It's a common misconception that the only way to get fit is by doing cardio. However, weightlifting has many benefits that surpass those of cardio. This article will discuss the basics of weightlifting and how to get started. We'll also cover what to eat when lifting weights and what mistakes to avoid. Finally, we'll provide tips for staying motivated to lift weights.
The benefits of weightlifting over cardio
1. Weightlifting Burns More Calories
One of the primary benefits of weightlifting over cardio is that it burns more calories. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that participants who lifted weights burned an average of 15 calories per minute. In comparison, those who did cardio burned an average of 8 calories per minute. This means weightlifting can help you lose or maintain weight more effectively than cardio.
2. Weightlifting Builds Muscle
Another benefit of weightlifting is that it helps to build muscle. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue, which burns more calories at rest. This means that as you make strength through weightlifting, you will be able to burn more calories throughout the day, even when you're not working out.
3. Weightlifting Improves Bone Density
In addition to helping to build muscle, weightlifting also helps to improve bone density. Bone density measures how much calcium and other minerals are present in your bones. Our bones can become weaker and more susceptible to fracture as we age. However, weight-bearing exercises like weightlifting can help slow down bone density loss and even improve it in some cases.
4. Weightlifting Reduces the Risk of Injury
Another benefit of weightlifting is that it can help to reduce the risk of injury. This is because strong muscles help to support and protect your joints from injury. Additionally, weights provide resistance against which your muscles can work, which helps to make them stronger and less susceptible to injury.
5. Weightlifting Improves Balance and Coordination
Weightlifting also helps to improve balance and coordination. This is because lifting weights requires you to use multiple muscle groups simultaneously, which helps improve your body's ability to coordinate its movements. Also, lifting weights can help improve your sense of balance by challenging your proprioceptive system, which is responsible for detecting changes in your body's position in space.
How to start weightlifting
1. Get a physical
Before you start weightlifting, your doctor needs to get a physical from your doctor to ensure that you are healthy enough to participate in this type of exercise. Your doctor will be able to tell you if there are any health concerns that you should be aware of before starting to lift weights.
2. Choose the right gym
When you are ready to start weightlifting, you must choose the right gym. Look for a gym with experienced and certified trainers who can help you learn the proper form for lifting weights. It would help if you also looked for a gym with various weightlifting equipment so that you can try different exercises.
3. Start slow
When you first start weightlifting, it is important to start slowly and gradually increasing your weight. It would help if you focused on proper form and technique rather than lifting the heaviest weights possible. As you become more comfortable with lifting weights, you can start increasing the amount of weight and the number of repetitions.
4. Listen to your body
As you start weightlifting, you must listen to your body and pay attention to any pain or discomfort you may feel. If you experience any pain, stop the exercise and consult with your doctor or trainer.
5. Warm up and cool down
Before you start lifting weights, it is essential to warm up your muscles with some light cardio exercises such as jogging or walking. After lifting weights, it is also important to cool down your muscles with light stretching exercises.
6. Eat healthily
To see results from weightlifting, eating a healthy diet with plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates is essential. You should also avoid eating processed foods and sugary snacks before working out, as these can lead to fatigue.
7. Stay hydrated
It is also important to stay hydrated when participating in any exercise by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking water will help your muscles recover from workouts and prevent dehydration which can lead to fatigue and muscle cramps.
8. Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep each night is crucial to see results from weightlifting, as this helps your muscles recover from workouts. Adults should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, while teenagers should aim for 8-10 hours each night.
What to eat when you're weightlifting
One of the most critical nutrients for weightlifters is protein. Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair and can help to increase strength and power. Good protein sources include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, and beans.
Carbohydrates are also crucial for weightlifters, as they can help to replenish glycogen stores that are depleted during exercise. Glycogen is sugar stored in the muscles and liver and used as fuel during training. Good sources of carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
3. Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are also essential to a weightlifter's diet, as they can help promote hormone production and reduce inflammation. Good sources of healthy fats include nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and fish oil.
4. Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that play a role in numerous bodily functions. Weightlifters need adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals to support their training goals. Good sources of vitamins and minerals include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and supplements.
Water is essential for all aspects of human health, including weightlifting. Adequate hydration helps to regulate body temperature, transport nutrients around the body, and lubricate joints. It is recommended that weightlifters drink eight glasses of water per day.
