Good Monday morning! How was your weekend? Ours was lovely. We had some excitement too: Little A got her first visit from the tooth fairy. She is absolutely thrilled despite the blood, sweat and tears involved in losing this first baby tooth. Ha!
So, in case I never mentioned it before...workout out is one of the best things you can do for your health. Based on my own experiences, and the research I've done, I am more and more convinced that strength training is one of the best forms of exercise for both health and appearance.
I won't bore you with the myriad of health benefits involved, sadly, most people are not motivated by those. But most people like the idea of looking ripped (i.e. having muscle definition and minimal body fat). Well my friends, I am here to tell you that strength training is one of the best ways to get that body.
The problem for many, particularly women, is that strength training seems intimidating. Don't be scared. Really. Even if you've never picked up a dumbbell, its never too late to start.
Fitness Weight Training, by Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle, is a great reference for those looking to start a strength training program. If you are not someone who enjoys reading how-tos, this book might not be for you, but it really does provide everything you need to know to start strength training, and knowledge is important because this one activity that can be very dangerous if you don't know what you are doing.
In Part I, the authors explain how weight training improves fitness and describes all purpose of all the equipment and how to use it. They provide a guide for assessing your current level of fitness, and how to design your fitness program. There is a guide for how to choose appropriate training loads, and numbers of sets and repetitions. Based on your experience and fitness level, you can then choose from a series of fitness programs, based on your goals (toning, body shaping, and strength), which are colour-coded by their level of difficulty/intensity.
There is a chapter describing proper versus improper postures, grips, etc. Technique is absolutely key in strength training, both for safety and efficacy. So if you plan to teach yourself the art of strength training, you need to know this stuff!
This book devotes an entire section to describing how to perform the most common exercises, complete with photos. Again, this is important for anyone inexperienced planning to begin a training program on their own.
Another section lays out a variety of sample training programs based on your goals and level of difficulty, and offers guidelines for designing your own program. The authors also include a section on how to integrate your weight training in with whatever cardiovascular activities you do.
Overall, this book contains a wealth of information and is a great pick for anyone interested in incorporating weight training into their life to improve their health and fitness. So if your excuse is always you don't have money for a gym membership or personal trainer, suck it up. Just buy the book and some weights and resistance bands and you'll be on your way!