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Q: WHY SHOULD I SPEND MY TIME AND ENERGY LIFTING WEIGHTS?
A: Most people lift weights to improve their appearance, health, and movement perfor- mance. Weight training can add more life to your years and maybe more years to your life.
Q:WHEN IS A PERSON TOO OLD TO START WEIGHT TRAINING?
A: Never. A person is never too old to start a sensible weight training program. Some people may be too unhealthy, but never too old. Weight training can be beneficial for anyone who has a muscular system to maintain. Each person should have an individualized training program.
Your goals, training programs, and results will be different, but weight training can be beneficial at any age. Research has shown that individuals who are more than 90 years old gain strength and muscle mass when they begin lifting weights.
Q: HOW OFTEN SHOULD I SEE A PERSONAL TRAINER?
A: One size does not fit all! Each person has unique health and fitness goals. Individualized program design will depend on your starting point, your goals and your ability to stay accountable to the program.
For optimal performance and adherance to a program it is ideal to have a personal trainer with you for each workout. However, this is not always possible. For the first few weeks of a training program, we recommend that you work with a trainer 2-3 times per week.
After this adaptation phase if you are able to stick to your program it is reccommended that you see a trainer every 4-8 weeks to make adjustments to your program to keep you on track.
Q: WILL WEIGHT TRAINING SHAPE UP A SPECIFIC PART OF MY BODY?
A: Yes and no. Exercises for a specific body part will firm up weak, sagging muscles and may result in a trimmer appearance but will not effectively reduce excess body fat stored in that area. The idea of losing body fat from a specific body part is known as spot reduction.
Examples of spot reduction are sit-ups to lose fat from the abdomen and hip extensions to lose fat from the hips. Unfortunately, the research to date indicates that spot reduction does not work. To lose fat from a specific area requires a reduction in total body fat. This is best accomplished by reducing caloric intake and increasing caloric expenditure.
The best type of exercise to lose body fat is one that uses the large muscles of the body in a rhythmic and continuous manner. Good examples of exercises for the loss of excess body fat are walking, jogging, bicycling, and swimming. Of course, weight training will build muscle tissue.
This increase in muscle tissue should help with fat loss by giving you more active muscle tissue that is capable of using calories and by raising your resting metabolic rate so you will use more calories even when you are resting.
Q: DOES WEIGHT TRAINING REQUIRE HOURS OF TRAINING EACH WEEK?
A: No. Weight training is one of the most efficient forms of exercise. All of the major muscle groups in the body can be trained in 15 to 20 minutes two or three times each week. You will not find many effective exercise programs faster than that!
The amount of time you need to spend training with weights will be related to the goals you set for yourself.
Q: WILL WEIGHT TRAINING DAMAGE MY JOINTS?
A: No. Weight training exercises done correctly will increase joint strength. Exercises should be performed in a smooth, continuous manner. Weight training exercises performed improperly could damage your joints. Jerking, throwing, and dropping weights should be avoided because these incorrect lifting techniques may result in injury.
Q: WILL WEIGHT TRAINING MAKE ME MUSCLE-BOUND?
A: No. If you follow correct weight training principles, weight training will not make you muscle-bound. "Muscle-bound" refers to a condition in which a person has a limited range of joint motion. One weight training principle is to train each muscle through a full range of motion. Each muscle should be exercised from full extension to full contraction.
Also, the opposing muscles should receive an equal amount of exercise so the muscles on one side of a joint do not develop more than those on the other side. When these principles are followed, the weight trainer generally will experience an increase, rather than a decrease, in flexibility and joint mobility. The United States has many more "fat-bound" people than "muscle-bound" people.
Athletes may become muscle-bound as a result of the unbalanced muscular develop- ment induced by many sports. Also, when athletes train with weights to improve their sport performance, they typically train only those muscles that already are over- developed, and ignore balanced development. The result is that athletes sometimes see weight training as the reason for their muscle-bound condition when their condition actually is the result of a poorly planned weight training program.
The gymnast is probably one of the best examples of a high level of strength devel- opment accompanied by a high level of flexibility. Research also has shown that olympic weight lifters are among the most flexible athletes at the Olympic Games.
