WHY SHOULD I DO RESISTANCE TRAINING?
Resistance training helps with weight management by building more muscle tissue, which burns more calories at rest than fat tissue. Resistance training also helps to maintain muscle mass that would otherwise be lost with age and inactivity. This makes it easier to perform many daily tasks (e.g. carrying groceries, snow shoveling, ect.) throughout life. In addition, resistance training helps to build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.
SHOULD I USE FREE WEIGHTS (DUMBBELLS, BARBELLS) OR MACHINES?
You should choose a form of resistance you are comfortable using. I recommend using machines to start out with, as they are safer and help with correct form.
WHAT IS SOME GOOD EQUIPMENT TO HAVE AT HOME?
You can do amazing things to change your body at home with little to no equipment. However, there are just a few items to consider that are relatively inexpensive that will help take you take your home workout to the next level. Below is my list of suggested at-home equipment.
Resistance bands both ankle and hand
8, 10, and 12 pound weights
Pull Up Bar
WHAT ARE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REPS AND SETS?
Reps are how many times you lift a weight without stopping for a break.
Sets are how many times you do those reps.
Example: 4 sets of 15 reps (4/15)
This means you lift the weight 15 times in a row without stopping or putting it down. After 15 reps you put the weight down to rest. When you start again this will be your second set. You will lift the weight again 15 times then stop and rest again. Keep doing this until you do it 4 times.
The number of reps you should do depends on where you are in your training (new, experienced, coming back from a long layoff) and your goals. To become as strong and as big as your body type will allow, do fewer than 8 or 10 reps per set. To tone your muscles and develop the type of strength you need for everyday life — lifting groceries or shoveling snow — aim for 10 to 12 repetitions. Doing dozens of reps with ultralight weights (weights you can barely even feel) doesn’t bring good results of any kind, because you’re not stressing your muscles enough.
No matter how many repetitions you do, always use a heavy enough weight so that the last rep is a struggle, but not such a struggle that you compromise good form. After about a month of strength training, you may want to go to muscular failure (that is, your last repetition is so difficult that you can’t squeeze out one more).
If you have a few different goals in mind, you can mix and match the number of reps you do per workout. If you want to get bigger and stronger and also improve the endurance of those muscles, you can do a heavy workout one day and a lighter workout the next time out. Keep track of how you feel; your body may respond better to one type of training than another.
Be sure to adjust the amount of weight you use for each exercise. In general, use more weight to work larger muscles like your thighs, chest, and upper back, and use less weight to exercise your shoulders, arms, and abdominals. But even when doing different exercises for the same muscle group, you’re likely to need a variety of weights. For example, you typically can handle more weight on the flat chest-press machine than you can on the incline chest-press machine.
Write down how much weight you lift for each exercise so that next time around, you don’t have to waste time experimenting all over again. But don’t lock yourself into lifting a certain amount of weight every time. Everyone feels stronger on some days than on others.
HOW MANY SETS SHOULD I DO FOR EACH MUSCLE GROUP?
There’s no simple answer. Several studies show that doing one set per muscle builds just as much strength as doing three sets per muscle, at least for the first three or four months of training. If you’re a novice or if you’re starting again after a layoff, begin with one set of 10 to 12 repetitions, and make sure your last rep feels challenging. You should feel like you have control of the weight but if you did one more rep, you may not be able to make it all the way. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends performing: at least one set (8-12 repetitions), of 8-10 exercises that work all the major muscle groups, 2-3 days per week (you should not do resistance training for the same muscle groups on consecutive days.
For the first 4-6 weeks of resistance training, choose weights or resistance levels that allow you to complete 12-15 repetitions of an exercise with minimal fatigue. During this time, your muscles will be adapting to resistance training; a lot of resistance training is not necessary for these early adaptations to occur. Lifting too much too soon will make you quite sore, increasing the time you need for recovery between workouts and slowing your progress.
After 4-6 weeks you can increase the level of resistance. Select a weight or resistance level at which you feel fatigue after 8-12 repetitions. If you cannot perform 8 repetitions of an exercise, the resistance is too great and should be decreased. If you can easily perform more than 12 repetitions, the resistance is probably not adequate and needs to be increased. Adequate resistance is necessary to enhance muscular fitness and improve body composition.
Don’t skip the warm-up. Cold muscles are more prone to injury than are warm muscles. Before you lift weights, warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of brisk walking or other aerobic activity.
HOW MUCH REST BETWEEN SETS?
For Muscle gain:
Studies have found that testosterone and growth hormone are produced in greater levels when you rest for short to moderate periods. The amount of time can vary a bit, depending on how many sets you’re going for and how heavy the weight is, 60-90 seconds between sets is a good guideline.
