Reasons to start strength training

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The Pick-Me-Ups — Your Action Plan

1. Rev metabolism. After a few dates with some dumbbells, both guys and gals will notice an increase in resting metabolic rate  . And with the right diet, routine lifting may even help shed a few pesky pounds more effectively than cardio alone.

2. Tone up. Whether the goal is bulking up or leaning out, there’s a lifting regimen that will deliver optimal results. Remember that muscle mass also declines as we age, and while weight training can be effective for virtually all ages, consider picking up those dumbbells in your body’s prime.

3. Bulletproof the body. Lifting weights is key to staying injury-free. A little weighted action works out the tendons and ligaments that support our muscles— making sports and other daily movin’ and groovin’ worry-free!

4. Fight the blues. Need a new happy pill? Research suggests resistance training can release happiness-helping endorphins and help keep anxiety at bay .

5. Get better in bed. An all-around stronger bod can boost the stamina needed to keep on keepin’ on. (Panting isn’t always sexy. Just sayin’.)

6. Beat out boredom. Muscles need time to recover, so switching up that strength training routine is a must. Give the legs some love on one day, and follow with upper-body action the next. Working out will never get repetitive!

7. Boost self-esteem. Exercise the ego: Lifting can help improve a person’s body image . Plus, it feels great to track progress and see gains in weight and reps.

8. Up that I.Q. Hitting the books isn’t the only way to pass that exam— strength training can also sharpen the mind (no pencil sharpener necessary).

9. Strengthen bones. Grab some weights to avoid getting stuck in a sling. Those bones will toughen up, which will lower the risk for fractures . After all, not everyone’s up for chugging three glasses of milk a day.

10. Lose the limitations. Drop down and give me 20— anywhere. Resistance training doesn’t require a gym membership, let alone a set of dumbbells or fancy machines. There are plenty of ways to strength train right at home with little to no equipment.

11. Perk up that ‘tude. Unhappy at work? Studies show lifting can have psychological benefits, including feeling more positive at the office . No need to call in “sick” ever again!

12. Increase flexibility. There are other ways to get limber besides yoga (although we do love a little downward dog). Over time, resistance training can help improve flexibility; ladies, lifting every other day for eight weeks is all it takes. .

13. Cut down cancer risk. One study found strength training three times a week for six months led to reduced oxidative stress, which can lessen our cancer risk. So get lifting and fuel up with antioxidants to double-team disease.

14. Amp up productivity. Losing focus at work? Squeezing in some desk-side reps can help make deadlines a breeze while fine-tuning those time management skills.

15. Protect the heart. A healthy diet isn’t the only path to a happy heart. Lifting also has cardiovascular powers that could help protect us from heart disease.

16. Catch those zzz’s with ease. There are many well-known remedies to help us fall asleep— like sipping herbal tea and taking a hot shower. And while exercise in general has been shown to help make snoozing a breeze, studies suggest weight lifting in particular can lead to a better night’s sleep .

17. Build trust. We often need spotters, especially at the bench press (a bar to the face or neck is never good). Naturally, relying on others for our own safety in the gym can instill trust in a kick-butt kind of way.

18. Jump-start power. Eager to improve performance in the gym and on the track? An extra dose of dumbbells can really work fast-twitch muscles, the speedy muscle fibers responsible for generating power.

19. Sneak in some cardio. Hate the dreadmill? A fast-paced resistance workout can keep the heart rate up and can even count as cardio (provided those sets move along at a quick enough clip).

