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1. Safe Weight Training
A careful, informed approach to weight training keeps it safe. Weight training needs to be challenging, but requires an individual to assess realistically their current fitness and strength. Positions, exercises and weights that cause extension of muscles and joints beyond their natural range should be avoided.
2. Correct Technique
Many injuries can be avoided by correct technique. The back needs to be kept straight, with knees and elbows kept in line to offer maximum support. The head should be kept still, with the neck under control and there should be no discomfort in the shoulder joints throughout their range of movement.
A good training diet should contain a maximum of 25% fat, with saturated fat and carbohydrates kept to a minimum. Those wishing to gain muscle bulk should be certain to eat enough, concentrating on poultry, fish and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
4. Bodybuilding supplements
So-called “bodybuilding” supplements are dietary supplements commonly used by those involved in weight training. Weight trainers often use a form of protein powder, which contains amino acids, the essential building blocks for muscle growth. Protein powder is designed for consumption instead of a meal or immediately pre- or post-exercise; the underlying theory being that it provides ample protein for effective muscle growth and repair. Although studies have revealed that some weight trainers may need protein powder supplements, the amount required is dependent on the individual’s physiology and the type / duration of the exercise. Health experts have criticised protein supplements as being unnecessary for most weight trainers as adequate protein is provided by a balanced diet. With the body only capable of metabolising 9g of protein per hour, excessive daily intake of protein powder supplements may induce weight gain, kidney problems, osteoporosis and diarrhea.
5. Building Muscle Effectively
All muscle groups need to be exercised 2-3 times per week. Weights need to be increased to allow for increased strength and exercise should be continued until failure, for effective growth.
6. When to Eat?
The timing of eating according to the length and intensity of exercise sessions is vital for effective weight training. Prior to exercise, about 20g of protein, such as skimmed milk is recommended. Within ½ hour of a tough workout, have 20g of protein accompanied by the same quantity of carbohydrate, more if the exercise has been intense and lengthy. Carbohydrates prevent muscle protein from breaking down and replace glycogen reserves.
7. Rest and Recovery
A “rest” week, involving half the usual exercise regime, taken once a month, allows the muscle building process of progressive overload, muscle damage, repair and new growth to occur.
8. Vary Workout Intensity
If weight loss or muscle gain “plateaus” after several months of weight training, varying lifting exercises and their intensity / repetitions can “kick start” a stale weight training programme.
9. Change Workout Schedule
Body rhythms vary widely and may affect weight training results. Cortisol, a hormone that degrades muscle is at its highest level in the morning for most people and optimum results are often obtained from exercising in the afternoon.
10. Relaxation and Sleep
Neither of these should be underrated, as stress hormones can lead to the degrading of muscle tissue and the accumulation of fat.