The Top 5 Things I Have Learned About Lifting Weights
I have always dabbled with weights, but over the past couple of months I feel like I finally have got some real consistency going and things are starting to click. Don’t get me wrong, I am still a beginner and the body comp still proves that! However, using the StrongLifts 5×5 program has really focused me on strength gains and it feels great. I really look forward to going to my gym and seeing if I can get 5 reps for 5 sets at a weight 5 pounds heavier than last time. When I succeed it is extremely rewarding.
I read about fitness, nutrition, and lifting weights a lot. I have also been steadily working out (running, biking, and finally lifting heavy weights) for about a year now. Being the analytical guy that I am, I was recently thinking about what I have learned (or haven’t) over the past year. Here is what I came up with so far:
1. Stick to a program
I have been notorious for starting a program and then 2-weeks later reading about another lifting program and starting that one. This has done nothing more than make me aware of the programs that are out there as opposed to actually building my body. For a program to be successful, a person has to stick with it and let the program do its job. StrongLifts 5×5 has done that for me.
2. Lift heavy – really heavy
Whenever I lifted in the past, I thought I was lifting heavy weights but my lack of results proved that I wasn’t. When I actually focused on getting the weight up there and shooting for 5 reps then I began to start seeing some muscle. It really comes down to intensity and pushing yourself out of the comfort zone. Now I finish my workouts tired and with a sense of accomplishment.
3. But do not sacrifice form
This one takes some efforts and actually has meant that I have had to go lighter than I thought. Look up Rippetoe on Youtube and learn how to do the squat, press, deadlift, and bench press properly. However, when you focus on form you will feel the effects and going a bit lighter means you can actually do the lift properly. Over time my weight has increased even with this focus. Don’t let that jackass in the gym squatting 3 plates on each side but with knees buckling and back arched fool you – he is not as strong as the guy doing 2 plates but with bang-on form.
4. I still don’t know how to eat right
I still struggle with this one and about 1 week ago I began a bit of an experiment. In the past I have been after those two competing goals – bigger muscles with lower body fat. I have now made the commitment that I am after bigger muscles and must eat as such. With that in mind, I set my calories a bit higher than I think my maintenance is (2300 calories) on training days and at maintenance on off days. After 4-weeks I am going to see what my body has done (I took measurements and pictures) to see if I need to tweek things. Only then will I think I really know what I should do.
5. There is a lot of conflicting information on the web
If there is any truisms in the lifting world, it is that everyone and their dog has a belief and opinion or researched stat and they can vary widely. Truth is, there is no one answer out there and it is important not to get bogged down in all the noise. I think my approach above of experimenting with my food intake and recording measurements over time to see what works for me is important.
Anyway, that is where my mind is at at this point. I will let you know how it progresses over time.