Feel healthier, stronger and confident in everything we do, from feeling comfortable in our clothing to being able to move something heavy to dealing with anything stressful. Read our guide from our resident nutritionist Nick Owen and Programme Manager Terri Siabi and find out how you can add weightlifting into your training programme.
To help you get started with your training and also to help those with some experience of weightlifting - we are running Men's and Women's classes in March and April. Look our for posters in the Club or email Terri.Siabi@ymca.co.uk to find out more.
Men's Weighlifting workshops
- Monday 16th April, 12-1pm
- Thursday 19th April, 5-6pm
- Monday 23rd April, 12-1pm
- Thursday 26th April, 5-6pm
Women's Weightlifting workshops
- Monday 19th March, 12-1pm
- Thursday 22nd March 5-6pm
- Monday 26th March, 12-1pm
- Thursday 29th March, 5-6pm
Pre and post workout
Prepare for the lift
Rest between sets
Stretching and soft tissue work
Post-workout, your body is in a state of damage and you need to provide it with the nutrients to repair. You have depleted your energy stores, broken down your muscles, elevated your cortisol levels (your body’s stress hormone), and generated free radicals - this is how weight training works. You will also have placed a huge workload on your neuromuscular system, far more than any cardiovascular workout.
Keeping on track
- Food - having the ingredients to hand and making the time to prepare and cook. It’s about making sure your meals are appropriate to your goals and your body type, using good quality fresh ingredients whenever possible, eating a moderate combination of protein, carbohydrate and fats - and at least 7 or 8 portions of fruits and vegetables over the course of the day - 2 to 3 fruits, the rest veg.
- Training - it is to visualise what you will be doing - begin to mentally prepare for your workout en route to the gym - visualise what you will be doing and put your mind in training mode - own your workout and visualise 'smashing it'. Make sure too that your warm-up is appropriate to your goals - a 15/20 minute warm up or cardio session that depletes your energy levels is not going to be appropriate for a strength training session.
- Sleep - it is allocating a minimum of 7 hours of sleep, and ditching the phone, iPad, laptop and anything else that emits blue light at least an hour before bed. Sleep is the time our body repairs, protein synthesis takes place, and growth hormone is released; all absolutely critical if we are aiming to for muscle and strength. Research also shows the importance of a dark room, a quiet room, a cool room, a clean room and a comfortable mattress in helping to achieve this.
- Compound moves with the barbell and will be the foundation of your strength and size - strength builds size; squats, deadlifts, bench press, rows and overhead press will be fundamental to your routine It is also important to remember that your core strength and mobility are an integral part of this - and so is your rest.
- For each of the exercises, you need to have goals - what is it you are trying to achieve - strength and size will come from lifting heavier weights - not unless repetition of light weights for small muscle groups. We have a team of experts here at the YMCA - check let them help you achieve your goals.
- And for that core strength and mobility - Try Yoga, Supple Strength, Primal Patterns and our new classes In-trinity and FloatFit
Remember too that these are complex moves - very different from pushing a 'pec deck' or 'leg press'. For example, the dead-lift engages more muscles than any other lift, and your timing is crucial for every part. You can only get the timing right if your neuro-muscular pathways are fuelled to their optimum. To fuel your brain and body, think eggs, deep leafy greens, fish and nuts and make sure you don't go low fat! It’s more processed and has more sugars in it.
- Reality is you probably need to be eating more on your training days - and eating more carbohydrates and good fat - both things that we previously thought we should avoid to achieve that fit healthy physique.
- Another reality is that you MAY put on scale weight as you become stronger and healthier! This is because muscle is heavier than fat - just ask a few of our team members - their body-weight has gone up and they finally have the physique that they want - with a higher percentage of lean muscle, and a lower percentage of body-fat. You can track your own progress with our Body Composition Analysis - speak to a member of our gym team for more details.
- As much as I dislike counting calories (we are all slightly different so have different energy requirements), it is worth noting that the sometimes quoted 2500 calories per day for men will not be enough on your lifting days. You would need to be consuming around 2800-3000, maybe more depending on your body-type and particularly if you are doing squats and dead-lifts - and a large part of this needs to come from carbohydrates, which gives you the energy and strength to power through your routine, and then support the replenishment of energy and recovery for your next lifting session.