10 Essential Weightlifting Tips
Do you even lift, bro?
Yes. Yes we do. At Jack City Fitness, we offer athletes the most elite ways to hone their skills along with the facilities that guarantee their success. Given the many values of weightlifting — from muscle building, physical health, and metabolism-related perspectives — we knew that we needed a stellar team of trainers to give our partners the best. That’s how we ended up with our hand-picked weight training crew.
We’re proud to say that our our weightlifting coaches are experts, and it’s their pleasure to share their knowledge with other Boise athletes. Today, they’ve let us in on a few of their most essential tips in making the most out of a weightlifting session.
- It’s Okay To Start Small— In Fact, It’s Great!
Sure, when we imagine the term “weightlifting,” many of us conjure up an image of a glistening bodybuilder with rippling with muscles on every inch of their body, benching staggeringly high amounts of weight. Though that is certainly an attainable goal, it’s not what every bodybuilder looks like — or is working towards, for that matter. And that’s okay. It’s very important that athletes, experienced or new, are realistic about their abilities and work their lifting routine around them — and not the other way around.
A few ways to start out small?
- Ditch the Equipment (For Now)
Lifting doesn’t need to mean barbells or gym equipment. It can actually refer to your own body weight.
To elaborate: the key element of weight training isn’t the physical item that you’re holding, but the resistance that is created against your body strength. For many, lifting weights is simply a more tangible and straightforward way to introduce significant levels of resistance to your bodily strength. However, it’s not the only one. Athletes who are new to weightlifting as a form of training may find that starting without actual weights, and instead focusing on their own body, means greater lifting success down the line. Try asking your coach about perfecting your push-up, or start honing in on your most flawless squat. The strength will follow.
- Build Your Schedule Gradually
If you aren’t used to working out, it’s a fairly large jump to suddenly spend every day lifting at the gym. Go easy on yourself in terms of your schedule — it will help you avoid burnout. Start out by training once or twice a week, and build your way up gradually.
- Without Goals, Your Workout is Incomplete
As you embark on your weightlifting journey, it helps to set clear goals. This will give you a sense of purpose, and will help you to set milestones and important markers along the way.
A few tips for setting goals:
- Think About Your Motivation
What drove you to sign up for a weightlifting coaching session? What brought you to this article about weightlifting in the first place? Somewhere, there’s a spark inside of you that wants to try lifting for a reason. What is it for you? Once you can put a finger on that motivation, you’ll be able to state a solid goal for yourself with ease.
- Evaluate Where You Currently Stand
Your goals need to be in relation to your actual skills, otherwise you’ll end up disappointed or underwhelmed. We don’t like these feelings. We want results! That’s why we always recommend being honest with yourself about your abilities, even if you feel embarrassed about them. Believe us, you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, you should be proud that you’re taking these steps in your physical fitness and health!
So, if you only lift once a week, your goal might be to eventually have the strength to train every other day. Setting appropriate goals will set you up for victories down the line — ones that you wouldn’t have reached if they’d been your original ones.
- Visualize Your Ideal Self
What does your ideal self look like? Strong? Fast? Built? Sit down, center yourself, and really think about what you see when you imagine your healthiest self. A version of this person you’re visualizing is possible. Write down every aspect of that dream self, and use those details to guide your goals.
- Don’t Forget to Hydrate!
Like most athletes, we’re a little obsessed with staying hydrated. After all, the consequences of dehydration can be pretty ugly, and can affect both your current and future physical performance. Also, drinking water or electrolyte-laden sports beverages is refreshing and satisfying during a sweaty workout. What’s not to like?
We’re big advocates of using electrolytes when working out, as they are vital resources in allowing one’s body to properly absorb liquids during hot or intensive conditions. So, don’t ever head to the gym without something hydrating to chug — whether that’s water or a sports drink is up to you.
- Find and Know Your Resistance Levels
It’s important that your weight training routine matches your current strength levels, both to avoid injury and disappointment. But how does one find their proper resistance or weight level?
- Work with a Trainer
A dedicated fitness coach will be a great resource for you in many ways during your weightlifting journey. One of these benefits is that they’ll be able to help you find the right weight and resistance for your strength level. This is something that you can do by yourself, but it’s handy to have an experienced voice to work with.
- Trust Yourself
A trainer might be amazing, but they can’t experience your bodily sensations for you. Only you know what feels right or wrong, so trust your own instincts. If you think you’ve chosen a weight that feels dangerous rather than challenging, speak up.
- Don’t Settle for Easy
If your lift feels like a walk in the park, it’s too light. This might feel enjoyable (who doesn’t love lifting weights with ease?), but you’ll end up exhausting your muscles for no results. Give yourself the proper resistance you need to build strength and continue adding to your rep sets.
