I still remember the first time I touched a barbell – and it wasn’t pretty.
I was too weak to be messing around with such a heavy piece of equipment (and to be frank, I didn’t know what I was doing so I shouldn’t have been touching it anyways). I was insecure and didn’t know what the purpose of lifting weights was.
Fast forward about 7 years, and while I still have a lot to learn, I’ve learned some key things over time:
1. Rest is Underrated
It’s natural to want to work hard and feel like you have to sweat a lot to feel like you got a great workout. But, this isn’t true. Sweating is overrated (not to say you won’t sweat when lifting)! Learn to rest when strength training, as it gives your muscles time to recover so that you can perform higher quality sets, gain more strength, and build a stronger body.
2. Being overly sore is overrated
Some soreness is good, but the law of diminishing returns applies. Excessive soreness prevents you from achieving quality workouts on subsequent days. Building a stronger body over time should be the long-term goal, not crippling yourself so that you can barely move the following day.
Remember, working out should be additive to your life and not taking away from it.
3. Consistency is key
I’m impatient. It’s who I am. But strength training has forced me to revisit this part of my personality. I wanted and still want to fast forward results and do everything possible to expedite my progress. BUT, more is NOT better.
Doing 2-a-days, 5 days a week isn’t necessary to see change. It could lead to injury and actually go against your goals. It takes time to create adaptation – months and years, in fact. Strength training will create a denser body. If mass stays the same, this means less volume or overall size, which explains why clothes typically start hanging off of people even though body weight on the scale might not change.
Seek to strength train at least 3 days a week, every week, and you’ll accomplish the changes you so want.
4. You can’t out train a bad diet
Diet is equally, if not more important than strength training for physique purposes. The person who consumes a nutritious, healthy diet and stays active will have a better physique than the person who trains hard but eats complete crap, even if this person doesn’t lift weights.
You need to make sure you’re regularly consuming the proper number of calories and the proper ratios of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Many individuals regularly consume too many calories, too much sugar, and too much saturated fat. Don’t get me wrong, a healthy diet has room for sugar and fat, but you can’t just eat whatever the heck you want and expect to possess a great physique.
These are just a few things I’ve learned over the years. Is there anything you’ve learned that’s not on the list?
-Coach Juhi Amin Ryan