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What You Need to Know to Get Strong and Transform Your Body

Starting to lift weights is one of the best things you can do for your health, your mind and your physique. Resistance training makes it possible to burn fat and increase your muscle mass, which means that no matter what your goals are, this type of exercise is going to be beneficial in your body transformation journey. However, making the right decisions when it comes to your fitness routine is going to make all the difference. Here are some important things to keep in mind.

Dumbbells are Your Friend

Although your gym might be rigged with hundreds of machines and pieces of equipment that looks like they could be torture devices if you didn’t know any better, they’re not always going to be your best option. Dumbbells are an integral part of a weightlifting regime due to the expansive range of movement they offer in your exercises. Machines can be rather limiting in how much movement you can achieve, and this can be damaging in terms of your mobility and truly achieving the full extent of resistance you want to be putting on your muscles. Lean on dumbbells for as many muscle groups as you can, especially in your upper body routine. There are many sources online that can provide you with ideas of how to approach this, like this article which offers great dumbbell exercises for working your chest.

Keep it Simple

Relating to the first tip, filling up your workout sessions with crazy machines and overly complex exercises can become counterproductive. Especially as a beginner, it’s better to stick to some of the basic and more foundational exercises that will form the base of your workout regime. Think of things like squats, deadlifts, bench presses and shoulder presses – these are big compound movements that will work more than one muscle group. Working on these movements primarily will do wonders for your overall strength and adding in simple accessory movements using dumbbells and some standard machines will only be an added benefit.

Keep Adding Weight

The only way you’re going to improve your strength and increase your muscle mass is – you guessed it – by adding more weight. The concept of progressive overload is one that all weightlifters are familiar with, and it means just that; progressively overloading your workouts by adding more weight each week. In the same way that runners need to constantly try to run faster or further, if you aren’t pushing your muscles to their limit, you can’t expect them to grow. However, it is important to remember not to push yourself to the point that you sacrifice your form since this can lead to injuries and isn’t the most effective way to work out. Practice with a lower weight until your form is perfect, and then start to add weight each week. If you feel like adding more weight will impact your form negatively, there are other ways to progressively overload such as by adding more reps or changing the tempo of your lift.

Fuel Yourself Right

If you’re not providing your body with the building blocks to create the muscle, your hard work in the gym is going to go to waste. Calculating and tracking your macros is a great way for both beginner and seasoned lifters to understand your eating habits a little better and ensure that you’re getting enough protein each day. For daily protein intake, a general rule of thumb is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight, but this can also differ depending on your specific goals and activity levels. Besides protein and other macronutrients, your micronutrient intake is also going to be important for overall health and recovery, so focus on adding fruits, veggies and superfoods to your diet wherever possible.

Rest and Recovery

Just like with nutrition, your sweaty sessions in the gym are going to be somewhat meaningless if they’re not accompanied by proper rest and good sleep hygiene. Stretching after every session and taking rest days is important for your muscle reparation (which will allow them to grow) and getting good sleep will also have an impact on your muscle mass and performance in the gym. If you don’t like to take full days off without any activity, try long walks and yoga on your days off the gym. The more rest you can get, the better it will serve your fitness journey, so don’t fall into the trap of squeezing a workout into every day of the week – you might just be undoing all your hard work.

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