Be a Better Builder: Strength Training Do’s and Don’ts
How Devoted are You to Safe Strength Training?
If some of these are absent from your workout routine, maybe it’s time for a check-in.I asked my friend Mariana, who is an ACE certified trainer, to break it down for us.
A pre-workout snack can be the difference between a stellar sweat session and one that leaves you feeling burned out. Put some fuel in the tank before you hit the gym, carbohydrates are key for quick releasing energy, “I love to have some oatmeal with banana or a bagel with cream cheese! Any kind of carb, as they give you an insulin spike which equals energy for your workout.” Try to shy away from heavy foods, “it’s good to avoid high levels of dietary fat before your workout as fats take a longer time to digest than the other macronutrients and can you make you feel groggy” which she says is “not optimal for someone who wants to have a lot of energy for their workout.”
Now that you’ve pumped some iron, it’s time to refuel the tank. A Post-workout snack is just as crucial, if not more so than pre-workout, because you’re repairing the muscle you just broke down to make it stronger. “Something with protein, like a shake or a protein bar, but I also like to have a full meal with chicken, rice, broccoli with parmesan cheese, mushrooms, and sweet potato” while protein is the main component in this case, still be mindful about getting vegetables on your plate too. Broccoli is a vegetable high in protein and packed with vitamins.
She also reminded me about the need for rest days, saying that, “recovery is absolutely necessary! I have made a point to include 2 rest days a week in my lifting routine. It's important to remember that in this case, more is not better-- muscle grows on rest days. If you never give your muscles a chance to recover, they will be constantly torn and stressed and will not grow as much as they would if you gave them 48-72 hours to recover.” So remember folks, don’t overdo it.
And as for cardio, Mariana says she thinks, “It’s great for heart health, stress relief, and just for fun. It can also supplement weight loss goals nicely.” However, if your goal is to grow muscle, avoid too much cardio, as it can impair on muscle recovery.
All in all, physical fitness “wholly depends on the person and their fitness goals.”