Fitness Tip! How To Start A Resistance Training Program

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The most common challenge that fitness beginners face when starting a resistance training program is where to start.

Should they begin with:

  • Barbells?
  • Dumbbells?
  • Machines?
  • Suspension Trainers?
  • Or something else?

They know they have to do something to get healthy and fit but they’re not sure how.  They know that strength training is one of the best ways to get strong but it can be discouraging because of the overwhelming amount of information out there. The danger of course is that if our fitness beginner starts off the wrong way things can become dangerous, causing potential injuries and ultimately giving up.

We don’t want that.

So where do we begin?

Fitness-Tips-For-Beginners-Push-Ups

YOUR BEGINNING PROGRAM

Once you’ve gotten your medical doctors approval to begin a strength training program, the next step is to pick the correct method.  It’s my advice that you begin by starting with the 3 big body weight exercises before picking up dumbbells or barbells or even using resistance machines.  My top 3 body weight exercises are:

  1. Push ups
  2. Squats
  3. Sit ups

Once you’ve properly warmed up for 3-5 minutes doing stretches, marching in place, jumping jacks and/or lateral arm swings, start your strength program.

Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 reps of each of the exercises (push ups, squats and sit ups).  Rest for 30-60 seconds in between each set – more if necessary.  For push ups, put your knees on the floor if you need to adjust the exercise to make it easier.  Don’t worry, you’ll build up strength quickly if you’re consistent with this program, get adequate rest and eat a proper diet.

You can do this program, 2-3 times a week for 3-4 weeks.  Work up to 3 sets on each of the exercises.  If you can get one set to start out – GREAT!  You’re on your way. Never get down or disappointed just stay consistent doing the program until you can do 3 sets of 8-10 reps of each of the three exercises.

Making the decision to do master this program will enable you to take a GIANT leap towards a stronger, fitter, healthier body.  The program above will take you less than 11 minutes so there is no excuse for claiming a lack of time.  And remember – you’re only doing this program 2-3 times a week.

YOU’VE DECIDED TO CHANGE

“Weakness is a crime” so said Bernarr MacFadden, considered by many to be the “Father of Fitness”.  He may be right – but who cares? Each day you’re getting stronger.  With each rep, it’s becoming a healthy habit and your body will love you for taking care of it.  In life, we’re all either getting stronger or weaker.  And now that you’ve committed to strengthening your body, you’ve unlocked the ability to deal with your physical weakness as well as any mental challenges that life will surely hand out.

You’re now an athlete now.  You’re working towards a goal.  The goal?

3 sets of push ups, 3 sets of squats and 3 sets of sit ups doing 8-10 reps of each.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

It’s important to keep it simple when starting out.  If a strength program is too complicated, fitness beginners are bound to become disallusioned and give up.

But not you.  You’ve got the knowledge, the time and the desire.  You’re going to mark your calendar for the upcoming week.  Mark each of the 2-3 days that you’re going to do this program and then do it.  No excuses.  You’ve got a simple plan, now follow it.

I hope these tips will help you become clear and focused.  Life is all about deciding to make a change and then committing to it.  Try the program above and then let me know in the comments below what you think. I’m here to help.  Speaking of which, I made a video below just for you to expand on this article.  Enjoy!

- Scott

P.S.  Check out the top 6 beginner exercises page on this site to see a visual of the 3 exercises mentioned in this strength training program.

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10 Stretching Fitness Tips For Beginners

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Before exercise, it’s important to warm-up and stretch to get the most out of the workout.  Stretching helps you focus, loosens up the body and raises the body temperature which is a signal that the body is ready for physical activity.  There are also a number of precautionary measures and tips to serve as guidelines when working out.  Here are 10 of them.

1.  To increase your flexibility and to avoid injuries, stretch before and after the workout.  Almost everyone knows that stretching before workout prevents injuries during the exercises, but a smaller number of people know that stretching after the workout, when muscles are still warm, can increase flexibility.

2.  Hold your stretching position for up to 60 seconds to increase flexibility.  While holding your position for 20 seconds is enough for warm ups, holding each position for up to 60 seconds will develop the body’s flexibility.

fitness-tips-for-beginners

3.  Do not go into a stretching position then immediately return to the relaxed position, and do it repeatedly.  This is more appropriately termed as bouncing while in a position.  When stretching, hold that position for several seconds, and then slowly relax.  You may do this exercise repeatedly this way.  Bouncing or forcing yourself into a position during stretching can strain or tweak muscles.