Weightlifting routine for beginners
1. Start with the basics.
If you're a beginner, start with the basic exercises that work for the major muscle groups. These exercises are the foundation of a good weightlifting routine and will help you build strength and muscle mass. The primary activities include the squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, and row.
2. Use proper form.
Using proper form when lifting weights is important, as this will help prevent injuries and ensure you get the most out of each exercise. If unsure how to perform an exercise correctly, ask a certified personal trainer or research it online.
3. Gradually increase the weight.
As you become stronger, you will be able to gradually increase the amount of weight you are lifting. However, it's important not to increase the weight too quickly, as this can lead to injuries. Instead, increase the weight gradually over time as your body becomes accustomed to the new load.
4. Vary your routine.
Once you have mastered the basic exercises, you can start to vary your routine by adding new activities or changing the order of your movements. This will help to keep your workouts interesting and prevent boredom. Additionally, varying your routine will help target different muscle groups and ensure you get a well-rounded workout.
5. Listen to your body.
It's important to listen to your body when weightlifting and only lift weights that are comfortable for you. If an exercise is causing pain or discomfort, stop doing it and consult a doctor or certified personal trainer if necessary.
Weightlifting mistakes to avoid
1. Not Warming Up Properly
One of the most common mistakes people make when weightlifting is not warming up properly. Warming up helps to increase blood flow to the muscles and can help to prevent injuries. A good warm-up should consist of light cardio and dynamic stretching.
2. Lifting Too Much Weight
Another common mistake is lifting too much weight. It is important to start light and gradually increase the weight you lift as you get stronger. If you try to lift too much weight, you may risk injuring yourself.
3. Not Using Proper Form
Using proper form is essential when weightlifting. If you do not use the proper form, you may not only fail to achieve your desired results, but you may also injure yourself. Consult a certified personal trainer or coach before beginning any weightlifting routine to ensure you use the proper form.
4. Not Breathing Properly
Many people hold their breath when lifting weights, but this can be harmful. Holding your breath can cause an increase in blood pressure, which can lead to dizziness or even fainting. Instead, make sure to breathe out as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower it back down.
5. Lifting Too Fast
Lifting weights too fast is another common mistake people make. Lifting weights too quickly puts unnecessary stress on the muscles and joints and can lead to injuries. Instead, lift the weights slowly and control them to benefit from your workout.
6. Not Resting Enough
Rest is just as important as exercise in building muscle mass. When you work out, you are causing microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. These tears need time to heal for the muscles to grow stronger. If you do not allow adequate time for rest between workouts, you will not allow your muscles to recover and grow stronger.
Tips for staying motivated to lift weights
1. Set realistic goals.
When lifting weights, it's essential to set realistic goals. If you're starting, don't try to lift too much too soon. Start with a weight that you feel comfortable with and gradually increase the amount of weight you raise as you get stronger.
2. Find a workout partner.
Working out with a friend or family can help keep you motivated. Having someone to spot you when you're lifting weights can also be helpful in case you get tired or need a break.
3. Join a gym or fitness class.
If working out at home isn't for you, consider joining a gym or taking a fitness class. There are often group classes focusing on weightlifting, such as body pump or spin class. This can be a great way to stay motivated and meet new people who share your interests.
4. Set regular workout times.
One of the best ways to stay motivated to lift weights is to set regular workout times and stick to them. Whether working out three times weekly for 30 minutes each session or every day for an hour, find a schedule that works for you and stick to it.
5. Keep a workout journal.
Tracking your progress can be a great motivator when lifting weights. Keep a workout journal and write down the weights you raised, the number of reps, and how you felt during the workout. Over time, you'll be able to look back and see just how far you've come, which can be very motivating.
6. Reward yourself after workouts.
After each successful workout, give yourself a small reward, such as a healthy snack or new workout clothes. This will help reinforce positive behavior and motivate you to continue working out regularly.
7. Take breaks as needed.
Take a break if you feel burned out or like you're not enjoying your workouts anymore! It's perfectly normal to need some time off now and then, and taking a few days or even weeks off from lifting weights can help you come back feeling refreshed and more motivated than ever before
Staying safe while lifting weights is important by following the proper form and breathing technique. In addition, it is essential to rest between workouts to allow the muscles time to heal and grow stronger. By setting realistic goals, working out with a friend or joining a gym, tracking your progress, and rewarding yourself after each workout, you can stay motivated to continue lifting weights. Take a break if you feel burned out or like you're not enjoying your workouts anymore!