Best Way to Lift Weights After a Long Break
Getting back into lifting after a long break? So what is the best way to lift weights after a break from the gym, resistance training, or any form of exercise for that matter?
If you haven't lifted weights in a long while, then your body will not be used to it and so it is important that you go about this the right way and with the correct mindset.
Before you undertake a new workout program, It is important that you see your doctor for a check up first. There is most likely nothing wrong, but it is very important to be sure that you don't have any underlying health issues before beginning your fitness journey!
First off, it's great that you have decided to get back into the gym and to get lifting weights again. Any form of exercise is very good for you. Resistance training in particular can help contribute towards a decreased cancer risk, and increased overall health and well-being. Below are a couple of studies that highlight how weight training can improves ones health and reduce the risk of developing obesity and insulin resistance related illnesses and diseases.
Set Your Goal and Sort Your Mindset
Before you embark on your journey back to weight lifting and overall fitness, it is going to be very important for you to get your mindset in order first. What are your short term and long term goals? Do you understand that there will be obstacles and challenges along the way? Are you prepared to overcome these setbacks?
Another thing that is important for anyone to understand who is coming back to fitness, is that they will not be able to just pick up from where they left off. If you try to do that, then you risk injuring yourself which will then put your fitness regimen behind schedule.
What I suggest you do, is make up something called S.M.A.R.T objectives. You may have heard of these before, but if not, I will explain them here.
Set S.M.A.R.T Objectives
S.M.A.R.T objectives stands for; Specific, Measurable, Achievable Realistic and Timley.
Writing down your objectives in accordance with this formula will be very beneficial to you. It will help you work out what realistic and achievable steps you will need take in order to get to your ultimate goal. whereas if you 'bite off more than you can chew' right away in terms of goals, then you are setting yourself up to fail.
So what I would do, is write down what your long term goal is. This is your 'why'.
“In two years time from today, I would like to be at 10% body fat with a visible 6 pack and 15 pounds of muscle gain.”
Now that's a great goal to have, but it is a long term goal and it may be quite a long way from where you are now. Therefore, you want to break down this large goal into smaller S.M.A.R.T objectives.
"I aim to begin a weight based workout plan, and low carb/high fat diet which will allow me to burn my first 15 pounds of fat and build 1 pound of lean muscle mass within my first 3 months on the program"
Notice how this 1st S.M.A.R.T objective says specifically what I will be doing, to achieve what measurable result, and by when. Also notice that the goal is fairly realistic and not too far fetched. We need to build our confidence and reduce the risk of not meeting our target.
Now you need to come up with a number of these objectives to take you to your ultimate goal.
Sort Out Your Diet First
When you are making a big lifestyle change or getting back into something that you haven't done for a while, is best to change one behavior at a time. If you try to change your diet and incorporate a weight regime, all around work and other commitments, then you could be setting yourself up for failure.
However, if you change one thing at a time, then you allow that to become routine first before incorporating the next thing.
When it comes to building muscle and getting in shape, diet is always the most important thing. Especially if you are wanting that illusive six pack! Remember the saying;
"Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym."
This is very true. About 70% of your results rely on your diet being on point. Also, it is not very productive to begin a fairly intensive exercise regime if your are not fueling your body properly. You will be low on the vital nutrients fuel your workouts and to repair and build new muscle afterwards.
Therefore, for the 1st month of your health and fitness comeback it may be a good idea to just focus on your diet.
I have written other articles on this blog that go into more depth on diet for building muscle, so I wont go into too much detail here. You can read the article HERE (opens in a new window on this website), and learn more about diet.
I will however, highlight some of the basic and most important points to remember when getting back into healthy eating for fat loss and muscle gain;
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Ease Yourself Back into Lifting Weights
Now that you have your goals, mindset and diet in order; let's look at how to actually get back into the gym in a safe and effective way.
When getting back into lifting weights after a long break, you need to make sure you take it easy at first. Your body will not be used to intense exercise and you really want to avoid injury. If you do sustain an injury then you will most likely put yourself out of training for at least a few days, probably a few weeks or even months.
Take it easy at first and take plenty of time to rest in between workouts to let your body recover.
On the topic of giving your body time to recover, prepare yourself to experience rather intense D.O.M.S (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), where your muscles will be sore and in mild pain for a duration of time after a workout. The muscle soreness may be so delayed (especially in the beginning) that the peak of the soreness could manifest itself up to two or three days after the actual workout! Just prepare yourself mentally for this, and expect to have difficulties performing simple everyday tasks such as walking down steps and getting up off the sofa etc.
This is nothing to worry a bout and a little bit of pain means that your muscles are repairing themselves and growing bigger. Just take it easy, eat well, and be patent. As your body becomes more accustomed to exercise and you become fitter, the D.O.M.S wont be as extreme after workouts in the future.
Below are some of my top tips for easing your way back into weight lifting;
So there you have it. If you are looking at getting back into weightlifting, or indeed any form of fitness, then I applaud you. There is no better way to look great, feel great and increase your lifespan than partaking in physical exercise and eating a clean and healthy diet.
Just remember the tips I have shared with you in this post. Don't aim for the stars straight away. Aim for the moon first. Take it easy, start light, and give your body plenty of time to recover afterwards. Don't forget to change your diet first so that your body is fuelled correctly for the exercise to follow.
Finally, always remember to consult a health professional first before engaging in any new form if exercise and diet program. The content on this website is intended to serve as a helpful, informative and entertaining resource, that hopefully you will benefit from. However, you must consult with the relevant professionals before beginning anything new in life. Health and fitness is no different.
I wish you all the best on your fitness journey!
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