20. See results… fast. Need one final incentive to hit the weights? Strength training can offer speedy results. It takes two to three weekly sessions (for less than a month!) to see muscles shape up. Can’t bench press 200 lbs? Not to worry: Lifting lighter weights can also be effective at building muscle, as long as those lifts are tough enough to cause muscle fatigue.

http://greatist.com/fitness/20-reasons-start-strength-training

Make a Strength Training Plan

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Pump Some Iron—Getting Started

Starting a strength training program is a little more complicated than just grabbing some dumbbells and your favorite gym tee and hoisting away—it requires a set program. Before hitting the weights, check out these tips to get started on the right foot:

  • Set goals! Goals should be the driving force of any strength training program. Follow the SMART acronym (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound) and make sure to set both short and long-term targets.
  • Start small. Three days a week (on non-consecutive days) for 45-minute sessions should be enough for most individuals to see big gains starting out, says Trink. Any longer and the chance of injury skyrockets.
  • Focus on compound lifts. Gary advocates multi-joint exercises (think squats and deadlifts) as the backbone of any strength training program. By using big moves, lifters can get more done in less time. Plus, it always pays to focus on (and master!) the basics before moving on.
  • Prioritize Lifts. Put the most important exercises first. That way, fatigue won’t compromise form on the biggest lifts . In general, compound lifts should go first with more isolated exercises (finally, a spot for curls) towards the end of the workout.
  • Watch the clock. Limit rest periods between sets to maximize efficiency in the gym. Trink uses the following guidelines:
    • 6 reps or less = rest 2-3 minutes
    • Above 6 reps = rest 75 seconds or less
  • Combine cardio and strength. Gary recommends performing exercises back-to-back (referred to as supersets in the fitness realm) to get the benefits of strength and cardio. By supersetting compound lifts, you’ll get your heart rate up and get a great cardio workout on the weight room floor.
  • Log all workouts. Keeping track of sets, reps, and exercises is crucial for noting progress and identifying when it’s time to up the intensity. Write down sets, reps, and weights used for all workouts. Keeping a log also acts as a motivator!
  • Vary the program. Avoid sticking to the same routine for more than six weeks, Trink advises. Lifters should switch up their program to avoid getting bored and plateauing (going a few weeks without seeing any results).
  • Don’t skip the extras. Make time for foam rolling and stretching to help prevent muscles from tightening up and to stay injury-free!

3, 2, 1… Lift Off!—Your Action Plan

Ready to get started? Whether you’ve got three, four, or five days to devote to training, these programs will help you make the most out of hitting the gym.

I Have… 3 Days a Week

Your plan: Total Body Routine

Why it works: This program hits all major muscle groups during each workout, yielding maximum gains in minimum time.

What to do: Complete 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps of the following exercises. Note: Perform A and B exercises back-to-back as supersets. Rest 60 seconds between each exercise.

Monday (Day One)

1A) Barbell Deadlift
1B) Dumbbell Bench Press

2A) Lunge (bodyweight or using dumbbells)
2B) Single-Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press

3A) Leg Press
3B) Plank (Hold for 30-45 seconds)

Wednesday (Day Two)

1A) Barbell Back Squat
1B) Chin-up (bodyweight or assisted)

2A) Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
2B) Singe-Leg Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

3A) Side Lunges (bodyweight or using dumbbells)
3B) Reverse Crunch

Friday (Day Three)

1A) Barbell Front Squat
1B) Inverted Row

2A) Single-Leg Dumbbell Deadlift
2B) Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

3A) Reverse Lunge (bodyweight or using dumbbells)
3B) Side Plank (Hold for 30-45 seconds)

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High Intensity Interval Training – HITT

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WHAT IS HIIT?

HIIT is a training idea in which low to moderate intensity intervals are alternated with high intensity intervals.

HIIT can be applied to running or to exercises such as squatting. HIIT is considered to be much more effective than normal cardio because the intensity is higher and you are able to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat than ever before.

“In research, HIIT has been shown to burn adipose tissue more effectively than low-intensity exercise – up to 50% more efficiently.” It has also been shown to speed up your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day. (www.musclemedia.com)

HIIT improves both energy systems for endurance:

ANAEROBIC ENERGY SYSTEM

Anaerobic literally means “Without oxygen.” The anaerobic energy system is what provides energy in all out efforts of up to 1 minute. For the first 10-15 seconds, the phosphate pool is used up and after that, glycolysis and lactic acid are involved in the effort.