For fat loss:
There are two great approaches to losing fat in your training and you should apply both in your program. The first method is simply to burn as many calories as possible, in which almost continuous exercise with little to no rest between sets (such as circuit training) is ideal. The other highly effective weight-loss strategy is to alternate sets of unrelated exercises (such as squats and rows) that work the entire body, while still allowing enough rest to build muscle. For circuit workouts or higher-calorie-burning programs, keep your resting time between sets to 30 seconds or less. For alternating sets, however, you can bump that time up to 30-90 seconds.
For strength gain:
Time is on your side when you’re training for pure strength. Both your muscles and central nervous system need time to recover from the effort of lifting very heavy weights, and failing to rest long enough will prevent you from lifting heavy on your next set-and even slow your recovery for your next workout. Take three to five minutes of rest, then crank out another set.
WHAT MUSCLES SHOULD I WORKOUT?
Chest (pectorals),upper and middle back (trapezius and dorsi),shoulders (deltoids),front of arm (bicep), back of arm (triceps), back (erector spinae), stomach or abdominals (rectus abdominus, obiques), front of thigh (quadriceps), back of thigh (hamstring), and calves (gastronemius,soleus).
IS WARMING UP IMPORTANT BEFORE EXERCISES?
Don’t skip the warm-up. Cold muscles are more prone to injury than are warm muscles. Before you lift weights, warm up with five to 10 minutes of brisk walking or other aerobic activity.
CAN YOU EXERCISE TOO MUCH?
Definitely. More is not necessarily better.
Beginners should take a rest day at least every other day, while those who are more active should consider taking a rest day after a very vigorous workout or alternate exercise programs so that you’re working different muscle groups.
You must give your body a chance to recover from the stress of exercising.
Some signs of too much exercise could include:
Decrease in Performance
Increase in recovery requirements
Altered resting heart rate
Muscle soreness and damage
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE TIME TO EXERCISE 60 MIN A DAY?
The 60-minute suggestion is based on the National Academy of Science’s recommendation for people who are trying to prevent weight gain, or keep themselves from regaining after weight loss — not for people who are trying to increase or maintain their cardio-respiratory fitness or health. There’s plenty of research to show that 30 minutes of physical activity a day will help you gain lots of health and fitness benefits.Remember that you don’t have to do all your exercise in one session. If you already exercise vigorously at the gym several times a week, there’s no reason to quit. But if 60 minutes seems like too much for you, try 30 minutes a day as a starting goal.
The most important thing is that you do something.
WHAT IF I AM PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO EXERCISE?
There is virtually no medical condition that will keep you from doing any type of exercise. Even people with heart failure — who were long told not to exercise at all — can benefit from moderate amounts of activity.
And people with limited mobility can often do water exercises, or do yoga or other exercises while seated in a chair (some “chair exercise” videos are now on the market). Of course, if you have any medical condition, check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
WHAT IS INTERVAL TRAINING?
In interval training, you alternate between bursts of higher-intensity exercise and periods of less-intense exercise (or “active rest”). As you get more fit, you decrease the “rest” time and increase the high-intensity periods. You’ll see big fitness gains if you train this way regularly.
For example, if you now run for 30 minutes at 6 mph, try this routine: Jog for five minutes to warm up. Then, increase your speed to 6.5 mph for one to two minutes (less if you can’t go that long). Then, jog for a few minutes at your normal speed, then again at the faster speed, and so on until you reach your time limit. Your ratio of work to active rest would be 2:3 if you ran for two minutes at 6.5 mph, then jogged for three minutes at 6 mph.
You can also use your heart rate to set intervals. For example, if your heart rate hits 70% of your maximum when you jog at 6 mph, start at that speed. Then increase either your speed or elevation (if you’re on a treadmill) to get your heart rate to 85% or 90% of your maximum heart rate for one to three minutes. Then, go back to jogging at the 70% heart rate, and continue alternating.
We recommend interval training just once a week to start, as it is more intense than you may be used to. Once you get a feel for it, you can do it more often.
WILL EXERCISE HELP ME LOSE WEIGHT?
Exercise alone does not necessarily make you lose weight, but it will help you to slim down and reshape your body by decreasing fat and increasing muscle. Regular exercise:
Helps you burn calories that you have consumed during meals
Helps combat muscle loss that can occur when you lose weight
Builds up your muscle tissue
Increases the amount of calories that you burn. The more muscular you are, the more calories you burn.
Remember that exercising does not always lead to weight loss, but your body will be firmer and slimmer (you will fit into your clothes better). In addition, exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress and tension.
