body.

Disclaimer: I am not a fitness expert. I’m just someone who has worked hard to lose weight. I have consulted a dietician friend to find out what works for me, and suggest you do the same. I’m only sharing my weight loss experience through The Week and trying to motivate you all to adopt a healthy lifestyle. It’s always best to get an experts advice before beginning a diet and workout plan. Stop exercising if you experience pain during the workout. Also never reduce your calorie intake to less than 1000.

5 things to keep in mind

•    Don’t use too much weight, too soon. Always start lower than your expected ability and work your way up that first workout. If your form suffers, you are swinging the weight or using momentum, this means you may be using too much weight. Greater momentum increases the potential for injury and reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.

•    Once you start using a particular set of weights, your stamina and strength are likely to improve over time. When you can perform 25 reps with a certain weight with ease, increase it a bit but don’t go overboard with it.

•    There is no point in lifting weights fast. Some of the perks of lifting weight in a slow and controlled manner include more total muscle tension and force produced, more muscle fiber activation, more muscle toning, and less tissue trauma.

•    Not resting long enough, or resting far too long can both be a workout killer. Resting for the right period of time is of paramount importance here. The recommended rest period is between 30-90 seconds for overall fitness.

•    And last but not the least, pay attention to your wardrobe. Loose-fitting clothing is for lounging, not lunging. It’s also harder to see your body’s alignment, posture, and movements when you’re not sporting fitted clothing. You don’t have to squeeze yourself into an all-spandex ensemble, but don’t wear anything that can get caught on the equipment you use either.

If you have any queries regarding my weight loss journey, write to me at sharmaditi374@gmail.com.

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