Bringing Wellness Full Circle

Posts tagged ‘Physical fitness’

How much Weight should you lift?

Strength training may not be rocket science, but for the average person, figuring out the best, safest, and most effective ways to lift weights is not always the easiest thing to do. There are bunches of Utube videos, toning classes and fitness plans that you can learn from in order to reach your goals of toning up, building strength, and reshaping your body. But even if you’re following a great plan designed by a great trainer, one big question still remains: How much weight should you be lifting?

You have to take results and safety into consideration. Here is my simple way of explaining it:

1. We are all at different strength levels and the muscles throughout your body also vary in strength, right? So you might lift 15 lbs for biceps, but your shoulders can’t take that kind of weight, and as far as your legs, 15 pounds won’t feel like much. So the amount of weight you lift during one exercise could be too light or too heavy for another.

2. You need to experiment with a variety of weights to find the appropriate level for each exercise you do. Working out at a gym makes that easy, but doing so at home will take a little more space and investment. Start out with at least two, and ideally three sets of dumbbells: a light, medium and heavier set–defined by your own fitness level.


3. Guidelines to select proper weight for strength training:

Aim low. The safest and most effective thing to do if you are a beginner is to master your exercises with little to no added weight so that you can focus intensely on proper form, which is essential before you’re going to increase the weight. There is no shame in doing body weight squats, crunches, modified pushups or even “mock” bench presses or triceps extensions without added weight. Slowly begin to incorporate weights, starting with your lightest weights, only after you have mastered the moves without weight.

Go slow. If you have to move at jackrabbit speed or harness momentum to lift the weight, it is simply too heavy. It’s that simple. The proper weight will allow you to move in a slow, controlled manner.

Never sacrifice form for function. You might want to fast track your results by picking a heavy weight, but lifting more weight should never trump doing it correctly. If you can’t do the exercise properly, then the added weight is not doing you any favors and may actually increase your risk for serious injury.

Count your reps. In general, you are lifting the right amount of weight when you can perform 8-15 repetitions in good form. Once you get strong enough to do more than 15 repetitions more easily, it’s probably time to increase the weight again.

Work to fatigue. This is the #1 key for selecting the proper weight. The weight you lift should not only meet the guidelines for form above, but should also challenge your muscles! The only way strength training is really going to benefit you is for you to overload your muscles—that means working them to fatigue. The weight you select should be challenging enough to fatigue your muscles within 8-15 repetitions.

So the weight you pick should

(1) be moderately challenging: not so heavy that you can’t lift it with proper form and control, and not so light that you could lift it forever,

(2) fatigue your muscles within 8-15 reps, which means you couldn’t possibly lift another repetition in good form beyond that,

(3) vary depending on the exercise and muscle group you are working since some muscles are stronger than others, just as certain exercise are inherently more complex or challenging than others,

(4) continue to change as you get stronger, and this continual progression is what improves your strength over time and boosts your fitness level.

 

There you have it! Any question?

 

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My Best Advice and Opinion

People always give you advice and opinions: you really should do this, or that, or don’t ever listen to him…blah blah blah… and many of us don’t really want any advice; we are happy doing just what we want to do, what we think works best for us. And that really isn’t a bad way to live!

But sometimes, advice is useful. And if today you want some, for whatever it’s worth, here are some of mine as far as health and fitness. And some of my opinions as well.

1.Exercising is one of the kindness things you can do for yourself. When you exercise, you remind your body what it was made to do, and you remind yourself that movement feels good. And when you exercise, you are giving yourself a better quality of life for now and for all of your tomorrows.

2.Perfection is an illusion. It matters very much that you should do your best at all of life, from how you talk to your kids to how you do a squat, but the fact that you are not perfect at it and that you blow it just announces to all of us that you are human. And we already knew that. Maybe it announces it to you?

3.If you aren’t happy with your body do something about it, but love it always. There is a big difference between taking action because you desire a change, and taking action because you hate yourself and you won’t be satisfied until you see the change. There is a good chance that the change will come if you apply yourself, but if that change is what makes you love yourself, your view is a bit skewed, don’t you think? Let’s do what we do because we are worth it now, not so that we can be worth something later.

4.Eat REAL food. If your grand’ma would not recognize the ingredients, it’s probably not real. In the “olden days,” they ate what they picked from a tree, dug from the ground, fished, killed, grew… and they were healthier, happier, and had a whole lot less obesity issues and mental sicknesses. Just sayin’..

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5.Work hard, stay humble. This one is really, really useful for all of life.

6.Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Smash your scale. This comes back to #3. If you don’t begin by accepting and loving yourself, your foundation is wrong.

7.The type of exercise you enjoy is the type you’ll continue doing. This is a no-brainer. Find out what you like to do and stick with it. Go ahead and experiment with lots of stuff, but don’t make yourself hate what you are doing; you won’t stick to it!

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8.You are your own worst critic. Relax a bit. Nobody is perfect. We are all on the same journey.

9.Friends don’t let friends fat talk. Reread #6. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Don’t let people put you down; it’s not funny. Make sure your friends celebrate you rather than degrade you.

10.Modesty is sexy. Like I said, it’s my opinion; take it or leave it.

11. You are beautiful. Every part of you, even those you don’t love.

That’s it… Do you have any advice/opinion to add to my list?

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