Want to Start Strength Training? Try This Beginner Workout

Are you wanting to start a strength training program but have no idea where to start? Rest assured, you are not alone! I used to be a cardio-only workout person. I didn’t particularly enjoy lifting weights, and truthfully, I had no idea where to start. If I could get past being totally intimidated by the serious lifters, I’d walk into the workout area and just stare at the gym equipment wondering where to start.  I’d grab a few free weights, do a random number of repetitions and slink back to the treadmills! 

The good news is that it’s not nearly as mysterious as it seems.

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Low-Impact Workout for Bad Knees

I am a firm believer that you CAN workout even if you have bad knees, an artificial hip, sore wrists or a sensitive back. You just have to be cautious of what movements you do.

Today’s workout is knee-friendly, so you can squeeze in a workout without irritating your knees. If anything bothers your knees, stop what you are doing and return to a movement that is comfortable. Our goal is to do no harm!

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Beginners Guide: Eating & Drinking Before Exercising

The quickest way to derail a workout is to suffer from that queasy, I-just-ate feeling. When is the ideal time to eat and drink before a workout? What should you eat?

Snacking and hydrating yourself before a workout can provide you with the extra energy boost you need to power through a workout. Figuring out when to snack and drink can seem tricky. I have had many clients come to a workout saying, “I skipped lunch. I wasn’t sure when it was too late to eat before working out, so I just didn’t eat.” Their workouts suffer – or sometimes come to a crashing halt - because they lack the energy they need to last the entire workout.

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The Science of Exercise: Benefits for Your Mind and Body

Exercise does amazing things for our bodies and minds. People who participate in regular exercise, have an up to 50 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes, up to 35 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke as well as 20 percent lower risk of breast cancer. Those are some pretty impressive statistics…but there’s more!

Exercise does amazing things for our bodies and minds. People who participate in regular exercise, have an up to 50 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes, up to 35 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke as well as 20 percent lower risk of breast cancer. Those are some pretty impressive statistics…but there’s more!

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When to Breathe During Strength Training Exercises

Recently, a client asked me about the timing of her breathing during a strength training workout. When should she exhale? Inhale? The easiest rule to remember during a strength training workout is to exhale when you are exerting force and inhale on the recovery. That’s easy to master – in theory. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what is the exertion portion of certain exercises. Let’s look at some popular strength training moves and identify when you should exhale and inhale.

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Hate Working Out? Try This Alphabet Workout

A former client of mine posted a picture on my Facebook page last week featuring another trainer’s alphabet workout. She commented that it was just like something I would make my clients do! Little did she know, I’m a huge fan of alphabet workouts.  If you are constantly watching the clock while working out, then this one is for you. Time flies by while you are doing it.

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What is Dynamic Stretching?

f you've read any fitness magazines or perused online workout videos recently, you've likely encountered the terms "dynamic warm-up" or "dynamic stretching." A dynamic warm-up is a method of stretching at the beginning of a workout that moves your body through various range of motion movements that are similar to a lighter version of your workout.

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12 Days of Health & Fitness Day 10

12 Days of Health & Fitness Day 10: Lunge it, Lunge it, Lunge it! Find a track nearby (or an indoor gym) and prepare to do some lunges. Advanced option - Lunge around the entire circle of the track! Intermediate - Lunge 50-100 yards (about 50 lunges each leg); Beginner - 25 lunges each leg. Modification for individuals who don't lunge: sit on the ground and raise one leg up. Swing that leg to the side and back to the starting position. That's one rep. Complete 25 reps per leg.

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12 Days of Health & Fitness: Day 5

12 Days of Health & Fitness Day 6:  Drink 8 servings of 8 ounces of water today! Water is essential to your body - it regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, protects body organs and tissues, carries oxygen and nutrients to cells as well as many other benefits! People often confuse thirst for hunger, so this is a great way to ensure you are not eating when you are really just thirsty!

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12 Days of Health & Fitness: Day 1

Day 1 of 12 Days of Fitness & Health: Pay for your Productivity - Do one burpee (with push-up!) for every email and/or text you received and sent today. Low-impact option: Do a stepback - take out the jump (squat down and place hands on ground, step back into plank, do a push-up, step feet back to hands and stand up).

Beginner Option - Do a modified Jumping Jack. Take out the jump - alternate stepping feet out as your arms come overhead.

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Beginner's Ultimate Guide to Strength Training

Starting a strength training program can be really intimidating. Before I became a trainer, I had no idea what areas of my body I should be training and how often I should train. The good news is that it's not as mysterious as it seems when you are standing in a gym staring at all of the equipment!

  • Strive to strength train a minimum of two, non-consecutive days. Your muscles need a day, or more, of rest in between sessions in order to repair themselves. Lifting weights damages muscle fibers (creates microscopic tears in the muscles you’ve worked), so rest days give your muscles time to reconstruct, recover and increase in size.
  • Strength training can be achieved by using your body weight, machines, free weights or various pieces of equipment such as medicine balls, swiss balls, BOSU, TRX, bands, etc.
  • Strive to do at least one set of 8-12 repetitions of 8-10 exercises that target the major muscle groups: chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abdomen, quadriceps and hamstrings. Check out the images below to help identify these muscle groups.
  • Set up a session with a personal trainer to help you come up with exercises that will target these muscle groups. If you are planning on strength training from home, you can still contact a personal trainer to help you create a program. I've met with a lot of clients who just need help getting started.
  • Adjust your weights according to the "two rep" rule. If the last two reps of an exercise aren't taxing, you might need to consider going heavier. If you can do dozens of reps at the weight you are using, you need to pick up the next heavier weight. In body weight exercises, you can add additional repetitions or modifications to your strength exercises to make them more challenging. For example, instead of doing push-ups on your knees, try to do some negative push ups on your toes. Remember that you don't want to increase everything at once: sets, number of workout sessions, repetitions, weight, etc. Pick one area to increase at a time. 

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has a wonderful brochure that will share more information with you.