So, you have decided to start a weight-training program or are considering starting a program. Your ambition is admirable, but yet you are a little concerned or hesitant to begin training. Guess what? It is understandable and normal because you are not alone! Millions of people all around the world toy with the notion of beginning a strength-training program every day but certain reasons prevent them or delay them from getting started. Reasons such as being intimidated to train in a gym setting, worrying about getting hurt, and not knowing what to do during a training session are just some of the valid reasons people shy away from begging strength training programs. On top of scheduling pre-training physical with your family doctor and warming up and cooling down properly, here are five tips to help you feel more comfortable about training and starting the journey to becoming a stronger and better you.
1. Schedule a session or a few sessions with a performance coach/trainer
Most gyms if not all gyms have trainers or coaches. Trainers and coaches can and will help educate and teach clients of all levels and abilities strength training techniques and progressions to help them reach their needs. While economically training with a coach or trainer 2-3 times a week may not be feasible, it is a good idea to get a session or two of training with a coach for safety and educational purposes. Many ask, how do you pick the right coach or trainer? I recommend using a coach or trainer that has at least a Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science or related field and is nationally certified by the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) or the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association).
2. Initially follow the American College of Sports Medicine strength training guidelines
The ACSM, American College of Sports Medicine, is largest organization of sports and exercise science in the world and uses scientific based research to establish strength and cardiovascular training protocols as well as other educational and practical applications. The ACSM suggest that new strength training participants should train
"A minimum of two non consecutive days each week, with one set of 8 to 12 repetitions for healthy adults or 10-15 repetitions for older adults."
3. Train with a friend or lifting partner
Training with a partner gives people extra incentive to not only show up to train, but to push each other, and give each other encouragement throughout the work out. Depending on your personality as well as your partners', it is possible some friendly competition could arise during your training session. Training with a partner helps increase safety as well because they can be used as a spotter. Bottom line, push your partner and let him or her push you!
4. Make a music play list that pumps you up for training
Whether you like rock or pop music, a play list that motivates you to train, in my opinion, is crucial. Many times during my training I feel like throwing in the towel, but just at that moment, I revert back to my training play list to help me finish strong in my workout. While I am a Dave Matthews Band fan out of the gym, some of my personal favorite musical artists that push me to maximum limits in the gym are AC/DC, Metallica, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Guns N Roses, and The Rocky Story, which is the soundtrack to the Rocky movies.
5. Replenish your body with adequate nutrition
Nutrition, most exercise professionals agree, is the limiting factor in muscle strength, growth, and overall performance. What you put in to your body is what you get out of it, both in the weight room and at the kitchen table. Post workout nutrition is very critical and often neglected. When we finish lifting or training, our body is catabolic, meaning tearing down muscle tissue. There is a 30-minute recovery window post training to get the proper nutrition in your system to replenish and feed your muscles with adequate protein and carbohydrate sources. For strength training athletes, and based off of the NSCA, National Strength and Conditioning Association, guidelines, post workout nutrition should be 20 grams of protein and 30-40 grams of carbohydrates for females, and 25 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbohydrates for males. These vary based on training goals. In my opinion, the best post workout nutrition comes in supplementation with a protein and carbohydrate source. JBN has excellent post workout options in protein such as Whey Superior and Buff Protein, and Enduro Carb is an excellent post training, low calorie carbohydrate replenishment. JBN's Growtein and Recovery Formula are supplements that combine protein and carbohydrates all in one mix. All of the above mentioned are excellent choices in feeding the muscles post workout as well as throughout the day.
Give these five tips a chance. Adopt 1, 2, or all of them on your strength-training journey to become a stronger and better you. I am confident if you believe in yourself, get and stay motivated, and use some of these tips, you will not only be more inspired to train, but you will reach your strength training goals!