5 Steps to Creating a Strength Training Program You'll Stick To
Strength training can help you buff up and slim down, increase your overall muscle mass, and keep your bones and joints healthy. But while it may be easy to find a program, it’s natural for momentum to fade over time, leaving you once again searching for the right routine.
Is it possible to create a strength training program that you’ll stick to? Definitely! It might seem intimidating at first, but in reality, it’s often very simple.
Here are five steps you can take to create a strength training program that you’ll actually stick to.
1. Create realistic expectations.
The most effective strength training programs include quantifiable goals that you can clearly evaluate. However, in the process of goal-setting, you need to be realistic. This comes down to self-awareness.
You should think about what time is best for you to work out. Is it in the morning? During lunch?In the evening? Prioritize what is right for you and what is realistic. Setting a goal to suddenly become a morning person and workout at 5 a.m. multiple times a week might not be realistic, at least at the onset.
This also relates to what kind of strength training you want to do. Do you want to get stronger? Do you want better endurance? Do you want to add specific muscle? Knowing this will lead you to the program that is right for you.
Finally, be aware of your strengths of weaknesses. Know what you're good at and what you aren't. This will help you decrease your risk of injury and help you stick to the program.
2. Write it down.
A strength training program can be a lot — it's multiple exercises, multiple muscle groups, multiple days per week. If you don't write it down, it can be difficult to maintain week-over-week and track your progress as well.
You'll want to track four things:
- What exercises you do
- How much weight you are using
- How many reps you do of each exercise
- How much rest you take in between each exercise
Then, as you progress, you can track your numbers and make adjustments as needed.
3. Play with tempos.
It's easy to get bored during a strength training program if you're just doing three sets of 10 for each exercise over and over again. So switch it up. For example, f you're doing bicep curls, don't just pump up and down as fast as possible.
Instead, lower the weight slowly — an eccentric contraction — and challenge your muscle in a different way. This will also help you get through any plateaus in your progress.
4. Fuel with food.
You cannot outwork a bad diet. When doing a strength training program, your muscles break down with microtears. Nourishing your body properly will help rebuild your muscles stronger than they were before — that's how you gain strength. The proper balance of macronutrients is very important, along with the balance of proteins, fats, and carbs. In addition, staying hydrated is also key to successful strength training.
5. Recover, recover, recover.
What you do in between workouts is almost as important as the workout itself. Recovery can come in many different forms, from sleep to hydration to massages and stretching. One I'll focus on is sleep. It is extremely beneficial for fat loss.
If you're doing a strength training program, you're looking to burn fat and add muscle. Individuals who get enough sleep can burn 50% more fat than someone who is sleep-deprived.
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