- Don’t Lift Without Warming Up First!
Let’s say that you have a protein bar, and you’ve put it in the freezer for awhile. When you whip it out, it’s hard as a rock. If you wait for it to come to room temperature, it will move at your will — you can bend it in half, if you want. However, if you tried to bend it right when it came out of the freezer, it’d snap in half from the same amount of force.
Your muscles work in a similar way to the frozen protein bar. If they’ve been warmed up properly, they will move with ease. If they’re forced to move without a proper warmup, they are stiff and fragile. To avoid injury, always warm up before lifting weights or exercising in general.
- Allow Your Body to Heal Post-Session
A cool-down is just as important as a warm-up. Though a lifting session or workout is good for your body, it still creates a large amount of physical strain or stress on your muscles. To reverse this stress, it’s crucial to give your body some TLC. A few ways to do so?
- Take Vitamins
Vitamins C, E, and B-5 are all frequently used as part of athletes post-workout routines, to great success.
- Make Time to Stretch
A quick ten minute vinyasa flow, preceded and followed by focused breathing, is a great way to get your body back to a resting state in a healthful way.
- Consume Protein
Protein is essential to muscle healing (more on that with #9) and many athletes like to consume it in the form of a quick and delicious shake.
- Consistency is Key
Once you’ve become a weightlifting expert, it will be easy to switch your routine up on a regular basis. Put it on your list of goals. For now, it’s important that you create a consistent routine. It will avoid overcomplicating things, which can lead to a fuzzy understanding of everything. Instead, you’ll be able to properly focus on the moves and exercises that you need to build your strength and performance. You can still set goals within this structure; try increasing your weights as you go, while perfecting the same moves. Once you’ve mastered them, you’ll be able to add a bit more variety to your routine.
- Create a Balance
Sure, there’s plenty of talk about “leg day” and focused sessions working one body part, but that’s not necessarily the way one’s meant to train. A full-body workout has plenty of merits, especially for newcomers to the weightlifting world.
Training both your upper and lower body with separate exercises can be the perfect way to run a session. It gives both parts of your body the time to recover and rest while also engaging in a complete training session.
- Protein is Your Friend
As we mentioned earlier, protein is the essential ingredient to muscle recovery. Seeing as muscle recovery is crucial to any future movement and exercise, we’d rate this tip as pretty important!
Protein can be found in a number of whole food items, or it can be consumed as a quick and tasty smoothie. Some of our favorite ways to get in some protein?
- Greek Yogurt with Almonds
Be sure to go for yogurt that doesn’t have sugar added. You don’t want to crash later! However, a little bit of honey goes a long way here.
- Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie
This is a fast and delicious way to consume a bunch of protein quickly, and without an excessive amount of calories. Bonus: bananas are loaded with potassium.
- Avocado Devilled Eggs
We love swapping the mayo in devilled eggs for our favorite fruit — avocado. (Yes, it’s a fruit!) It’ll be just as creamy, but with a little extra fiber and good fats.
- Oatmeal with Seeds and Nuts
This is a protein-packed brunch that’ll warm you up in cold weather and keep you full for hours.
- Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
Get your wok ready! This protein-laden dinner is quick to prepare, and great to chow down on after an intense lifting session. For even more protein, serve it with quinoa instead of rice!
- Roast Brussels Sprouts with Tahini Sauce
Both sprouts and tahini are excellent sources of protein — and make a really tasty match as a hot veggie dish.
- Listen to Your Body
Resistance isn’t supposed to be outright painful. If something feels off, don’t push yourself. Stop. Ask your trainer if the way you’re feeling is harmful. The same goes for if you are inordinately tired while working out. Be sure to give yourself breaks when your body is asking for them, and don’t ignore thirst or hunger. Remember, your body wants to be healthy. Listen to what it’s asking for.
To build your muscles AND a relationship with a great trainer, get in touch with our passionate crew at Jack City Fitness, here in Boise Idaho. At Jack City, our partners’ needs come first in every way. So whether you want to build your strength, work on your nutritional health, or engage in a wide array of classes, you’ve come to the right place. We’re so dedicated to giving every one of our partners the best fitness opportunities that we allow for custom online and small group training classes, as well as our classic in-house sessions. Our fitness center is open 24 hour a day to our partners, and is equipped with everything you need to become the weightlifting legend you’re capable of becoming.
Come and see for yourself! Shoot us a message, or give us a call at (208) 999-1111, and we’ll invite you to our fitness center for a FREE fitness consultation with our expert team. You’ll be able to tour our facility, peek into a class, and meet a few of our instructors and trainers. From there, it’s up to you if you want to become a partner — but most people say YES!
We can’t wait to see what you’re capable of.