03 Mar 2016
Ask yourself what you want to achieve from your workouts. Slim down? Bulk up? Increase muscle definition? Setting precise goals and realistic timeframes will keep motivation high and provide mental stamina for the long haul.
Keep your goals top of mind. Stay focussed, honour your health and celebrate achievements along the way. Radical results won’t happen overnight, but you will see improvements straight away – energy levels will increase and you’ll radiate a positive mental attitude. Stick it out for a month or two and that confidence charger ‘hypertrophy’ will kick in. Your muscles will grow and your body shape will start to improve.
Lifting lighter weights with more reps will tone muscles and prepare your body for a committed exercise regime. Watch resting periods during training (most people aim for between 30 and 90 seconds), don’t lift every day (muscles need at least two days of rest to heal) and get plenty of sleep.
As a beginner, don’t think your body needs a ton of different exercises to ‘shock your muscles’ or that every muscle must be worked individually. Focus on a few basic exercises and master your technique. If you’re a gym goer, classes with an experienced instructor are an ideal starting point and when you’re ready to go solo, make sure you have access to a squat rack, bench and barbells.
Your primary goal is to increase your base level of strength. As a beginner, you’ll notice initial improvements due to neural adaptations and as you become stronger, will experience the endorphin-laden buzz of positive progress. Don’t get stuck in a routine where you’re lifting the same amount. Maintain consistency, gradually increase the weight and keep the reps low so that muscle tension is maintained.
Muscle groups include your lower body, mid-body and upper body. Vary workouts so you’re not exhausting one particular group and gain the maximum benefits from your training. Each routine should also have a variety of leg, push and pull exercises and a few ab-toners that will guarantee a rock-hard core.
Stretching before and after lifting will help you avoid muscle pain the next day and flexing between lifts will keep blood flowing and energy levels high. Check your posture is correct during lifting, as poor technique can lead to debilitating injuries, both chronic and acute.
Finally, it’s essential that you partner your exercise with a clean and corrective nutrition plan.
Your nutrition plan should allow the body to grow more muscle with protein, gain sufficient energy from fats and carbohydrates and still shed excess weight.
To have an appropriate nutrition plan developed for your specific goals, it is advised you seek assistance from a professional within this field, including a sports nutritionist for a prescribed dietary plans.
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