Doing my daily hiking and running, I got approached by a middle aged lady who recognized me from the article I write locally. She said that she had been seeing how people who train with me have changed drastically. She did not waste time and told me her concern:

“I have tried everything to lose weight and tone my body and I’m not getting anywhere”

“I have exercised daily – running, zumba, aerobics, biking and weightlifting. I have lost 20 pounds on my own in 6 months, but even when I try harder, it seems that I can’t get over it. I have been trying for 4 months now”.

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“Are you eating healthy?”

“Yes, I am”.

“Why don’t you come to my studio and try a session with us and check our training? Maybe you’ll feel a little more challenged by our exercises”.

“Okay, I won’t lose anything by trying something new”.

This is how Beth and I agreed on her first training session. After the session she made some positive comments.

“No wonder I got stuck. Your sessions are completely different to what I’m used to do. If I continue doing this, would I get more results?”

“Yes, however, there is more that you need to know about training. If you are trying to lose weight and tone up and you perform the same exercises over and over again, you will see results, but you are also preparing to plateau”.

“What do you mean?”

“You need to set goals. Just like most skills in life, you need to learn the basics and climb up. Exercise is the same”

Here, I’m going to demonstrate how to set specific goals:

1 – First, search about all the muscle groups you need to exercise. To have a balanced and attractive body you should work all these muscle groups: quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, gluts, core, chest, back, triceps, shoulders and biceps.

2 – Find exercises that work those muscle groups. There are many of them and the variety will help keep you engaged and interested.

3 – Design a periodical program with the right repetitions, sets and days a week. All this will depend on the program you choose. Most popular programs work to some degree. It is good to find what you like and feel enthusiastic about it. What I recommend is between 8 to 15 repetitions from 3 to 5 sets, once gain depending on the program.

Most programs will specify the sets and repetitions. Keep in mind that your body needs to be well trained working the eccentric and concentric movement to avoid injury, especially when you are doing lower repetitions with heavy weights.

4 – Learn all the exercise form before any heavy weight lifting. Your form is important to avoid injury and work the right muscle groups.

5 – Find your baseline, starting with light weights. All muscle groups are different sizes. Therefore each muscle group will have different strengths. An example, the weight the legs can lift is completely different from your chest or back.

Some muscles have similar strength, such as triceps, biceps and shoulders. Also, the type of exercise requires different weight as well. Shoulder Lateral Raises levers and angles are different than the Military Press. Therefore you are going to do less weight at the Shoulder Lateral Raises than the Military Press.

6 – Once you find your baseline, this is one of the most important instructions: stop thinking that you should lift the same weight all the time. You must increase your weight when your body adapts to it, meaning when it becomes easier enough to go to the next level.

If you could only run 10 minutes when you started running you will not keep those 10 minutes for your whole life. Your body adapts to it and will request more. Same thing happens with weight lifting”.

effective training program_2

Beth protested saying: “But I don’t want to grow big muscles”

“Don’t you worry about the myth of becoming big muscular”, I answered, “That is not true”.

Now, if you follow your program, you should commit to your periodic goals. If you started curling 5 pounds on each hand, by the end of the month, or even before, you can do 8 pounds. If you squatted only body weight, by the end of the month you may squat at least that plus 10 pounds.

The faster your progress and the more weight safely lifted, the faster results you will get. Your body needs to adapt to the new resistance, changing its shape”.

“I’ll forget what each muscle group can lift” Beth commented.

“Write it down, all your goals and achievements should be on paper until you no longer need to write them down”

“When I started my exercise program, I was so excited about it that I had them on my mind all the time. I could not way until I could lift heavier weights”.

“However, as it became a routine, I started forgetting my repetitions, sets and weight. The best thing I did was to write down everything as a reminder of my continue progressing”.

“That is all I need to do?”

“Yes, concerning strength training. Remember that your eating habits and cardiovascular training play an important role for your goals too”.

“And one more thing, find out how long it will take for you to get where you want to be, so you don’t get discouraged. You can do this by asking a capable professional or someone who had the same baseline and goals than you had and has already done it”.

Beth has learned and followed all my advice, lost 30 pounds more, toned her body and continued her progressions.

Committed to your happiness and well-being,

Sandro Torres

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