My Women’s Weight Training class is nearing its end, and I wanted to share a few of the takeaways I have learned over these past few weeks.
First, a little fun fact: did you know that after working out one of the best things you can drink is chocolate milk? Who would have thought!
Apparently the ingredients in chocolate milk make it the perfect post-workout recovery drink. When compared to milk, water, or sport drinks, it has double the carbohydrate and protein content, which is perfect for replenishing tired muscles. Plus, its high water content replaces the fluids you may have lost when working out and sweating, helping to avoid dehydration.
So, why try weight training? In the simplest terms, it is both challenging and beneficial to your overall health, fitness, and well being. Weight training for women has the potential to:
- Improve body composition by maintaining or increasing lean body mass and decreasing the relative percentage of body fat
- Increase your bone mineral density + may help/delay the development of osteoporosis
- Enhance cardiovascular health by decreasing blood pressure and exercise heart rate
- Reduce anxiety/depression
- Increase muscular strength and endurance
I know I’ve said this before in my previous article, but it is important to reiterate – one of the most important fundamentals to know for weight training is to never attempt to lift more weight than your body can handle. Start at a standard weight and over time, as you get stronger, add more weight. If you are just starting out, it is a good idea to start at 3 reps of eight and then build off of that. Another good fundamental to know is to always workout contrasting muscles. If you are going to do a “push,” such as the bench press, offset that by doing a “pull,” such as the lat pull.
As you get stronger, two fun exercises to try are called supersets and the pyramid. With a superset, you can grab a friend and each do a separate exercise. For this example, lets use triceps and biceps. One of you would do triceps and the other would do biceps, and you would switch as soon as you complete a set, with no rest in between. Try completing three sets of ten, which would be six sets total (3 biceps, 3 triceps). The pyramid can be done with any exercise, but for this example lets use squats. You would start with a weight that you are comfortable with – let's say 50 pounds, and do 1 set of 10. For the next set, you would add 5-10 pounds and do 1 set of 8. For the last set, you would add another 5-10 pounds and do one set of four. This process ends up making a sort of pyramid, in which you start out and with an easy weight and end with a challenging one.
If you are unable to take a weight training class spring term, I highly recommend grabbing a friend and challenging each other to work out in the weight room at least two times a week. The results will be rewarding and your body will be spring term ready in no time! Don’t let the weight room scare you away!
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Denise Schenasi is a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in Public Relations and Advertising. Her greatest passion is writing - she loves everything that writing represents and the endless possibilities it offers. As a Los Angeles native, she has quite the obsession with the outdoors, especially the beach. Denise also enjoys running outdoors (when the Eugene weather permits), exercising in general, coffee, photography, and new experiences. Oh, and she loves animals... a lot. Follow her on Twitter: @deniseschenasi and check out her blog: dschenasi.wordpress.com