4.  Work slowly in small movements instead of immediately proceeding to doing the hardest exercise or position.

5.  Make sure that you have stretched or warmed up all muscle groups.  For some people, even if they have strong bodies, they tend to neglect the neck when working out of stretching.  Stretching the neck muscles can be as simple as placing the palm of one’s hand against the front of the head and pushing it.  Then, do the same to the sides and the back of the head.

6.  Stretch regularly to continually increase your range of movement and your level of flexibility and strength.

7.  Workout considering only your capabilities and not of others.  Do not force yourself to do exercises that you are not yet capable of just because there are people who can do it.  Increase your limits slowly.  Listen to your body.

8.  Learn to rest.  Rest in between sets to make sure that the body has enough time to recover.  Also, it is advisable that you don’t work the same muscle groups consecutively for two days.  The muscles grow during the period when you rest and not when you are working out.  Definitely stretch those muscles on your off days – it will speed up recovery and it will feel great!

9.  Do aerobic exercises to strengthen your heart.  Aerobic exercises are those physical activities that use oxygen for fuel.  This includes cardiovascular exercises such as skipping rope, running or swimming.  Be sure to stretch for a few minutes before cardio.

10.  Music may help you when you want to train for longer periods or to increase your intensity.  You can use mp3 players, CD players or your smart phone for this.  Relaxing music during stretching is a great way to finish up the workout.

Apart from preventing injuries and increasing one’s flexibility, stretching is good not only for the body but also for easing stress.  Let your mind wander, visualize a calm, stress free place when stretching.  You’ll learn to really enjoy and look forward to this underutilized activity.

fitness-tips-for-beginners-relaxation

So there you have it, 10 stretching tips for fitness beginners.

 

- Scott

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Beginner Tips For Using Fitness Exercise Balls

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Exercise Balls

Exercise balls are one of the most innovative ways to exercise. The real benefit of these balls, which were introduced by a group of Swiss medical therapists,is to provide support during exercise.

Fitness-Tips-For-Beginners-Proud

Working out with exercise balls will strengthen and tone all of the major muscles of the body. The soft texture of the balls make it an ideal choice for Yoga positions, using dumbbells for muscle toning, or for working out on while using weight training
equipment.

The advantage of exercise balls is that they are durable and maintain shape well under pressure. The documentation with the balls will provide test load figures for how much weight the exercise balls will hold. The advantage here is the fact that the balls provide soft yet firm support that won’t harm your body.

You can find exercise balls in several different colors and finishes.  They are simple to store and you can even roll them under  a table if you prefer.

When you aren’t using them, you can let kids play with them. These balls are very fun for kids, as they are very soft and won’t cause them any harm. Originally developed for use in physical therapy, the exercise ball is used to support the body during exercise. These balls will provide support to the body when you do a specific exercise in a
specific position and still need to maintain the balance. Most exercise balls are made of burst proof latex or other material that is very safe to use.

There are many postures with yoga and muscle toning exercise that can only be done with the help of support. For these postures, exercise balls are quite useful. The exercise balls will introduce an element of stability to the exercise that you
wouldn’t normally get with the floor exercise.

Fitness-Tips-For-Beginners-I-Can-Do-This

Your body responds automatically to the instability to keep balanced on the exercise ball. This will help in strengthening the muscles that aren’t actively participating in exercise.

An exercise is also very useful for physiotherapy treatment. Exercise balls will help to get rid of backache and spinal disorders. The small range of movement and adjustment of balance of the spine that is induced by exercising with the exercise ball will help reduce back pain.

The Swiss ball exercise is for people with back pain to provide them with a simple way to restore movements after an episode of back pain. It also results in improved muscle strength, greater flexibility, and a wide range of motion of the spine during treatment.

- Scott

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Bigger Muscles Burn More Calories

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One of the biggest secrets that fitness beginners should understand right away is that bigger muscles burn more calories.

This doesn’t mean that you have to look like The Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno but you should be trying to build lean tissue (muscle).

Fitness-Tips-For-Beginners-Muscle

Unlike body fat, muscle is an active living tissue.  Muscle burns calories.  Bigger muscles burn more calories even at rest.

That’s huge.

Think about that.

While you’re sleeping or sitting, you’re muscles are burning calories.

You want to build muscle.

This should be a top priority for “fitness beginners” in their quest to get in shape.

Fitness-Tips-For-Beginners-Run

This is an important rule that you should live by whether you are working out, eating or sleeping.  Each of these areas have an effect on your bodies ability to build muscle.

