THE ROOKIE’S GUIDE TO WEIGHT TRAINING
WEIGHT TRAINING MYTHS – DEBUNKED
MYTH: Women generally think that they would get bulky lifting weights.
TRUTH: Only if you lift really heavy weights and are taking unnatural substances then you can get bulky. It also depends on many factors such as your body type (Google the terms ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph), which can dictate, up to an extent, the tendency to put on weight and/or build muscle. Each body responds differently to training in general and weight lifting is no exception. An individual can also be a combination of two body types. So stop generalizing and build awareness about your own body instead. If you need help deciding in which category you fall into, talk to fitness professional.
MYTH: Muscle turns to fat if you stop lifting.
TRUTH: Body has the best survival mantra: Use it or lose it. So, if you don’t touch upon a skill or if you don’t work out, your body wouldn’t feel the need to hold on to it. Weight lifting builds lean muscle mass which requires more energy to sustain itself, assuming there is consistent training. Hence, your metabolism increases and if you eat clean, the body burns the fat at rest. If you stop lifting, you will not lose muscles overnight and hence your appetite is still high. Now, if you still maintain a high calorie food plan, and stop lifting, not only will the body store all that extra energy as fat (since you are not burning as many calories), but it will also lose all the muscle because it doesn’t need it anymore.
MYTH: Machines are more effective than free weights.
TRUTH: It depends on the goal. If aesthetics and body building is the goal, then one needs machines to hit isolated muscle groups. But if you are a regular body, an everyday athlete, then functional training is more effective, useful and engaging. When people begin weight training, I would advise them to first use free weights and then move onto machines. Free weights are dumbbells, barbells, kettle bells, medicine balls, ViPR, core bags aka sandbags and Bulgarian bags. All of these are forms of free weights which actually target the entire body. As they are not supported, the body uses stabilising muscles, along with bigger muscle groups, to internally stabilise the entire body while you perform movements with those weights.
HOW DO I GO ABOUT IT?
A word of caution for beginners is that due to its very dynamic nature, functional training must always be first learnt under the supervision or some form of audio and visual guidance. For example, the NTC app, which is grounded in strength and conditioning principles, focuses on compound movements and has a video and audio demo for every exercise in every workout.
SLOW, STEADY AND STRONG: As a beginner, you should focus first to build basic core strength, in the abs, spine, glutes and shoulders, and only then move on to extremities like the limbs. Having said that, one must also focus on keeping the body supple and hence, mobility is important. Think of it as ‘servicing your car.’ To help you get started with a visual and audio reference, you can either join a local place with good coaches or the NTC App which has different workouts based on the types: strength, mobility and endurance. Focus on the first two and then move on to endurance after four weeks; select bodyweight or select basic equipment.
THY BODY IS A TEMPLE: Start with body weight training, because if you can’t lift your own body weight in correct form then it’s not safe and advisable to lift external weights. For complete beginners or people who are injured, it’s okay to do some isolated strength work because there are certain medical or physical limitations which prevent them from doing complete body exercises. For example, usually beginners have weak wrists, and sometimes, too much of body weight training can make their wrists sore.
2-3 TIMES A WEEK IS A MAGIC NUMBER: The beginners should do weight training two-to-three times a week, wherein you are dividing your regime on the basis of movement. One day you do push and hinge, next day squat/lunge and pull and another day you pick targeted core work, rotation, skill work (technique) and running.
COMMON ETIQUETTE OF WEIGHT TRAINING
- Mother always told you to keep the stuff back to its original place so that others can find it easily. The same rule applies to gym also. Always put the weights back after you use them.
- Bang bang no good. Respect the other gym members’ space and don’t bang the weights down.
- No flapping around weights. Be careful with weights and ensure that no one gets injured while you are moving the weights around or exercising.
- Sweat not sweet. Carry a napkin to wipe your sweat off the bench/ machine.
- Training shoes are meant only for training. Wear training shoes only inside the gym/in the workout space and not outside the training area as they tend to get dirty.
- Care and share. Be a responsible gym user and share weights with other members.
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