Thursday, June 24, 2010

Solid Gold

Some of our members have been weight training for years and others are just now considering whether it is a good addition to their fitness program. Either way
there are all sorts of misunderstandings surrounding the subject of strength training that may keep you from setting realistic goals or achieving the gains you desire. Here are just a few tips to consider.

One very important concept to understand is that it is easier for some people to build muscle than it is for others. There is a genetic component to developing strength and muscle. Even two people of the same gender, age and similar body types can show quite different results while doing the exact same training. Scientists call this “individual response” and to many it just seems unfair. There is no one machine or piece of equipment that will develop “long lean” muscles. There is also no easy, one size fits all, formula for “bulking up”. Genetics (and gender) play a huge role in determining your ultimate progress towards your goals. The areas you can manipulate are the types of exercises you select, type of resistance you use, number of reps, how much resistance you work with and how often you train.

Strength training to spot reduce is also impossible. Using machines, free weights or hundreds of exercises focusing on one problem area will not get rid of “targeted” extra fat. To achieve fat loss you must burn more calories than you take in. The unfortunate fact is that we can’t dictate where the fat burning takes place in our body. The good news is that you can spot-tone. Resistance training can do more to reshape your body than any other type of training. By building up underlying muscles you will find that your problem areas can take on a totally new look and feel. You can achieve more solid, less jiggle. By incorporating both strength training and cardio into your weekly program you are maximizing your potential for positive change. On top of this you need to recognize that good nutrition and conscious diet control help the new contours come to the surface.

So much of the decline of our health and wellness is a result of muscle loss. This becomes more and more evident as we age. It is very important to recognize that strong muscles help us maintain balanced and erect posture, helps to minimize many orthopedic problems due to weakness or imbalance and generally just keeps us “greased up” as my physical therapist likes to say. Most problems seem to multiply or magnify when we stop moving. It’s a challenge sometimes finding the ultimate in smart, safe training especially when you are trying to push yourself. Incorrect technique, too much too soon, or simply over-doing things without the “armor” of bone, joint, and tissue strength and resiliency can lead you to the conclusion that getting fit leads to injury. It all comes down to smart, balanced and progressive training.

There is always so much to learn in the area of fitness and training. The best thing you can do is get started! Once that happens, be patient and persistent, focus on your own progress, acknowledge your successes, and always take note of where you started to see how far you’ve come.

~ Kari

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