Muscle Training 101: Where to Start

Drop sets. Bulking. Metabolic conditioning. Amongst the High Intensity Training, Crossfit, half Ironmans that today’s everyday bloke is smashing out, it can be a daunting decision to start training. However, despair no longer, if you’re looking for more muscle and less body fat, there are a few steps to start with before you start googling personal training courses in Melbourne or Sydney.

In vs Out

If you want to lose weight, your calorific expenditure must exceed your intake. In other words, you need to work off more than what you eat. Now, your clever brain might encourage you to simply eat a whole lot less, but there are few problems with this. First, it’s actually quite difficult to drastically reduce your food intake without caving and having a mega binge, or being unable to function with light headedness or severe hangry spells. Second, by messing around with fasting, especially without dietetic consultation, you’re setting yourself up to mess up your metabolism, which in turn slows and puts you on the yo-yo dieting merry-go-round. Avoid. Instead, find ways to move more, even a 20 minute walk a day will make a difference, and perhaps a slightly smaller portion than normal for one meal of the day.

Resistance vs Cardio

The age old dilemma for the time-poor exerciser, get that heart rate up or do weights? The answer to this depends on what you want to achieve in your fitness. However, if you’re looking for a general get fitter/more muscle/less fat type of outcome, go for intervals. Using a variety of planned exercises with short bursts of intense reps or activity gets the cardio working as well as delivering the benefits of working under load. Don’t be afraid to be creative, you can also do your regular weights with less rest between sets and regular cardio holding free weights or with ankle weights.

Pre and post-training

Good news for your wallet, you don’t really need to stock up on pre-work out or protein powders to get the most out of exercise. Before your session, be hydrated and have a light meal. Too hungry and you won’t perform as well and too full, you’re more likely to feel a whole lot heavier while working towards those chin ups. After training, eat a little something within half an hour to prevent your body going into fast – a banana and handful or raw almonds delivers some simple sugars, carbs and protein, making it a great recovery snack. Some recent studies also suggest chocolate milk is a suitable option also, just make it a moderate portion – not a pint! Ditch the bottle sports recovery drinks that are infamous for their sugar. If water really isn’t enough, pharmacy electrolyte drinks can be appropriate for re-hydration if you have sweated excessively.

The easiest tip is to just get moving, no excuses. And that personal training course? Perhaps it’s not such a bad idea after all, whether an extra source of income or solid knowledge base to have for your own training.