  • Working out – whether it be body weight exercises or strength training, your body will undergo changes during the actual workout.  Tiny tears will occur in the muscle being worked during the workout if enough intensity is used.  And you should most definitely use enough intensity during your workout.  The body’s defense mechanism is to repair those tiny muscle  tears by “growing” thicker.  As a result, the muscle grows larger.
  • Eating – This is important of course not only to satisfy our  appetite but to supply our body with the correct nourishment to enable and speed up the healing process mentioned above.
  • Sleeping – Sleep is when the actual healing process occurs.  Not enough sleep means you may not have given your body enough time to do it’s healing work.

So building even a quarter of a pound of muscle pays off in many ways but for the focus of this post, it pays off in creating a bigger engine (metabolism) which burns off more calories whether you’re sitting, sleeping or just going about your regular day.

 

 

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20 Minute Workouts For Beginners

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The holidays are upon us and our “to do lists” are only going to increase.

As will our stress levels.

Nothing wrong with stress, it’s part of life. The trick of course is find ways to work out the stress so that it doesn’t cause us health problems or cause us to take things out on others. One of my favorite ways to kick stress to the curb is to lift weights. Any sort of strength training will do. Whether it be body weight squats, push ups, lunges, etc., there is something available to all of us even with our busy schedules.

Since I have a full blown gym in my garage, after my morning parent duties are completed, I make my way down to the gym and do:

  • 10 Broomstick Twists
  • 10 Broomstick Squats
  • 10 Broomstick Stiff Legged Deadlifts
  • 10 Broomstick Shoulder Stretches

This only takes a couple of minutes and it gets me in the right frame of mind to begin my workout. I have a goal board that I look at as I’m doing these warm up exercises – it’s another way to lock into the workouts and focus on my goals.

fitness-tips-for-beginners-goals

 

I always write out the workout the night before. I feel like if I write it down, my mind will prepare me for it as I sleep. Kind of like a computer downloading a program. When I wake up, my work day does not start until after the workout. If I feel like I’m in a big hurry to get through the workout, then I will set a timer for 20 minutes. The clock counts down from 20 minutes to zero and my goal is to finish the workout by the time the countdown is complete.

 

Typically what happens though, is that I’m enjoying the workout so much that I go beyond the 20 minutes and do a little bit more. Working out is enjoyable. It’s stress relief. It’s time to spend with your own thoughts. Alone.

fitness-tips-for-beginners-how-bad

This is how I generally approach my workouts during the week. On the weekends, I get my kids involved in a safe and healthy manner. This really seems to help them stay calm – especially as the holidays approach. Plus it’s fun to hang out with them in the gym. I don’t allow any complaining or whining. Everything is kept positive and fun. I like to think that this routine is setting them up for a lifetime.

To sum up:

  • Write it down
  • Set a timer
  • Make it enjoyable

Have a great day!

- Scott

 

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Quick Medicine Ball Combo Conditioning Workout

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–Quick Medicine Ball Combo Conditioning Combo Workout–

Use a pullup bar (or rings) and a medicine ball.  Place the medicine ball between the feet, holding it securely in place and then jump up to the pull up bar (or rings) and do a pull up.  The second part of the movement involves bringing the knees up (knee raise for abs) while the medicine ball is still positioned between the feet.

That’s one rep.  Have them do 6 reps, then 5 reps, then 4 reps all the way down to 1 rep.  If they drop the ball during the rep, they must start ALL OVER (or just pick up where they left off if you’re feeling nice).

Stick a partner in there with them and do a ladder down rep scheme going from 6-5-4-3-2-1.

fitness-tips-for-beginners-workout

Also shown in this video is cardio squats vs strength squats with a Kettle Bell.

Finally, I like to include bodybuilding type exercises into my bootcamps and this one is dumbbell laterals but with a small tweak.  Watch the video for a demonstration.

Have a great day!

- Scott

 

 

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Lose Weight For Summer

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fitness-tips-for-beginners-summer

Here’s a good basic article for pointers on how to lose weight for Summer.

Keep in mind that there are no quick fixes except perhaps starvation but that’s no fun.

And with starvation, you’ll lose muscle.  This will cause your metabolism (inner calorie burner) to come to a screeching halt.

When your metabolism comes to a halt, you have no energy, you feel lousy and then you overeat.

And become overweight again.

Repeat cycle.

