I love lifting.
I didn't always though.
My husband never lets me forget that I once called it boring and repetitive! In many ways I was right (see point 5), but training for strength in our bodies is powerful. Powerful for not just our bodies, but our minds and our emotions as well. I often see it is often a catalyst to other growth and change in our lives.
As I enter my fifth year of consistently training (and let's not forget, that's not that long compared to the DECADES I plan on doing), here are some of the truths along the way that are worth never forgetting:
1. Soreness is not a sign of a good workout or strength gains
Can you remember your beginner DOMS? That first time you did ten squats and couldn't get up and down the stairs or the toilet for days?! DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness and it is at its worst 24-72 hours after training. But it is not needed for a great workout. You don't need to be walking around in pain all the time to be making progress in your lifting. It's also fine if you're attempting something new or really pushed yourself, but not a good thing to be aiming for every time. See point 2 below...
2. You are only as strong as what you can recover from.
Exercise is a stress on the body. It create damage in the muscles, little tears, that get repaired afterwards - so that the muscle is bigger and stronger for NEXT TIME. So, if you don't take adequate rest, manage stress, sleep enough, you are not going to be as strong as you could be. Period. You are worthy of rest remember, and you don't need to live in a cloud of anxiety, exhaustion and overwhelm all the time. Please, for the sake of your gains, yourself and your life, slow down and rest!
3. A neutral spine isn't everything.
Each body is individual and the most efficient way of lifting something is going to be different for each person. We cue certain specifics to bring awareness to which muscles you are (or are not!) using in your lift. And these cues have come about from general safe-lifting guidelines, so they're worth something, but forcing your body into the 'right' way of moving, probably, in fact, isn't right because right doesn't exist. Remember, the spine is strong AF as you're more likely to hurt it from sleeping funny, stepping off the curb funny etc. than squatting or deadlifting.
4. Cardio doesn't have to leave you dying on the floor.
Cardio helps your heart health, so let's not lose it's purpose here, and I recommend something that gets your heart rate up! But can we, for the most part, keep it at an intensity that means you can still have a conversation please? I see far too many people killing themselves with cardio!! Stop the puffing and panting. Just keep it steady.
It can be a great additional source of calorie burn if you're looking to create a deficit. But this could also be created from the amount of walking you do a day, running around after the kids, having sex, legging it from meeting to meeting... Let's separate cardio (heart health) from strength training (more muscle) from a calorie deficit (less energy in than out). The three are interlinked, of course, but one does not equate to the other.
5. The basics never stop working.
If your routine is boring and simple, then cool. Squat, hinge, push, pull, carry, repeat.
Track your progress. It won't be linear. Don't worry, it's still working.
The magic key to success? Keep doing it. For the rest of your life. Be as consistent as possible (and when you are injured, recover/adapt/what can you do instead? I wrote another blog post about that!). And if you can't do one of these moves for whatever reason - think of them more as movement patterns, with more than one way to achieve the same thing!
What truths have you found out about lifting? Anything you would add to my list?
Or, do you have any questions about lifting? I'd love to get you started!
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