You may think this is an odd subject for me but I have had a go at building muscle in my time and it has served me well for looking after my grandchildren. I can lift and carry them all, even up and downstairs (not all at once though!). As a female, I cannot build huge muscle like men and I didn't want to anyway, just to have toned arms, no bingo wings and the ability to carry my own bags without relying on someone else! Once my thesis submission is out of the way and my daughter doesn't need me for childcare, I am going back to the gym.
High Repetitions, Medium Weight
Now, medium weight is relative to who you are (male / female, young old) and what you can already do. Don't try lifting the 300 lb weights if you are just starting out. Aim for a high number of repetitions (reps) with medium-intensity weight when you train. For each individual exercise you do, try to do a set of 10 to 15 reps, resting less than one minute in between each set. This causes lactic acid to build up in your muscles, which makes you "feel the burn" while stimulating growth.
You Need Recovery Time
If you want to build muscle, give yourself enough time for recovery. It may seem tempting to go full steam ahead, but your body needs time off so you do not hurt yourself. Stick to a muscle-building routine that is about three times a week; beginners may need to start with twice a week. The reason is that weight lifting causes tiny tears in the muscle and these repair themselves making the muscle stronger but it takes time.
Mix it Up
Mix up your routine. Your body can get used to a particular routine and it will stop helping you improve fitness and muscle definition. Also, when doing the same routine for a while, you might get bored, which can be demotivating, so try varying the order of your routine from day to day, or focus on a different set of muscles each day.
Stretch It Out
After working out it is important to stretch well if you want the muscles to repair and build themselves well. If you're under the age of 40, hold each stretch for thirty seconds or more. People over that age need to hang on longer; holding each stretch for a full minute is recommended. By doing this, you can ensure that your exercising will not cause any injury. You also keep yourself more flexible
As always, if you haven't exercised for a while or are concerned about your health, then consult your medical practitioner before embarking on strenuous exercise.
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