During 10-15 second bursts, there is a very small amount of lactic acid produced. Rest periods of 30 seconds to a minute will provide complete recovery of the Adenosine Triphosphate-Creatine Phosphate (ATP-CP) system. During efforts of more than 10-15 seconds, a large amount of lactic acid is produced and such efforts are extremely taxing on both the athlete’s muscles and their Central Nervous System (CNS).

AEROBIC ENERGY SYSTEM

Aerobic literally means “with oxygen.” This energy system is utilized during prolonged exercise over a period of at least 3-4 minutes. As long as there is enough oxygen to provide energy, the fatigue that you experience will remain at a low level.

This is the reason why many track and field athletes train at higher altitudes where there is less oxygen. By training at high altitudes, they can increase the number of red blood cells which will help them to perform for a longer period of time with little to no fatigue throughout.

WHAT IS THE BEST HIIT WORKOUT? BE SPECIFIC AND MAKE SURE TO LIST EXERCISES, REPS, SETS, ETC.

HIIT can be used with a few different goals in mind – to lose as much fat as possible while cutting or bulking, or to improve aerobic and anaerobic endurance as much as possible. Diet will mostly determine how these goals are achieved by manipulating calories and macronutrient ratios.

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Leangains Workout Plan Overview

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The Leangains workout that I do is modified to my goals but this is very close to the recommendation. I workout Monday, Wednesday and Friday and rest all other days. I almost exclusively use barbells.

My goal is to put my body under maximum amounts of stress in short bursts then get the hell out of the gym. No burnouts, no screwing around. Some days I do 5 minutes of abs and/or more accessory work but I do it knowing that I am just having fun.

*Tip: I have noticed that I get most of my shoulder/back pulls and injuries during this “fun” time and rarely do it anymore.

I do 2 working sets:

I do a few warmup sets on each exercise before I move to the working sets. The goal of the warmup sets is to get my body ready to be put under a lot of stress. Below is an example, obviously you would adjust for your own warmups.

Example: Bench Press Warmup Sets

  • Warmup Set 1: Just the bar for 10 reps
    • This gets your joints moving and prepares your body to handle weight. This also helps me practice my form for the heavy sets
  • Warmup Set 2: 95lbs for 6 reps
    • Add a little weight and practice form – further preparing for heavier presses
  • Warmup Set 3: 135 for 3 reps
    • Here I have enough weight to feel it. To preserve my energy for the big presses I only do 2-3 reps.

After warming up I’ll take a 2-3 minute rest and then do 2 working sets.

Set 1: The maximum weight I can do for the desired rep range.

Set 2: Drop weight by approximately 10% – take 2-5 minutes rest. The goal of the second working set is to do (1) one more rep than I did in Set 1. So if I did 7 reps in Set 1 – I will do 8 reps in Set 2 and then stop.

Even if I can do more reps I stop. I never go to failure.

I was told this helps you progress and although I don’t know the science behind it I can tell you that I have almost always progressed in weight/reps – even during when I’m cutting and in a caloric deficit (which is not common).

My Exact Leangains Workout

Monday:

  • Deadlift 3-5x
  • Overhead Press 6-8x
  • Weighted Chin Ups 4-6x (I got this weighted dip belt on Amazon)
  • Barbell Rows 6-8x
  • 1 set of Weighted Close Grip Chin Ups 6-10x

Wednesday:

  • Bench Press 6-8x
  • Incline Dumbbell Press 6-8x
  • Barbell Curls 6-8x
  • Tricep Extensions 6-8x

Friday:

  • Squat 6-8x (I use these Rehband knee sleeves for knee protection)
  • Leg Curls 6-8x
  • Leg Extension 6-8x
  • Weighted Wide Dips 6-8x
  • Calves 12-16x
  • 1 set of Ab Rope Pulldowns 25x

Get Used to Working Out Less

At first it may be hard to convince yourself to workout less. (3) Three days a week and (2) two sets per exercise are much less than I was doing before. I struggled with it at first because it didn’t “feel” like I was doing enough.

