Summer Bodies At The Ready
Marcos from Hindhead based Studio11 Fitness shares with us how to get the best out of your workout. APOTHECARY 27 EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Try out your first class for free when you spend £20 in store.
Everywhere you look the media is shouting about how we should all be lifting weights. Sometimes it’s referred to as resistance exercise, strength training, weightlifting, bodybuilding...
What is strength training?
All these terms essentially mean the same thing: making your muscles work harder in any range of movement by creating resistance. For example, lifting your arm from your shoulder above your head is usually quite achievable for most. Try putting a weight in your hand and you make it harder. Try doing it multiple times and it gets even harder. Keep practising and your muscles will adapt, become stronger and you can increase the weight and so on.
You can use your bodyweight to create the resistance to challenge your muscles. For example, a traditional bodyweight push up is extremely challenging for most. You can also use weights machines at the gym, free weights (dumbbells and bars loaded with weights you select), kettlebells, med balls...the options are endless!
Why should we all be doing it?
The benefits of strength training are numerous and well documented in various scientific studies:
- prevents loss of muscle and bone mass, which otherwise declines as we get older
- makes you stronger and fitter
- increases your metabolism so you burn more calories at rest helping to maintain a lean body
- improves balance, coordination and posture
- boosts energy and mood
- can help manage symptoms of some chronic conditions like arthritis
The bottom line is, if done properly, you will get stronger and your functional fitness will massively improve. This means everything you expect your body to do in your day to day life such as carrying shopping, lifting kids, gardening, moving furniture, DIY, even sitting at a desk all day, will all be easier if you are stronger. You will not only find these tasks easier, you will also protect yourself against injury and reduce back pain. It's not about bigger biceps, it's about building a strong core and back, feeling great and energised, ready to face what life throws at you.
Will it make any difference? Nothing I try seems to work…
Whatever your age or fitness level right now, you can improve on where you are if you put the work in, provided it is the right kind of 'work'. Typically, every new year, people resolve to 'lose weight and get fit' by increasing the amount of exercise they do by running, attending aerobic classes or spending hours on the cardio machines at the gym. All forms of cardiovascular exercise like this are beneficial in improving your cardio response to exercise (how your heart and lungs respond to challenging exercise), but it probably won't make much impact on your strength or body shape. To achieve sustainable and visible results, you need some strength training. Ideally you should fit both cardio and strength training into your weekly regime for heart bone and muscle health. It's not about doing more hours, it's about working out in a more efficient way to achieve the results you want.
What puts people off?
- Many people still see weightlifting as a male dominated sport and picture a bulky bodybuilder. This is a fallacy. Strength training will not cause you to bulk up. To get this kind of physique requires a specific type of training and diet and is particularly difficult for women to achieve because of hormonal and physiological differences. Fear not, you will not end up looking like Arnie!
- Some people think they are ‘too old’. Impossible: there is no age that is ‘too old’. We have clients in their 70’s who enjoy training with us.
- Other worries include risk of injury or existing injuries or niggles. This is where good coaching comes in – a good coach can adapt your programme to suit you. Persevere and you will come out stronger.
- Another concern often voiced is that it looks too technical or difficult. Some of the Olympic weightlifting moves can be a bit tricky, but a good coach can break it down for you and, like any movement pattern, the more you do it, the easier it gets. And if you really don’t like a particular lift, don’t do it!
How to get the best results?
Do something you enjoy doing and get a balance that works for you. Often its not about doing more hours or exercise, its about working out more effectively. A good coaching programme takes all the hard work out of it for you, all you need to do is turn up. If you are completely new to strength training, there are lots of resources online, but there is no real substitute for getting in front of a good coach and having a go especially if you are a complete beginner.
by Marcos Petarnella, Coach at Studio11 Fitness
Marcos Petarnella owns Studio11 Fitness, a private gym in Hindhead offering bespoke personal training and small group classes for adults and Kidsfit classes for kids aged 10-15. Marcos and his dedicated team of coaches offer high quality strength and fitness coaching to suit all abilities. Classes are programmed to be varied and fun for all and help you achieve sustainable results.
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