Click the link below to read the article.

http://www.charlespoliquin.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/859/Lose_Weight_for_Summer_Top_Five_Dietary_Tips_For_O.aspx?lang=EN

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10 Questions To Ask Yourself For Weight Loss Success

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If You Want To Get Lean You MUST Know The Answers To These Questions!

by Skip LaCour

1. How many total calories do you eat over the course of the day?

2. How much protein is in your daily diet (grams and percentage)?

3. How many carbohydrates are in your daily diet (grams and percentage)?

4. What types of carbohydrates do you each each day (starchy, sugars, fruits, and fibrous) and when do you eat them?

5. How much fat is in your daily diet (grams and percentage)?

6. How many meals do you divide your daily caloric total into?

7. Do those meals have structured and planned times every day? If so, what are those times?

8. On a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being outstanding; 1 being terrible; 5 being average), just how CONSISTENT are you at following through with this structured eating plan? How long have you been executing your plan at that level (and, do you really think that’s long enough to have reached your goals? Be honest.)

9. Are your “cheat days” and/or “cheat meals” (those days and meals that you eat not-so-healthy, “junk” food structured into your nutritional program) planned in advance? How many of those days and meals are planned? When are those days and meals planned?

10. Do you have this eating program outlined and documented in a computer spreadsheet (or at least have it written down on paper)?

 

Leave your comments, answers below!

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Why You’re Not Losing Weight

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1. “WATCH your sugar intake people. It is just as important as counting calories! Low fat and no fat food items/drinks are LOADED with sugar. Keep in mind that everything is made of sugar. So if the sugar is already high in the foods you are eating you are creating even more a problem. Eat low sugar – whole foods!

fitness-tips-for-beginners-think

 

2. Eating healthy and working out and still not losing? EAT MORE! YES, you heard me right! I guarantee that you are active and already eating pretty good to healthy – you are not eating anywhere near the amount of calories that your bodies needs. I am talking about healthy whole foods! Stay away from all that processed garbage! Your body is gonna go into storage mode if it is not getting the nutrients it needs! Eat more and watch the weight come off!

 

3. Eat smaller meals throughout the day. (I eat a minimum of 6 meals) This will keep your metabolism running at full speed.

 

4. Try juicing! Your body is CRAVING REAL nutrients that is is not getting from all that processed garbage. Your body will thank you for it and you will feel great and have so much more energy!

 

5. Exercise! Simply walking up the street with your girlfriends is not gonna cut it. You need to keep your heart rate up for a specific amount of time for you to start burning calories.

 

6. Keep in mind that once you develop fat cells in your body – they are there for LIFE… UNLESS you get them sucked out. Thats the only way! Think of it this way… fat cells are like balloons. They are blown up and then when you lose weight then simply deflate… YET… they are still in your body. The fat cells GOAL in life if to BE a FAT CELL so it is going to constantly send signals out to your brain to “Feed me… feed me!” This is why SO many people struggling with the up and down weight loss and gain.”

note – I found this response online on a yahoo website and thought it summed up pretty much what I would have said.

- Scott

 

 

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How To Deal With Hunger

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One of the biggest questions, beginners have is “How do I deal with hunger?”

When trying to lose weight, hunger will set in from time to time in between meals.

And this can be a dangerous time, if you don’t know how to deal with it.

Fitness-Tips-For-Beginners-Crave

Temptation sets in.

You eat a cookie…and then another…and another.

Before you know it, half the package is gone and the last few days hard work is ruined.

Here are some fitness tips for beginners who need some ideas of what they can eat when hunger sets in.

  • Air-Popped popcorn with “I Can`t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray + water
  • rice cakes with sugar-free jelly + water
  • Sugar Free Jello
  • repeatedly brushing your teeth when cravings hit (it works,trust me)
  • salad with fat free low sugar dressing + water
  • Crystal-Lite
  • 1-2 Tbsp. natural PB + water (fat satiates your appetite)
  • Drink a ton of water
  • Celery sticks or carrot sticks + water
  • Coffee
  • Exercise
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Gum (sugar free)

These are some quick ideas off of the top of my head.

They work.

Hunger should NOT be part of your day IF you’re eating several small meals spaced out every two and half to three hours.

Small meals mean anywhere from 100 calories (apple) to 500 calories (full meal).

Chew your food slowly for optimal digestion and enjoyment.

Focus on protein.

Protein is more filling and will help you to retain muscle (lean tissue) while losing fat.

Once you master the occasional hunger pangs, you’ll be on the way to accomplishing your fitness goals whether it be fitting into that new bathing suit, looking great for a photo shoot or vacationing with friends or family.

Leave your ideas below on how you deal with hunger in a healthy way.

Others will benefit from your comments.

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