Categories: Mindset, Movement

Beginning strength training: 5 things you need to know before hitting the gym

Categories

Share

What is Strength Training?

Strength training is a methodical way of increasing muscular endurance and strength, by using an opposing force (resistance) to slowly condition your muscles to function more effectively. Simply put, when your muscles have to work against an internal or external force, it gets conditioned to respond better to the said force. That is why the increase in strength happens over time and the principles of repetition and progression are very important.

If you’re new to the concept of strength training and don’t quite know where to start, this blog post will help you take the leap of faith and finally step into one of the best training modalities that exist out there. Because in the sea of fitness misinformation and fads, strength training really stands its ground.

So, without further ado, let’s dive straight into the topic, and go through 5 important points you should take note of before you start hitting the gym!

#1 Strength training is one of the best ways to lose weight, increase muscle tone, and increase joint mobility, creating an overall healthy body.

Strength training is not just about aesthetics. While looking good can be a motivating factor, the real benefits of strength training go way deeper than what you see on the surface level. Strength training creates well-conditioned muscles and strong bones, helps with posture and functional movements, and even goes so far as to help slow down the aging process.

The strengthening of muscles happens on multiple levels. Over time, you’ll not only see a reduction in your fat levels, but your muscles will have more definition and stamina, and your bones healthier and denser.

One of the best things about strength training is the role it plays in corrective exercise and posture correction. When your muscles are strong and working to the best of their ability, your body is essentially recruiting the correct muscles for a specific movement. When your muscles are not working optimally, your body will kick into a compensatory mode, recruiting muscles that are not suited for a particular range of motion. That leads to a muscular imbalance that can lead to chronic pain and a lot of other health problems.

Strength training helps in correcting these imbalances by making sure the right kind of muscles is being used for the right kind of movement patterns.

#2 Strength training doesn’t necessarily involve lifting weights.

Adding resistance doesn’t necessarily involve lifting heavy. Resistance in its simplest form can be formed using your own bodyweight. Yes, it is possible to get a well-rounded exercise routine by simply using your body weight. Exercise modalities can range from Calisthenics, Isometric, or Plyometric, each conditioning your muscles in a different but highly effective way.

Bodyweight strength training has loads of functional benefits. For those just starting out, using bodyweight exercises are great for familiarizing yourself with the movement patterns. We recommend adding external weight only when you’ve learned the right form for the exercise and can go through the entire range of motion comfortably and without compensation.

Proper form and execution are the cornerstones of functional fitness and overall stability, and strength training helps develop both.

Similarly, you don’t need a gym to strength train. You can do it at home, while traveling, and pretty much anywhere! Subscribe to our Youtube Channel and Workout with Coach Tameika & Coach Whitney!

#3 You won’t bulk up just because you strength train or lift weights

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding strength training is that it automatically makes you bulk up. That’s a myth. Bulking up or putting on considerable amounts of muscle mass depends on a variety of different factors. A lot of these factors have to come together and be repeated regularly over a period of time to see any sizeable change. That includes nutrition, supplements, genetic and environmental factors, and specific training models to name only a few!

If bulking up was so easy, bodybuilding wouldn’t be nearly as difficult and time-consuming as it is!

#4 Strength training is extremely scalable in terms of intensity and resistance and can be done by adding resistance through various kinds of equipment

If you want to move on to adding external resistance (and we only recommend this when you’re able to stick to proper form through the entire range of motion), there are multiple ways of going about it in terms of equipment.

The first choice is obviously weights for most people. You can use weights in the form of dumbbells and/or barbells. A lot of us struggle with finding a gym everywhere we go when we travel. Especially if you travel frequently for work, for example, you may be looking for a more sustainable solution.

Of course, you can look for accommodations that either have a gym attached or has one in the vicinity. However, you can also use resistance bands that are easy and lightweight to pack, but very effective in giving you a wholesome workout that targets your muscles from all angles!

Resistance bands are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can use in resistance training. They come in various levels of resistance, different styles such as loop bands or tube bands, and also for specific parts of the body (booty bands for example). If you’re using bands for glute activation or lower body work, a fabric band is a better choice over latex/rubber ones.

Other equipment for strength training includes ankle/wrist weights, weighted vests, etc. You can add in cardiovascular exercises if you’re using vests for a more well-rounded strengthening routine. Hikers or mountain athletes are known to use heavy books in their rucksacks to add in more resistance and improve cardiovascular effectiveness.

The options are truly endless when it comes to adding resistance, and you can easily improvise with objects lying around. Just be sure to keep in mind safety precautions.

#5 You need a holistic lifestyle across all areas to see the real benefits of strength training

This is the last point and helps to bring together everything else we spoke about earlier. Just like any other kind of fitness program, strength training works best when combined with a solid foundation based on wellness principles. You need a holistic lifestyle with proper nutrition, plenty of restful sleep and relaxation, effective stress management techniques, and enough time for self-care to see sustainable results.

Just focusing on any one of these principles won’t create the long-lasting change that you are looking for.

Effective program design considers all of these aspects of good health and ties it together to give you the results you desire.

At the Whole Experience, we believe in creating effective programs that are rooted in tried and tested research and executed by experts in the field. When you train with us, we help you transform yourself from the inside out!

If you want to break your unhealthy lifestyle patterns for good and replace them with sustainable changes and habits that create real change, join our waitlist for our upcoming fitness programs here.

 

To sum it all up, any kind of training program that you follow should not only help you meet your aesthetic, surface-level goals but more importantly lead to long-term functional benefits. Moving with ease is truly a gift and finding joy in movement is the way to go! And movement can be structured or unstructured, can be done without depending on equipment, and is an essential part of our lives. So, try to build a foundation of listening to your body’s wisdom and moving with grace before adding external resistance to create a workout plan that truly transforms you on every level!

Related articles