Q: CAN I JUST TONE MY MUSCLES AND NOT INCREASE MY MUSCLE SIZE?
A: Yes. By designing your training program so that you use moderate to light resistance (60% to 80% of your 1 repetition maximum) for relatively high repetitions (12 to 15 repetitions) and relatively few sets (1 or 2 sets) of relatively few exercises (1 exercise per muscle group) performed relatively few days per week (2 or 3 days per week), your strength and muscle tone will increase and you generally will experience little noticeable increase in muscle size. Actually, a lot of very hard work is necessary for most men and women to increase their muscle size.
Q: IF I BUILD MUSCLE, WILL IT TURN TO FAT WHEN I STOP WEIGHT TRAINING?
A: No. Muscle tissue and fat tissue are two distinctly different kinds of tissue in the human body, and muscle tissue cannot become fat tissue. If you stop training, however, you can accumulate more body fat. Muscle tissue adapts to the demands placed upon it. When you stop training, your muscles will adapt to the new demand. If the new demand is much lower than it was before, the muscles will respond by getting smaller and weaker (atrophy).
If you continue eating like you did when you were training hard every day, the extra calories now will be stored as body fat. Even if you manage to stay at the same body weight, you will have less muscle and more fat, leaving you with the outward appearance that your muscles have turned to fat. Because fat tissue is not as dense as muscle tissue, you also can expect to gain inches in your body circumference measurements.
To make matters worse, as you lose metabolically active muscle tissue, your ability to use calories is reduced. Muscle cells are active calorie-burning cells. As these calorie- burning cells atrophy, your metabolic rate slows down and you need even fewer calories than before. To think you can maintain a trim, muscular, shapely appearance by diet alone is foolish.
Q: WILL WEIGHT TRAINING MAKE A WOMAN LOOK LIKE A MAN?
A: No. Hormones, not weight training, determine if a woman appears more masculine or more feminine. On the average, men have 6 to 10 times more testosterone than women. The higher levels of testosterone contribute to the secondary characteristics we generally consider as masculine.
Women who train with weights generally develop healthy, shapely, trim female figures. In fact, most of the women who are now competing in beauty pageants use some form of progressive resistance exercise to prepare for competition. Also, many of the most attractive female movie stars exercise with weights.
Q: WILL WEIGHT TRAINING MAKE ME SLOWER?
A: No. Coaches used to tell their athletes not to lift weights because it would make them slower. The research in this area, however, indicates that the opposite is true: Weight training increases speed.
Muscle contraction is responsible for human movement. With weight training, strength increases more than body weight, so the individual will have a greater strength-to-weight ratio. A stronger muscle can move a body part faster. Muscular weakness and excess body fat will make you slower.
Q: WILL WEIGHT TRAINING RUIN MY COORDINATION?
A: No. There is some neuromuscular adjustment to an increase in strength, but most people make this minor adjustment with no problem because strength gain is relatively slow.
For the athlete in a sport in which "touch" or "timing" is critical, it is advisable to increase strength during the off-season and maintain that strength level through the competitive season. For the weak and untrained individual, weight training generally will improve coordination.
Q: CAN I GAIN AS MUCH STRENGTH FROM PARTICIPATING IN SPORTS AS I CAN FROM WEIGHT TRAINING?
A: No. Most sports do not provide the right type, intensity, duration, or frequency of exercise to increase strength effectively. Weight training can produce a strength gain stimulus in one minute that is greater than a muscle would receive in hours of participatjon in most recreational activities.
Many recreational sports injuries are the result of placing an unfit body in a compet- itive situation. You should gain strength to participate in sports instead of participating in sports to gain strength.
Q: CAN WEIGHT TRAINING DEVELOP TOTAL HEALTH RELATED PHYSICAL FITNESS?
A: Yes. It is possible for a well planned circuit weight training program to develop all aspects of health-related physical fitness. Total health-related physical fitness involves the development of cardiovascular endurance, strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and control of body fat. Most weight training programs, however, can best develop strength or muscular endurance. More effective ways are available to develop the other aspects of physical fitness.