Let’s pretend you just decided to incorporate weight lifting into your workout routine. You excitedly put on your favorite outfit to exercise in, pump yourself up, and enter the gym doors. Your heart sinks at the sight of strangely shaped pieces of equipment and weights that you don’t know what to do with. With just an ounce of confidence left, you manage to snag a machine only to discover that the person who used it previously must have been about 8 feet tall. You twist, pull, and push different levers, but nothing seems to do the trick. Suddenly, lifting doesn’t sound so fun anymore. Now instead, let’s pretend you’ve been lifting for a little while, but you don’t feel or look any different than the day you started. The motivating fire ignited in the beginning has dwindled to an ember. If you relate to these situations, don’t worry; these both used to be me.
Saying that weight lifting is complex would be an understatement, but its potential and ability to transform are exactly what makes it so special. If your goal is to burn fat and lose weight, lifting can help; if your goal is to build muscle and gain weight, lifting can help; if your goal is to maintain health and energy, lifting can help. Weight lifting, or resistance training, can morph into a program that is as unique as your needs, and it can be incredibly rewarding. My husband can verify that workout highs are very real for me. There’s often a lot of yelling and dancing involved… Anyways, I want to talk about what has worked for me recently and how to find a program that will benefit you.
Over the last five weeks, I did a mixture of weight lifting and high intensity interval training (HIIT for short) that I found online at http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-routines/hiit-6-week-full-body-workout called the HIIT 100s program. It is a 6 day per week program where each muscle group is isolated with an exercise bearing 10 sets of 10 reps at 50% of your 10 rep maximum. In addition to these “100s” exercises, there are other exercises with fewer amounts of sets to fully work the muscle. While the number of sets and reps are important, the amount of rest time between each set is also specified so that you lock into that high intensity training zone. In the beginning of the program, the periods are all 60 seconds, but as time goes on, the rest for the 100s dwindles down. The muscle groups are split into three different workouts, so each group is repeated and trained two times per week. Technically, it is a 6 week program, but my body was telling me that is was ready to start something new this week. At first I was a little disappointed in not finishing it through, but listening to my body this week has made me feel refreshed. My joints were starting to get achy from the repeated motions, and my energy level had started to decline. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the program, and my current training is very reminiscent of its structure.
One of the main reasons I liked the HIIT 100s was that it taught me how to track my progress. If I hadn’t been carrying my pen and binder with me during my workout, I would be lost as to what set I was on or what exercise to do next. Not only that, but it made me conscious of my rest periods. I now cannot speak highly enough about using a notebook or app, depending on what works best for you, to keep a log of your workouts and plan them beforehand. Not only do I waste less time wandering aimlessly for a different exercise, but I feel more determined to push myself to write a better number in the book and finish what I’ve started. I have never been more excited about both my training and the way my body and mind are responding to it. Here are just a few tips to hopefully help you feel the same way.
- Get educated. Look online or find a trainer to create a plan that will work well for you. You don’t have to follow anything perfectly. In the end, you are the one that knows and trains your body.
- Track your workout in a journal or app for reasons I mentioned previously.
- Find a person to hold you accountable and talk honestly with about your current progress and thoughts. On top of all the weights you will be lifting, you don’t need the emotional weight of keeping everything to yourself.
- EAT. Regardless of your goals, change will not come without fueling your body. If you are working out like a champ, you need to be eating like a champ.
- Don’t give up. Your body and energy won’t change overnight. Progress comes over time, so enjoy the ride while you’re on it.
Weight training is not designed for a specific subgroup of people; it can be for everyone. So get up, harness your confidence, and give it your 100.