The key is to get it done, do it right and then force yourself to get out of the gym. For me the results don’t lie.

http://www.malandarras.com/intermittent-fasting-and-leangains-transformation-with-photos

Leangains.com

Case Study: Nerdfitness – Stacy

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Meet Stacy

As we’ve learned from Mark Twight, trainer for the actors from 300, “appearance is a consequence of fitness.”

Diet:

While I did switch to a 80/20 Paleo Diet for a while, ever since my Hashimoto’s diagnosis I’ve been doing an extremely strict auto immune Paleo diet. I basically eat meats, veggies, and berries.  The auto immune part of Paleo cuts out nuts and seeds, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers), and eggs.  I do have milk and butter, but only whole and organic grass fed. I don’t do any other dairy (like cheese) at all.  I don’t even cheat with gluten or soy anymore, no matter what.  I feel SO much better since adopting this new diet.

  • Every Sunday (or whatever works, but usually its Sunday) I cook a few pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast.  I then portion it out and keep them in ziploc bags.  If I don’t have time for that, you can get all natural precooked sausage (both chicken and pork) that works just as well as a “bring to work” meat.
  • 5AM: pre-workout: (first thing in the morning) – protein shake. (nothing special).  Its not paleo, and i love every sip of it.  Then I go and work out.  If I go to the gym with a full stomach, I will not leave with a full stomach.  :)
  • 7:30AM: on my way to work: apple or pear.
  • 9:30AM: sweet potato with cinnamon. I keep them at work, and cut them up, throw it in the microwave for 5 minutes with cinnamon.  Comes out amazing.
  • Another protein shake somewhere in here between breakfast and lunch.
  • 11:45AM-12PM: lunch: two of the bags of chicken I precooked and a bag of the steamfresh vegetables.  The entire bag, its like 3.5 servings of vegetables.  My favorite is broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.
  • Lunch 2: spinach salad with shrimp, red peppers, green peppers, red onion, lemon juice.
  • 2-3 snacks in the afternoon. Could be one of these: Apple with almond butter, bell pepper (I eat them like apples… I’m weird), carrots (they even make carrots cut like chips), bags of chicken (yes, those bags of chicken I consider a snack as well, not just a meal), a zucchini (yes, plain, raw, uncooked), celery with almond butter and raisins, strawberries, frozen mixed berries.
  • 7-8PM: dinners: 95% of the time it’s meat (steak, sausage, shrimp, salmon, or chicken) with one of the following: red peppers, green peppers, red onions, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower (steamfresh bags!), and/or summer squash and zucchini
  • Every once in a while i make something awesome, like this (but really, that takes a lot of time).  When i DO make something like that, i make it in mass bulk and will eat it for the week.
  • In the winter, I’ll usually make a beef shank stew on Sundays that I can eat for a lunch or two as well.

Focus on:

Follow up:

Right now I’m focused mainly on strength, doing a crazy Russian squat program where I squat heavy 4x a week, working other big lifts in around that. I try to get in conditioning, in the form of something like sprints, burpees, or sled pushes a few times a week as well. I’ve also been swimming a lot, but that’s more for fun, recovery, and meditation.

Staying Hungry:

I guess I never reached a point where I felt like I was content with where I was at.  I always want more, and there’s always something new to learn.  People will tell me that once they reach, say, a 315 lb squat they will be satisfied. But to me, I’m thinking, “Why? Why wouldn’t you want to try to squat 316 lbs next time?”

I have this concept of hitting a PR every day, no matter what, and that could mean anything from lifting 1 more pound, doing 1 more rep, or finishing 1 second faster.  I hate the idea of being “comfortable,” because if I’m not pushing out to the edge and trying to do better, then I’m not growing.

I think because my overall goal, sport specific aside, is to be able to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to, without warning, without my body holding me back.

And by that I mean if a friend calls me tomorrow and says, “I found a secret treehouse in the middle of the woods, but we need to hike a gigantic mountain and bike 50 miles to get there,” I want to be able to say “I’m in” without hesitation.  So I always want to push my body’s limits.  Plus, it’s fun.