Resistance training may just be the most potent, anti-aging mechanism that we have available to us.
It helps lower risk factors for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and even boosts cognitive performance. The known benefits are remarkable, yet plenty of the population is left in the dark unequipped with the tools to start a resistance training program.
This article is for the skeptics. Or better–the uninformed beginner who has no clue where to start. I’ll share some basic information with you that I certainly wish I found earlier in my career.
I’ll start by saying there are a myriad of great training programs out there. Depending on your goals I recommend starting with a program like Starting Strength, Wendlers 5/3/1, or any of the programs from the guys at Mind Pump.
My job is to be the facilitator. Sharing some beginner insights while showcasing other coach’s work. Take this list as it is. You won’t go wrong.
1). Be Consistent
Starting a training protocol can be stressful. In the beginning stages you need to stay consistent. A shitty program done with complete consistency will yield better results than a perfect program done haphazardly. Remember when you introduce a new stimulus to your body it will need time to master technique, refine the movement pattern, and allow the central nervous system to adjust accordingly. All of this to say that your body thrives from consistent, repeated efforts. This is the learning process that will give you the most significant results.
2). Master Technique
The primary goal of resistance training is to perform movements with proper form through your body’s capable range of motion. Before contemplating switching programs–or increasing weight–make sure your technique is dialed in.
3). Less is More
For the beginner, there is a large window of opportunity to improve. Over the first 6 months to a year results can come quickly leaving you excited at the prospect of doing MORE. I caution you not to give in to this temptation. As the results keep coming you’ll automatically think that you can accelerate the progress even further by adding more sets and reps to your workouts. Don’t. Start with the minimal effective dosage that will allow you to make performance gains while sticking to the fundamentals.
Most people will set out with a goal “look” in mind. Toned arms, tight stomach, buns of steel. Whatever tickles your fancy. I see no problem in striving for a vanity based goal. However, building an exceptional physique will take some serious time. Like years and years of time. If you create a lifestyle around your goals then the progress will be faster and more sustainable.
Sidebar: Anyone selling you a quick 6 month program to your ideal physique is Lord Voldemort in disguise. Plain and simple.
Take a good hard nutritional inventory. What do you struggle with? Do know what good nutrition looks like for you? In your context? Nutrition will be the catalyst to your resistance training success. It affects everything from your capacity for strength to your ability to recover. This means prioritizing whole foods that are rich in fiber and protein. I’ll dive deeper into the specifics of nutrition in a later post so stay tuned for that.
6). The Supplement Trap
When I’m working with a brand new client we will inevitably have the supplement talk. The supplement industry is an absolute force, praying off of the insecurities and inexperience of the average person. You’d be hard pressed to find an outlet that isn’t trying to serve you the latest fat burner 3000.
I’ll gently unpack this for you. By in large, you don’t need supplementation UNLESS you have a specific deficiency in your diet that needs to be accounted for. You’ll be better off working to incorporate a wide array of nutrient dense foods into your diet. Once this is addressed and you’re still not meeting your general requirements, then you should look to supplementing.
7). Hire Help
If you’re seriously stuck and want some direction to your training then hire a qualified coach. This is certainly a luxury for most people. Although, thanks to social media, you can access some top tier coaching for a fraction of the price that in-person training costs. This is great for organized, self-starters that are willing to do the work with the right guidance. Coaches are great for accountability, instruction, and further education on the best exercises that will help you reach your goals.
8). Take Responsibility
You must take responsibility for your lifestyle habits. I you have specific desires then make sure you are taking the necessary actions to achieve them. Otherwise you’ll lose sight of your goals. This is exactly why I work to build training into my clients’ lifestyles. You want it to become something you regularly do, like showering or brushing your teeth. You don’t really think too much about it. It’s just part of your routine. That’s not to say that you will love training all the time. You won’t. But you certainly can maintain a more positive relationship with it.