Fitness Health

5 Steps to More Powerful Strength Training

Written by Tom Bonanti

          Fall is just around the corner, so why not take advantage of a new season to revamp your workouts? It’s essential every 3 or 4 months to assess your progress if you really desire to achieve your best possible body. Strip down, look in the mirror, weigh yourself, take your measurements and be honest. Whether you’re pleased with the results, or realize you’ve got some work to do, forge ahead realizing you’ve got the potential to improve and redefine not only that physique, but your overall health as well! Here are my five favorite strength training strategies that are guaranteed to produce substantial results!

          First, a strong, fit and sexy body is the result of a three- fold approach: weight training, effective cardio-vascular training, and sound nutrition. Neglect any one of these and your success will be compromised. You simply can’t preserve healthy muscle tissue and build lean new muscle without doing regular weight training. Hit the weights at least 2 to 3 times a week, if not more. Doing regular cardio (3 to 4 times per week for 30 – 45 minutes) is the best way to improve the longevity of your heart and lungs. It will also rev up your metabolism and help you burn fat. Finally, you can lift tons of weights and run miles of cardio, but unless you eat wisely, all your hard work in the gym will yield, at best, disappointing returns. Beef up your breakfast and eat much less at night; eat smaller meals (5 – 6) every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day as opposed to 1 or 2 monster feedings; opt for high protein meals with healthy low glycemic index, high energy carbs.

          Secondly, remember that for strength training, free weights are your best bet. A barbell and a rack of dumbbells are all you need for an effective resistance training workout that will help you build muscle, increase flexibility and burn calories. Remember, nothing beats the squat, bench press, deadlift, and shoulder press with a barbell for building overall mass and strength. Perform assistance moves like curls, chest flies, lateral and front shoulder raises, etc. by moving on down that rack of trusty dumbbells.

          Thirdly, take time to journal your workouts. List exercises, sets, repetitions and the outcome of each training session. Keep track of your weights, your best lifts, and the most reps you’ve performed on each exercise. Be consistent and honest with your documentation and strive to improve at least a little with each workout.

          Fourthly, never over-train and always maintain impeccable lifting form with each exercise. Keep workouts to under an hour of one or two intense lifts (squat, bench press, shoulder press, deadlift) and three or four assistance lifts (curls, side raises, triceps push-downs, etc.) in order to take advantage of hormonal surges of testosterone and human growth hormone. With each press, lift, or raise, maintain perfect form.

           Fifthly, make sure to have fun and enjoy yourself! When you’re in the gym, vary your routine by trying new weight training exercises, jump on board new cardio machines, sign up for novel classes…anything, just to keep exercising fresh. On your days off from the gym, stay active by walking, swimming, or roller-blading outside and you’re bound to meet new people and make new connections.

          Tom Bonanti is a certified fitness trainer and massage therapist (MA#40288) with his own one on one gym and massage at 1271 NE 9th Avenue Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. 33304. Contact [email protected] with questions or call Tom (954) 557-1119 to schedule a free consultation today!