I really enjoy lifting weights and getting stronger. But I really dislike seeing people that have no idea what to do to reach their goals. They are essentially wasting hours upon hours in the gym to make little to no progress (Getting just enough soreness to think you are making progress; but soreness is not a good indicator of progress). So here are some of the very basic principles of lifting (both guys and girls should lift. Don’t be fooled.) to help you out, so you too don’t waste your time. Remember: Keep it Simple!
1) Warm-up: foam rolling (if you don’t have one of these, you need to get one asap!), static stretching, and jump roping (or something similar).
Most people completely skip this crucial step. By skipping this, you are sabotaging your strength gains as well as putting yourself at risk for injury. I always do all three of those listed before lifting, and continue to add new stretches and warm-up/rehab techniques to my repertoire. The Foam Roller has been called the “poor man’s massage” for good reason, it works! Don’t worry about the static stretching sapping your strength; if you still jump rope and do warm up sets before you lift, you will not lose any strength.
2) Lift Weights: Keep it basic and strong.
I personally switch my style of working out around every few months to avoid boredom, but the same principles will always remain. In order to reach any of your goals, whatever it may be, you must get stronger. The best way of getting stronger is adding weight to the bar. I have fallen in love with Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program, as have many others. I suggest giving it a try; it is well worth the $20. Plus adding more muscle means more calories burned; even at rest!
As for exercises, always use multi-jointed exercises like squats, deadlifts, military presses, dips, pushups, chin-ups, rows, and cleans. These exercises will never fail you. If you devoted one year to just getting as strong as possible in all of these exercises, you would be light years ahead of every other person in the gym. Always stick with the big compound exercises. Always.
As for frequency of lifting, there is no reason to ever lift more than 4 days a week. Unless you are doing less than 4 sets total per workout, I would suggest staying in the 3 to 4 days a week window. Don’t forget you must give your body time to recover!
3) Condition: Sprint, Complexes, carry/push heavy stuff for time.
Conditioning is actually a lot simpler than people make it out to be. Just go outside and sprint up a hill near you 20 times. Do this 3 times a week and you will never have to worry about eating that last piece of pie. But of course that is really hard; a lot harder than reading while you chill out on that exercise bike for an hour. I will let you in on a secret here… getting in shape is hard! Life is hard! Why in the world would extraordinary results be achieved through laziness?
Strength and Conditioning is something we should all attain to have. The church in general has ignored obesity for far too long. We have ignored the fact that God has called us to a healthy lifestyle. We need to keep our body healthy; it is not ours after all. And it’s about time we decided to help some people become disciplined and self-controlled. If you stick to the very basics, you will have no trouble staying in shape.
So what about you? What are you doing to stay in shape? Or do you have any questions for me?