Read these 10 Exercise FAQ Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Muscle Building tips and hundreds of other topics.
High protein diets will probably help you lose weight initially, BUT you will more than likely lose muscle weight, not fat weight. Additionally, you will more than likely not be able to stick to a high protein/very low carb diet for long, because you will fatigue quickly since your body runs optimally on carbohydrates for energy, not protein. These diets are fads, and you won't be able to stick to them. The old adage still holds true: extremes in any direction are not good for you. The same holds true with eating where balance is the key!
If you are looking to build muscle mass, you won't want to do excessive amounts of high intensity, or long duration cardiovascular activity, mainly because you will be expending a lot of energy by doing this and will therefore have to intake more nutrients or your body will pull them from what you already have. So if you are needing to lose a fair amount of fat then you can do more cardio, while if you are already lean you should do less cardio. Typically start at 3 times/week for 20 min. and see how that works, then adjust from there.
Many people mistakenly believe any type of liquid will count towards them getting their 8+ glasses of water per day. That is not correct, especially speaking in terms of soda, other caffeinated beverages, alcohol etc. Actually those beverages with caffeine and alcohol in them contribute to dehydration, so the more of those you drink the more water you will need to drink. The other thing to look at is the sugar content of those other beverages you drink. You may be getting liquid but at the same time overloading on sugar! That is why unadulterated water is best for hydration purposes.
If you are of normal weight, eating less will not help you lose fat and become more toned and muscular. Actually the opposite is true; eating less will cause your body to store more fat and lose muscle. So, in order to build muscle and lose fat you have to eat more because your body will need more nutrients to repair itself from workouts. Just make sure you eat healthy food.
Cardio exercise will not reshape your body. That is what strength training does. Cardio will just make your body a smaller version of what it already looks like. So if you want to truly reshape your body muscle building is the way to go, with moderate cardiovascular exercise.
If you are not losing fat, and therfore still cannot see the muscle you have been building, doing more cardio will not necessarily be the answer. In fact, doing too much cardio will cut into your muscle gains, as your body will begin to dip into your muscle mass for fuel as you begin to use up the supply of carbs your body has available. Therefore, more cardio may help you lose weight, but it may be muscle weight, not the fat weight you want that loss to be.
You should increase the weight on an exercise when you are able to do more repetitions on a set than you have been regularly doing. If you normally do 20 lb for 10 reps and you find you can do 11 or more reps with that 20 lb you should increase the weight to the point where you can only do 10 or fewer reps.
Many people get discouraged about not seeing results in the time frame they are looking for. First of all, individuals must have attainable goals, ones that they will be able to reach in short time frames. This helps you to keep your focus and confidence level high. This will be evident in your workout intensity, controlling your diet, getting enough rest, etc. An integrated, focused approach over time will get you results; you just have to be consistent while not falling back on excuses.
Many people ask which is better, free weights or machines. Like anything else, it all depends on what you want. If you want to challenge your body in many ways and develop a balance in strength, muscle size, coordination, etc., then free weights are what you should use. This is particulary important as a beginner in order to develop muscle control and a base of size and strength. Machines, on the other hand, provide more isolation work, which really is not something necessary for most beginners. They also put the body at awkward angles which are not natural. My advice is to stick with free weight exercises as much as possible, and add in machines for variety.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|