Thinking of getting in shape? Have you been contemplating your fitness goals for some time?  

People are taking up weight lifting to succeed various fitness goals. Resistance training tends to be more dynamic and interesting for those who are enthusiastic about fitness. It improves all aspects of your fitness – cardio, strength, endurance, and even mobility. 

Learning about how to perform resistance training properly will allow you to structure your own personalized programs weekly. This involves training each muscle group the correct way and knowing how much time is needed for recovery. Knowing what diet and supplements to include is also important during the recovery process. 
Stages Of Weight Lifting 

Everybody has a different physical response to lifting weights, especially when starting out. 

When a fitness specialist conducts a fitness assessment, they are not only seeing baseline stats of your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health. They are also evaluating how each component of your fitness responds to exercise. This allows them to assess how to target your specific goals, knowing what variations to add to add to your program at the right time. 

There are three stages to how the body physically responds when putting on lean muscle mass:

The Adaption Phase
Growth Phase
Endurance Phase

If you are looking to do a muscle growth or endurance program, you must first commence with the adaptation phase, to make sure your body is ready to out on size, recover and avoid injury.

Getting Your Body Adapted To Exercise

During the adaption phase, your body is learning to respond to weight training. This phase takes approximately 1-2 months. This stage takes a lot of mental strength. People can get frustrated of their current limitations and where they should be with their current fitness. To add to that, there is a lot of pain when muscle groups recover. This is simply because the body is not used to handling resistance training. It is a key requirement of a fitness specialist to let their client now that this level of pain in recovery is temporary. With the right nutrition, sleep, and rest, this pain decreases as you get stronger over time. During this phase, training methods are kept basic and simplistic. High reps are performed at lower weight, so that your body can learn how to adapt by large volumes of repetitive movement. 
Advancing To Muscle Growth 

Muscle growth is the process in which we break down and repair our muscle fibers so they can increase in size. When we lift heavy weight, our muscle tissue tears to succeed “mechanical damage” and “metabolic failure” on our final reps we can endure. This process is called hypertrophy and is best demonstrated when performing between 8-12 repetitions in each set of any given weight training exercise. 

The best routines for increasing muscle growth are called “isolated exercises”. This involves using one muscle group as a primary lever against lifting weight, rather than having assisting muscle groups help perform the movement. This increases the ability of one muscle group to lift heavier weight. Isolated exercises help a muscle group to tear more muscle fibers for recovery, hence putting on more muscle. Examples of these kind of workouts would be:

Bicep Curls
Triceps Rope Extensions
Bench Press
Leg Extension

Note: Machines are particularly good for putting yourself in an isolated position to lift weight

There are two proteins in our muscle cells that allow our muscles to contract when performing weight training. The names of these proteins are actin and myosin. Secondly, we have energy molecules stored in our muscles that allow these proteins to contract. These energy stores are called ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). When all these proteins and energy molecules deplete, signals are sent around our body to repair and grow muscle tissue.  

It’s important to mention that during the initial stages of muscle growth, your muscles can be very tender and sore for a few days after a workout. Most often people will complain about their legs being the sorest, followed by their arms, and then the larger extremities of the upper body. Even though the body adapts slowly to adaptation phase, there is still some time for adapting to the muscle growth phase.
 
Improving Muscular Endurance

Muscle endurance is referred to as the ability to repeat a certain movement or weight training exercise against resistance for an extended period of time before feeling the need to stop. It requires a high level of cardiovascular output, therefore is regarded as a great form of training for targeting all components of your fitness. I would regard muscle endurance as the most important component of your health. It improves your ability to perform tasks that replicate real life activities. For instance, if you needed to move house, lifting all your furniture in a van, or shovel the garden for a few hours, you would need good muscle endurance, opposed to muscular strength. 

The best way to gain muscular endurance is to perform high repetitions with low-medium weight or exercises where you hold a pose or position for an extended period of time. Great examples would be a plank or a wall sit exercise. 

Why everybody should start lifting weights

If you are fond of exercise and hesitant to start a weight training program, then approach a personal trainer for a consultation for advice on starting light and in the right direction. 

Here are some reasons why people should start lifting weights:

1- Lose Weight

Lifting weights can improve different aspects of your health simultaneously.  

If you are still looking to get the benefits of cardio, you can achieve this through intense resistance training. Keeping your program dynamic with a lot of movement, you can keep your heart rate elevated and get that same calorie burn you experience from going to a long run. 

Lifting weights can also help us burn fat while resting. When we put on muscle, we require more energy for our body to maintain this mass. When we have lean muscle mass, our body primarily uses calories to maintain muscular function and activity when we eat. This means we don’t store all the food we eat as fat when we have active muscle tissue. Furthermore, our muscles will still burn calories naturally when recovering after a workout.   



2- Prevents Feelings Of Depression & Anxiety

Feeling stronger or looking physically better can certainly improve our self-esteem. Feeling more balanced in our body helps us to feel more confidant and think more positively. Better yet, weight training helps fight feelings of depression and anxiety. Physical activity release hormones in our body that help us feel relaxed and happy. These chemicals released in our body are called endorphins and serotonin. Weight Training can help us feel great on the inside and the outside. 
3- Cardiovascular Health

Weight training can help strengthen functions of the heart. Firstly, weight training improves circulation in the body. Blood is sent efficiently around the body to the muscle groups that are performing exercise. Weight training involves cardiovascular activity. This means that your resting heart rate improves from this form exercise, allowing your heart to blood more effortlessly around 

4- Sleep Quality

Because weight training makes the transport of oxygen and nutrients around our body more efficient, it improves our sleep quality immensely. Due to more oxygen reaching the brain, we feel more relaxed when going to bed. When we have a lack of oxygen in our bloodstream we feel more irritated and restless, making it more difficult to fall asleep. 

5- More Muscle, More Balance

Gaining muscle will help you functionally and aesthetically.  

Putting on muscle in all areas will help your body feel more balanced and not run into functional problems. Having imbalanced muscles can lead to joint and ligament problems, or even organ issues. Bad posture can lead to various spinal conditions. By gaining strength in all areas, we can enjoy leading a healthier life as well as being proud of how we look. 

About The Author
 


This article about resistance training was brought to you by Ben Walker from London Fitness. Ben is a successful entrepreneur in the United Kingdom and Canada. As a strength and conditioning coach, he would be delighted to hear your questions about starting a weight-training program.