Looking to transform your body? Weight training could lead you on a successful path to toning and trimming your physique. Make no mistake — cardio is perfect for losing weight and staying healthy. However, it does little to vanquish those small rolls of flab around your midsection, extra arm fat, or fat around your thighs or butt. (NOTE: “extra fat” doesn’t necessarily equal being overweight, it just means you’re not as toned as you soon will be!)
The best way to truly get toned and eliminate your problem areas is through weight training.
When you think of weight training, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Muscle bound meatheads in tank tops? Lots of grunting and groaning? Bench pressing obscene amounts of weight? In reality, weight training can be much more user friendly than what these stereotypes would lead you to believe. Nowadays, most fitness centers feature rows of easy to use machines and lower weight dumbells. Even if you don’t belong to a gym, you can always get a few sets of dumbells and workout at home. Use the following tips and transform your body with weight traning.
Tip #1 – Keep a Log
There are countless weight training routines and programs you can look into. No matter which one you pick, make a plan and stick with it. The best way to do this is by keeping a work out log. Get a notebook, and write down the amount of sets, reps, and weight for each set. Maintaining a log has several benefits. First, it’s a great way to monitor your progress. Speaking from personal experience, it’s very motivating to see steady improvement. Second, it’s far easier know exactly what kind of sets/reps/weight to use for each exercise instead of keeping it all in your head.
Tip #2 – Mix It Up
Although it’s good to have a routine, you don’t want to be doing the same exact exercises for months on end. When your body gets used to moving in the same way, you will eventually plateau. To avoid this, switch exercises at least every three months or so. This isn’t a hard and fast rule — as soon as you sense your body adapting to a exercises, swap them out for different ones.
Tip #3 – Use Proper Form
The next time you go the gym, look at the way people are lifting weights. Chances are, the vast majority of people are using poor form. It’s a natural tendency to want to lift more weight. In order to do this, many people cheat and jerk the weight too fast, don’t move the weight through the full range of motion, or bend their back.
Here are a few general tips:
- count to 5 when lowering the weight
- make sure you raise and lower weight as far as you comfortably can
- keep your back straight
- for certain exercises, like bicep curls, stand against the wall for support
Tip #4 – Work All Muscle Groups
Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it should be ignored. You should do just about as many exercises for one area as its opposite. For example, if you do two exercises for your chest, then do two for your back. Another way to think about it is push versus pull. If you do one “pushing” exercise, do a “pulling” that works the opposing muscle group. For example, bicep curls would be the “pulling” exercise, and tricep kick backs would be the “pushing” exercise.
Tip #5 – Get a Work Out Buddy
Not only can a work out buddy spot you on certain exercises, but they provide invaluable motivation and moral support as well. Ever have days where you just don’t feel like going to the gym? With a work out partner, you won’t be let off the hook that easy!