Exercise – Where Do I Begin?

The first step to any exercise program is the decision to start! Making a commitment to yourself to become more active will require a lifestyle change, but it’s one of the best commitments you can make for your health. Once you’ve made that decision, where do you begin? Sometimes that thought can overwhelm us, causing us to give up before we’ve even started. There are so many things to choose from!

Here are some tips to beginning an exercise program that is right for you: Continue reading “Exercise – Where Do I Begin?”

Strength Training is for Everyone (Part Four)

Your lower body has your large muscles.  Strength training your large muscles burns a lot more calories than working your small muscles.  This routine is different in that it is not a circuit.  You will want to do 2-3 sets of each exercise, with 1-2 minutes of rest in between. With the lower body, you can actually complete these exercises with no weight at all.  Start with little to none, and then progress to adding weight.

Squat, Wide Leg Squat, Sumo Squat, Walking Lunges, 3-way Calf Raises, Alternating Side Lunges, Wall Squat

Again, make sure you have at least one full day’s rest before working the same muscle groups again. And don’t forget your cardio! You now have a simple plan to begin a strength training program. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Strength Training is for Everyone (Part Three)

We know that strength training is extremely beneficial for everyone.  You have decided to either join a gym, or purchase equipment for in-home use.  So now what? Now you need a plan.  The easiest way to start is to have a routine for upper body, and a routine for lower body.  Once you get used to these programs, you can separate out body parts and add more exercises.  I am going to lay out a simple upper body workout that can easily be done in the gym or at home.

It is do be done in circuit form – each exercise in the circuit is done back to back with no rest. Rest for a couple minutes and drink some water in between each circuit. This keeps your workouts short, and keeps your heart rate up adding cardio to it. The pattern is shoulders, biceps, tripceps, chest and back. I have done three circuits in this workout.  At the beginning do each circuit through one time.  Once it becomes easy, repeat each circuit twice.  Make sure you have at least one day rest before working the same muscles again. To choose your weight on each exercise, keep your reps between 10 and 15. This means you should cause muscle fatigue by rep 15. If you can do more, you need a heavier weight.  If you can’t get to 10, you might need to lighten your weight.

Circuit One: Shoulder Press, Bicep Curls, Overhead Tricep Raise, Wide Arm Push Ups, Lawn Mowers

Circuit Two: Upright Rows, In-Out Bicep Curls, Bent Over Tricep Kick-backs, Basic Push Ups, Heavy Pants

Circuit Three: Straight Arm Front-Side Raise, Alternating Corkscrew Bicep Curls, Lying Down Tricep Extensions, Diamond Push Ups, Flys

This is a simple way to start.  Once you can get through each circuit twice easily, it’s time to change it up.  It’s important to always change your workouts to keep your muscles guessing and changing. You can google the exercises to see instructional pictures or videos, or feel free to contact me for one on one help.

Stay tuned for Part Four to get your lower body routine.

Strength Training is for Everyone (Part Two)

I talked in part one about the benefits of strength training for women. So how do you start a strength training program? The two most popular options when deciding how to begin are – 1. Joining a Gym, 2. Purchasing weights or resistance bands for home use. There are different benefits to each choice, and you just have to decide your personal preference.

Benefits to joining a gym:  Gyms offer state of the art equipment, and they maintain it. Many gyms offer trainers to help you learn to use the equipment. At a gym, you will have the choice of free weights and machines.  Other people will be at the gym working out, which can be a motivator to some. Gyms do cost money, but several major gym chains are now offering very low monthly prices with no contracts.

Benefits of a home gym:  It’s open 24 hours a day! You can workout whenever you choose – no childcare needed – in your pjs if you want! There will not be other people working out, which is an intimidator to some.  The best benefit is that its FREE!

Whichever you decide is best for you can produce amazing results!  If you choose to purchase your own equipment for home use, what do you need? To get started, I would recommend getting three sizes of dumbbells – 10 lb, 12 lb, and 15 lb.  If you can only buy one set at a time, start with 10 lb. Another good option is to purchase resistance bands.  There are different sized bands that offer different resistance. Start by purchasing the lightest. That’s all you need to get started!

Now that you’ve got what you need to get started, we will look at different beginning strength training routines.  Part three will give you an upper body routine, and part four will look at some lower body exercises.

Strength Training is for Everyone (Part One)

I will be doing a 4 part series on Weight Training for Women. Part One:

Typically, weight lifting is associated with guys and jocks, but strength training benefits EVERYONE – men, women, young and old! With a regular strength training program, you can reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently. Women, in particular, see tremendous benefits from strength training.

Traditionally, women have relied on low-calorie diets and cardiovascular exercises to change their bodies.  But this alone can be a dangerous habit that slows the metabolism and causes injury.  Strength training is absolutely necessary if we want to see visual changes in our bodies more quickly. Women further benefit from strength training because of the increase in resting metabolism created by strength training. Because of this increase, women who are trying to reduce bodyfat will do so more easily. When done sufficiently and consistently, strength training increases muscle fiber size. Once muscle fibers enlarge, they consume more energy – which boosts our metabolisms.

Many women are afraid of weight training because they fear building large, unattractive muscles. However, the majority of women cannot build large muscles simply because of genetics.  Lifting lighter weights with higher reps keeps your muscles lean.  However, most women lift too light in fear of building too much muscle.  Doing 20 reps with 3-5 lb weights is simply ineffective, and  will keep them from achieving their goal of “toning up”. In order to achieve the toning women want, they must lift heavy enough to create muscle fatigue. Muscle fatigue or failure means that you are unable to do another rep with correct form. Even working their muscles to extreme fatigue will not create large muscles in women due to their lack of testosterone.

Strength training does not require a lot of equipment or time. Free weights, resistance bands, and your own body weight are some options for at home training.  Gyms have an array of weight machine options. Women who strength train at least 30 minutes every other day should start seeing the benefits of resistance training within just a few short weeks. Results from strength training can happen quickly, but not if the majority of a woman’s diet consists of processed foods. A woman who strength trains should ensure she has a healthy diet.

Next: How to get started on a strength training program.