Starting a training journey
When I talk about training, I’m talking about the process of incrementally improving your physical performance through making your body adapt to the stresses you apply upon it when you workout or exercise.
This could be training the endurance of the legs and the cardiovascular system to run further and faster or the building up of muscle tissue to be able to lift heavier weights.
This blog is focused primarily on the latter, although the principles I outline could be applied to most forms of physical training.
Get the right mentality, everything will follow
The way to start your training journey is to first accept and recognise that it is indeed a journey; no matter what the media or the magazines tell you you cannot get a shortcut to results and a great body/high performance in a short time.
Try and liken it to learning an instrument.
No matter how talented you are you are going to have to learn the technique, practice and practice to get to an even reasonable standard.
No matter how good you get there is always more you can learn.
If you stop playing for a while you will get rusty and go backwards until you start practising again.
Above all, if you want to be good at it you need to make it a lifestyle habit, and apply a measure of dedication to your chosen craft.
All of this applies to physical training and I urge you to forget all the crash dieting and 6 week body transformations that so many want to desperately believe, in the hope that they can get something for nothing.
Don’t be one of these people; it is this refusal to accept that some things worth having take time, effort and dedication that fuels the fitness propaganda machine and keeps the profits alive.
But trust me, with the right attitude you can achieve great results that importantly will last because you made a lifestyle change.
The best thing about this approach is that once you live the lifestyle being in shape won’t even be hard. You’ll enjoy what you do and enjoy reaping the rewards of having a strong body.
Related article: 9 things all fit people do
This is what I want to motivate you to do. Use this blog as a source of information to help you see through all the rubbish and get knowledgable about fitness.
The beginner templates will give you routines to follow for approximately the first year of your training.
Obviously there is no such thing as a one-size fits all plan and training should be planned around a lot of variables such as your age, previous level of activity, time available to train, diet etc.
Therefore another important facet of training is to get to know your own body.
Everyone has slightly different body leverages and compositions, so to get the most out of your effort it is vital to find out what works for you.
Of course the purpose of this blog is to make things simple.
So don’t worry at this stage too much about the variables, just concentrate on getting used to the exercises assigned, using moderate weights that you can safely handle to get the form in place before you move onto heavier or more complex movements.
Pick one of the templates in the beginners section, considering this information:
- All exercises at this stage are compound movements. This is opposite to an isolation movement where one muscle is targeted (a more advanced technique). Compound movements are the foundation stones to your training as they work the largest muscle groups of the body while also recruiting many others to complete the movement. By performing these lifts you are not only developing the major muscle groups but because you are using most of the muscles in your body you will directly develop your whole musculature whilst burning more calories. Form is very important here so seek advice from PTs in your gym or do what I did and use the internet to find one of the many excellent articles out there that break the proper form down for you.
- Full-body routines and frequency. As a beginner your primary aim should be mastering the movements and getting your body used to adapting to a workload. Therefore I have you performing the three big compound lifts three times a week (benchpress or dips, squat and deadlift), in order to ‘groove’ the movement and prepare your body for heavier weights. As you progress and become more advanced you won’t be able to perform these lifts mutliple times a week (particularly the deadlift) because the heavy loads will need more recovery time but for now it is beneficial to perform them more often so your body learns the technique.
- Mind-muscle connection- One thing that separates experienced trainers from beginners is the ability to contract an individual muscle. This is developed by training the neural connections from the brain to the muscle; through practice (just like with an instrument) the trainer gets better at controlling a specific muscle (and in the case of weightlifting improving its ability to contract with force). This is something that often gets overlooked and it is one of the reasons why you see people in the gym for years who have very few results. Get started on this early and really concentrate on establishing the connection by thinking about which muscles you are working during the exercise.
Related article: The mind-muscle connection
That’s probably enough to get started with. Remember while I can show you a program and explain the concepts to you it is up to you to put them into practice and take ownership of your training.
Don’t just go through the motions; as you work out think about what you’re doing and try and understand how your body is responding.
Head to the templates section now and pick out one of the templates.
Don’t forget that there is a lot of information in the Beginners Topics, Training Tips and Myths Debunked sections as well as new content and information being uploaded daily so keep checking back to learn more as you progress!
Of course if you want a specific topics covered in more detail or have any questions drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the journey!