Weight training is the most commonly overlooked component to fat loss, especially among females. It is a very important component in achieving your fitness goal, whether you are male or female. Weight training will create a need for the body to preserve or increase lean muscle tissue. This is important because calories and fat are burned by muscle tissue. So if you lose muscle while dieting, you won’t be able to burn as much fat. Therefore, the more muscle you keep or gain (depending on your goal), the more calories and fat you can burn. Training with weights burns a tremendous amount of calories and can increase your resting metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn while at rest). Weight training actually has a greater effect on your metabolism than cardiovascular exercise.
Weight Training Starting GuidelinesChoosing the appropriate weight training program is completely dependent on the individual’s personal goals, current fitness level, physical capabilities and limitations.
If you have the ability to hire a Personal Fitness Trainer, I highly recommend it. Even if you only meet with him or her for a few sessions until you feel comfortable on your own. Most health clubs offer complimentary introductory training sessions to help you get acquainted with the machines.
Novice – Goal: Lose Body Fat
Begin with 1 to 2 days of weight lifting per week. Do 2 to 3 sets per exercise for 10-15 repetitions. You may train your total body all in one day or split it into two parts, upper and lower. For a split routine, train your lower body one day, take a day or two off and then train your upper body the next time you train with weights. This will help prevent muscle loss during your diet and increase your muscle tone.
Novice – Goal: Lose Body Fat and Increase Muscle
If your overall goal is to noticeably increase your muscle tone or slightly increase your lean muscle mass. It would be ideal for you to train with weights 2-3 times per week. A typical weight training session for the Novice will last a maximum of 30 minutes.
Here are some general guidelines for the Novice weight trainer:
- Train each body part 1 to 2 times per week.
- Chose a weight that allows you to get at least 10 repetitions.
- Do not exceed 6 sets to fatigue for the small body parts (i.e., biceps, triceps, calves, etc.), and 8 sets to fatigue for the large body parts (i.e., chest, back, shoulders, legs, etc.). Note: A Novice should not train to muscular failure.
- Train a maximum of 30 minutes per session no more than 3 days per week to prevent overtraining.
Intermediate to Advanced Weight Training
Intermediate to Advanced – Goal: Lose Fat and Increase Muscle
Begin with 3 to 4 days per week of weight training. Depending on your current fitness level and goals, you will want to split your workout up into separate body parts, training them 1 to 2 times per week. If your goal is to gain as much muscle as possible, you will not want to train each body part more than once per week.
More is not necessarily better. Overtraining is the most common mistake made by weight trainers. By working the muscle too hard and not giving it enough time to recover, you can do more damage than good and lose lean muscle tissue. Never train a body part if it is still sore from a previous workout.
Here are some of the general guidelines for the advanced weight trainer who’s goal is to gain muscle:
- Train each body part one time per week to failure.
- Choose a weight that causes failure or fatigue between 6 to 10 repetitions.
- Do not exceed 9 sets to failure for the small body parts (i.e., biceps, triceps, calves, etc.), and 12 sets to failure for the large body parts (i.e., chest, back, shoulders, quads, etc.).
- Train a maximum of 60 minutes per session no more than 5 days per week to prevent overtraining.
This section is a bit light on the details of weight training. How does lifting weights increase muscle? What are the advantages/disadvantages of free weights and machines? What’s the difference between dumbbells and barbells? Am I supposed to get sore? How long does soreness last? You will find more complete and instructional information in the “Articles Section”.
For detailed sample workout programs, visit the “Weight Training Sample Workouts” section, Coming Soon! And be sure to check back for training videos, also Coming Soon!!
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