Marty Robinson, wellness and fitness supervisor for the Lee Memorial Health System Wellness Centers, provides the following tips to help you build muscle and get the most out of your strength training:
• Progression— In order to build muscle, you have to continually increase the difficulty by adding weight, number of repetitions or sets. “Progressive overload means that the final rep of the final set should be difficult to complete,” Marty says. “Once it is easy to make it through the sets, it is time to advance.”
• Compound movements— By utilizing multiple muscles, you expend more energy, which also is good for weight loss. Think squats, lunges and push ups.
• Diet— Nutrition matters when building muscle, and adequate protein intake is key. “Timing of protein consumption is important,” Marty says. “You should ingest protein within 30-60 minutes after your workout because protein helps build skeletal muscles. During that time frame, your body processes the protein for recovery and muscle growth. If you work out at the Wellness Center of Cape Coral, stop by the Wellness Café for a protein shake, grab and-go bar or other healthy, protein-rich snack.”
• Don’t train the same muscles every day—If you work out a muscle group with moderate intensity, don’t train that muscle again for a minimum of 24 hours. If your workout was more intense, don’t train that muscle group again for 48 hours. Cardio workouts help with recovery, so walk, run, bike or swim on the days you take off from your strength training.
• Free weights vs.machines— Marty says the weight machines are good for beginners because they help control the movement and time the contraction of the muscle. Once you know the movements and feel comfortable in the gym, move on to free weights. “You get more benefits from free weights,” Marty explains. “With free weights, you have to stabilize the joints and spine, which helps with balance and coordination.”
If you would like help developing a specific, individualized strength training program, personal trainers can help.