So, you want to get into shape? And you’ve heard that resistance training is an amazing way to tone up your body. You’ve purchased your gym membership, and want to make sure you maximize your results. Before you start pumping iron, make sure you avoid these common resistance training mistakes…
Arnold Schwarzenegger syndrome. Most women believe that if they lift weights, they will end up with huge muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is not true. The only way you will end up with mountains of man muscles is to take steroids. I know you’ve seen several women who have so much muscle that they look like men. These women are pumping themselves full of steroids, and other illegal performance enhancing drugs. You will never look like that, so remove this fear from your head and hit the gym!
Fear of big weights. 100 pounds sounds like a lot of weight, doesn’t it? Well, it is a lot of weight, especially for a woman. But this should not keep you from lifting it, if you can. Most women shy away from heavier weight training exercises like squats and deadlift, simply because of the heavy weight involved. The reality is this…heavy weight training exercises are generally the best exercises for toning the areas of your body that you want toned. The best way to fight this fear is by asking for help. Seek out someone in the gym who is squating heavy weight and ask them for advice.
Overuse of machines. Resistance machines are a good way to get your body moving after years of neglect. But if you truly want a toned, fit and eye-catching physique, you need to walk away from the machines and start training with barbells and dumbbells. Barbell and dumbbell training is called free weight training. Free weights are the most efficient resistance training tool if you are seeking to transform your body from fat to fab. It is still OK to supplement your training with machines, but do not let them be your weight training staple.
Avoiding the squat. Most women want an amazing backside, and tight, toned thighs. Want to know an incredible secret? The fastest way to a lower body that turns heads is by performing barbell squats. Squats work your bottom, hips, legs, hamstrings, and more. Squats are hands down the single best exercise for toning your body. 3-6 sets of heavy squats per week, and you’ll be well on your way to your dream body.
Not adding more. Resistance training works very well for the first three months. After that point, the body starts to adapt, and progress becomes more difficult. Unless you start adding more weight. If you continue to train with the same weight over and over again, your resistance training regimen will soon become worthless. It is very difficult to tone (add muscle) to your body, if you don’t try to lift more weight from time to time. So, when you can do 3 sets of 10 repetitions of an exercise, bump the weight up by 5 pounds the next time you hit the gym. But always use good form when lifting.
Avoiding the back. Women tend to avoid back training, and generally, it’s not on purpose. Don’t fall prey to ignorance. A strong back is important, especially over the age of 35. A strong back also helps during pregnancy, and when you have younger children. Deadlifts, dumbbell rows, and pullups are three great exercises that give you overall back strength. And if you can’t do pullups, try assisted pullups, or machine pulldowns.
Avoiding the chest. It is often much harder for a woman to workout her chest using free weights. Men tend to hover around the bench press at the gym as if it were a shrine to testosterone. If your gym is like this, consider making dumbbell bench presses a routine staple. Dumbbell bench presses are an awesome way to tone up your chest, as well as the back of your arms. And, of course, the heavier the weight, the better. Fight flabby arms and a sagging chest by performing presses.
“I just want to tone” syndrome. How many times have you heard someone make this statement…”I don’t use free weights or heavy weights because I just want to tone my body.” Ladies, this is the most important statement I am going to make in this article…you can’t simply do the stair climber or treadmill, cut back on calories, and expect a toned body to be waiting underneath your flab. To have a toned look, you need to add muscle…at least 5 to 10 pounds of muscle. If you don’t use heavy free weight exercises, the only thing you will get after you cut back on calories is a smaller, flabby body. There are plenty of smaller women who have tubby tummies and cottage cheese thighs.
Eating only salads and Subway. When trying to get into shape, women tend to go to extremes. These extremes usually includes eating only veggies, oatmeal, some fruit, and Subway or Lean Cuisine for dinner. The problem with this diet is that it’s short on protein, fat, and calcium. The body needs a minimum level of quality, healthy fats each day. It also needs calcium and protein. Make sure you don’t avoid dairy products altogether. And lastly, make sure you are eating at least 60 grams of protein per day, spread out over at least 4 sittings. Protein is a vital macro nutrient, and helps your body add muscle and maintain a higher metabolism. 60 grams is a low end recommendation. 80-100 grams of protein each day would be even better. This might sound like a ton of calories, but it’s not. 100 grams of protein is only 400 calories of food.
Quitting. Don’t quit. Resistance training is hard, especially during the first several months. Don’t kill yourself in the gym during this time. And whatever you do, never stay more than one hour. Get to know your body, and explore various free weight exercises. Find some folks who have great bodies, and study what they do. Lay their techniques and programs side by side with this article. Drive to the gym, even when you don’t feel like it. Nothing makes you feel better than performing a workout on down days. Surround yourself with magazines, TV shows and people that reinforce your new lifestyle.