WHEN I SWEAT DURING MY WORKOUT, AM I SWEATING AWAY FAT?
Many people think when they sweat while working out, they’re losing fat. This is not true. When you sweat during your workout, you’re losing water. If you weigh yourself before your workout and then again afterwards, the difference between the two is water weight, not fat weight. How much fat you “lose” during exercise depends on several factors. These include fitness level, body mass, the duration and intensity of your workout, and when you ate your last meal. Wearing plastic pants or a fleece sweat suit won’t make you lose fat weight quicker, than if you dress comfortably. Wearing excessive clothing during exercise may interfere with the body’s ability to cool itself and result in mild to severe heat illness.
Another common myth about sweating is that it rids the body of toxins. Sweat is nothing more than water, salts, and ureas. The body isn’t detoxified when it sweats;the only thing it gets rid of is water and a few salts. Your ability to sweat is not a measure of your fitness level. Sweating is nothing more than the most efficient factor in your body’s temperature regulation ability. Some people sweat more than others. The most effective way for you to keep your “sweat mechanism” healthy is to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. Then you don’t have to worry about overheating, dehydrating, and feeling awful after your workout.
HOW DO YOU LOSE WEIGHT IN YOUR THIGHS?
I have bad news, you can’t spot reduce. You can’t lose weight in a “certain” area of your body. Fat is deposited on your body based on your genetic makeup. If your mom or dad’s family had large thighs, you will have large thighs. There are people who will tell you that if you do exercises for your thighs you will change their shape. That’s true, but it doesn’t mean they will get smaller. When you exercise aerobically and decrease fat intake you will lose fat all over your body, including your thighs.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO DO CARDIO AND WHY?
Doing cardio right after weights is better than doing it before weights. The reason is that weightlifting doesn’t deplete your glycogen stores as bad as it does in cardio workouts, depending on how intense you go. So you still will have some of your glycogen stores left, meaning that you can still get an alright cardio session. But for a more effective cardio session right after a workout, I recommend waiting a least 2 hours or even more (if you have the time to do this) before doing your cardio. In between this time it is important you replenish your glycogen stores quickly and stop protein breakdown as fast as possible. But if you don’t have the time it is still alright to do it right after weights. Just be prepared to have a less effective cardio session. For best results in your cardio training, try to schedule your session separate from your weight lifting program. So if you lift weights 4 times a week, then do running on the other three days that you’re not lifting weights. Just remember try to schedule your cardio session as far away as possible from your leg lifting schedule, because running on a super sore tired legs doesn’t feel good. Doing cardio on separate days than weight lifting ensures that you have the proper energy to perform your best in either your cardio or lifting session. If you cannot, then do your cardio after your workouts at least. Remember, you have the best gains when you have the most energy!
CAN YOU GAIN MUSCLE WHILE DOING CARDIO?
Yes it is possible. This is also one of those topics that also depends on your goals. If a bodybuilder wants to gain serious mass and still maintain a balance in his cardiovascular system, then it is totally possible to do it without losing muscle. But if someone wants to gain endurance, marathon running, and long distance running may cause major muscles loss over time.
CAN YOU GAIN MUSCLE WHILE DOING CARDIO?
Yes it is possible, it can be done. A bodybuilder would cry at the idea of losing precious hard gained muscle. This is also one of those topics that also depends on your goals. If a bodybuilder wants to gain serious mass and still maintain a balance in his cardiovascular system then it is totally possible to do it without losing muscle. But if someone wants to gain serious mass and wants to be a professional marathon runner, then my answer is no since heavy training in the field of endurance, marathon running, and long distance running causes major muscle loss over time. Just look at all the marathon athletes, they are scrawny and not muscular. If you want to be well rounded (Meaning quite cardiovascular fit while still having muscle and strength), then your cardio program might cause slight/very slight muscle loss depending on how long, intense and how many times a week you do it. But, your weight lifting program will cause you to gain more mass than is lost and you WILL get stronger. So there are basically two categories for this topic. People who want mass and dont want to lose it and people who want some mass and strength but also want to be cardiovascular fit. So for the people who want to get big without losing muscle and just want to do enough cardio to stay balanced, well doing cardio three days a week for 30-45 minutes at 60-75% of your max heart rate is enough that you will maintain and get benefits for your cardio system and you also will NOT lose muscle. So there’s the good news for all the people who get scared by cardio. Now for the people who want to be well rounded. If you want to be pretty decently fit in the cardiovascular system and still be strong and have muscle mass, then do cardio about 4-5 times a week from anywhere to 45-60 minutes at 60-85% of your max.