Strength comes in a variety of forms: mental, emotional, spiritual, physical. When most people talk about their strength, they refer to the size of their muscles (most people flex their bicep). Remember, the strongest body is one that is strong on the inside as well as the outside.
How To Develop Physical Strength
“3 sets of 15 – 20 repetitions per exercise, with 2 different exercises per muscle group”. That’s the answer most personal trainers will give…but after years of lifting weights, the average person is bored. We need more variety. But how? Read on for some great ideas!
Superset: Burn out your muscles by performing an exercise at a weight that is heavier than your average, for as many reps as you can – then immediately lower the weight by about 10 pounds or 2 plates on most equipment and repeat (without a rest) doing as many reps as you can, then lower the weight AGAIN and repeat one more time. This increases strength, muscle endurance and saves time. For example – let’s say you usually perform lat pulldowns at 60 pounds. Today, try 70 pounds for as many reps as you can – let’s say you do 8 – rest just long enough to drop the weight to 50 pounds and do as many reps as you can. Let’s say you can do 10, then move the weight down to 30 pounds and do as many as you can – aha!!! Although this may be quite light, you may only be able to do 10, if that many.
Lift heavy weights: I know, most women fear getting ‘too bulky’. Trust me, it won’t happen, unless you eat twice as many calories as you should and take hormones and/or other unnecessary products. How about lifting very heavy weights for 6 to 8 repetitions, then rest for 1 minutes and repeat your second set, rest 1 minutes and repeat set number 3. You’ll be finished with your workout in under 30 minutes and tomorrow you’ll feel all your muscles for sure! Caution: always pay careful attention to your form, especially when lifting heavy weights. When lifting heavy and fast it is very easy to twist and turn your body the wrong way, often causing more harm than good.
Get swimming!: When you move your body in the water, the resistance is 12 times your body weight and no impact! So you can build incredible strength in the water, whether you play around or swim laps. Start off with 10 laps as your goal, then increase your speed and decrease the rest you take between laps, before working up to 15, 20 and 30 laps. Or, you can use some water toys like gloves, noodles, ankle weights, and water belts. Play with the different toys and try exercises like leg lifts, arm lifts, treading water and more. Remember to keep proper alignment. If you need more ideas, please Ask the Trainer and we’ll be happy to assist you. Just get going today! Add at least one workout in the pool each month.
More Physical Strength with The Added Benefits of Mental and Spiritual Strength
Yoga: Yoga builds a sense of internal and spiritual strength, like no other exercise can do. The first 2 or 3 yoga classes you try, you may spend more time understanding the breathing and HOW to work – more than getting the benefits of the strength work. The reason is that yoga is about un-doing, compared to most exercise you are used to in which you are do-ing. So, keep at it, because once you get to an intermediate or advanced class, you’ll begin to work your legs, glutes, shoulders, chest and triceps in a different way than you are used to, as well as improving flexibility. The spiritual strength builds from your awareness of your body and your ability to let your mind go free. Stick with it, and you’ll see what I mean. Start with a basics class and work up to an intermediate level within 2 months.
Pilates: Like yoga, pilates builds inner strength, but again in a different way. Pilates works on muscle coordination and the mind-muscle connection while strengthening your CORE like no other workout can. Your core starts at the base of your breast bone and extends to your pubis bone, and includes everything in-between. If you want to get started today, order Stretch & Strengthen by Julie Feldman now. Or, look for a pilates studio in your neighborhood today. Many fitness centers now offer mat pilates classes which, although they work the same muscles, are quite different from a workout on the ‘pilates reformer’. Both are great and work synergistically with each other and with yoga and the rest of your workout regime – to build a stronger body and mind. Add at least 2 pilates classes to your strength routine this month. You can delete a weight lifting session for each reformer workout you add.
Build Emotional Strength
Stay true to yourself. Make sure you fight for what you believe in. This does not mean you should stir up arguments all the time, but rather say what you mean, express how you feel and when in a situation or conflict, stand up for yourself. Make sure you verbalize your opinion if you have a disagreement with a loved one or co-worker. Do not always give in just because the person you disagree with is your superior or elder. Face your fears.
Especially when involved in intimate relationships, make sure you are happy and your needs are met just as much as your partner’s. Do not stay in a relationship because you are scared to be alone, or because the other person does not want it to end. Definitely do not stay in an abusive relationship. There are so many resources available to help you. Remember, you can play the role of caretaker, but always remember who is #1…YOU.
Many who have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue, food allergies, fibromyalgia and other ‘conditions’ of the 21st century, are not true to themselves. This alone may not be the cause of the ailments, but with the help of a traumatic event in their life, the disease or condition may have been more apparent. Who knows what the actual causes are, but these diseases are popping up in large numbers in our current fast-paced, fake-food, stressed out society. So, remember, the one thing you must maintain is your self-esteem, dignity, and internal strength. Stay true to yourself and you will build/maintain emotional strength.
Strengthen Your Mind
Read books. Think before you speak. Make sure you speak clearly and that what you say makes sense, even to the average person – don’t start talking technical lingo with someone who is not familiar with that lingo – instead break it down to layman’s terms. Do a crossword puzzle from time to time. Engage in intellectual discussions with your elders, who have lived through interesting or historical times, such as a war or the depression.
Make it FUN! Vary your strength training workouts. They do not have to be similar. Try new toys all the time. Toys include large plastic balls, therabands, resistance tubing, ankle weights, ropes, straps, blocks (often used in yoga classes), flippers and noodles in the water, and more. Just do it!
Eat Protein: Most Americans either eat too much protein or no way near enough. If it’s hard for you to eat protein regularly, or you are a vegetarian, make sure you get a protein shake as a supplement to your diet. Most are healthy to use on a regular basis, either as a breakfast, or quick snack. Check out our protein supplements. There are others on the market that are good, but we know ours are exceptional quality.