Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lifting Tips For Beginners

Good Morning! I enjoyed a very productive snow day yesterday and was able to get a lot of things done surrounding the training of my "clients" (i.e. those generous & brave women who've agreed to be my guinea pigs while I'm studying for my CPT exam). Some of these women are new to the weight room and have expressed their anxieties over venturing into a territory that can be quite intimidating in the beginning. Based on what I've shared with them, I compiled a list of weight-training tips that I've learned through my own training, trial and error, and research. This is by no means comprehensive, so if you've got something to add, please comment below!

Tips for Beginning Weight-Lifters

1. Vocabulary: reps vs. sets. Reps or "repetitions" are the number of exercises within one set. For example, you may do 3 sets of 15 reps of lunges.

2. Breathing. Your "out" breath should be during the difficult part of the lift. Some lifters make the mistake of holding their breath while exerting themselves---that's a good way to get light headed, so don't do this! Think Lamaze.....breathe through the pain! And make your breathing deliberate--you may feel stupid at first, but it will get you through those last few reps you never thought you could do!

3. Counting your reps. Try counting backwards. For example, if you have 12 reps to complete, count your first rep as 12, then 11, 10,9.......and so on. You're might be more likely to see it through to the end of the set if in your mind you've only got 2 reps to go!

4. Vocabulary: superset. This means performing one exercise right after another and then resting after both are completed. For example, if you had a superset that paired bicep curls with tricep extensions, you would complete the curls, then go straight to the extensions and then rest. This is a time-saving mechanism in the gym because your biceps are able to rest while you're working your triceps.

5. If you're looking to build muscle and firm up, do your weight training before your cardio. This way, you have the most energy going into your training and will be able to make the most gains with lifting.

6. Work your large muscle groups and multi-joint exercises first. For example, squats work many muscles, where as leg extensions are limited to the quads. Do your squats in the beginning of your workout and leave your leg extensions until the end. This is true of single leg/arm exercises as well. Fatigue your big muscle groups first, then fine-tune your muscle development with your single leg/arm work at the end.

7. If you're pressed for time and you're forced to choose, pick lifting over cardio. Lifting will burn calories long after your workout is over and increasing muscle means increasing your metabolism so that you burn more calories even when you're just hanging out!

8. Lifting will not cause you to "bulk" unless you are eating to do so. This is particularly true for females because we do not make enough natural testosterone to bulk up. As long as your nutrition is in line, you will not look like a linebacker just because you lift heavily. So, put down the 2-5 lb. dumbells and hit it hard!

9. Nutrition is 80% of any progress you're going to make in your physique. Consult your trainer or dietitian for guidance in this area. Don't waste your time in the gym by not having your nutrition support your workouts!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Good morning! This is my very first attempt at blogging and I appreciate your patience:) I'm normally an overly-private person, but the world of social networking via the internet has somewhat helped me to break out of my shell (as long as I'm behind my computer anyway--ha!).

This blog serves a few purposes for me; one being yet another opportunity to come out of my comfort zone and be a little more outgoing. I find this much easier to do through writing than through speaking or other actions. Which leads me to the second purpose of this blog--a platform for writing. I love to write and have been looking for ways to get back into doing it, and I think this is the perfect avenue for that! Now the difficult part (as always) will be to figure out what to write about!

Lastly, this blog is an assignment for Perfect Body Online. I have been training with Cathy Savage Fitness (www.cathysavagefitness.com) for going on four years now. For those of you who know me, CSF is the coaching staff that I work with to prepare for competitions. As of January 1, 2010, I've upped the ante with this in terms of nurturing that "hobby" a little more. My hope is that it can be more than a hobby someday (although if you ask my husband, I think he would agree that the word "hobby" is already entirely inadequate to describe this part of my life), but what that means at this point, I'm not quite sure. There are so many opportunities, which is the beauty of this sport!

So, welcome to my site and thank you for your interest in my life! I have to say, it seems a bit "normal" from my perspective, so I hope you aren't too bored:) I'd love to hear from all of you as well, so please contact me!