Your Exercise Program: 5 Strength Training "Don'ts"

Time to get going on your fitness program!  If you're thinking about lifting some weights at home or getting back into the gym, take note of a few strength training "Don't's", beginning with "Don't wait to get started!"

1)         Don't start off too fast or increase too soon because you'll risk muscle soreness and strain.   Do start easy and increase the amount of weight gradually.

2)         Don't set unrealistic goals.  People often become disillusioned and quit exercising when they can't meet the goals they've set.   Do start with a simple exercise plan on which you can build, and which will provide incentive for progressing.

3)         Don't only use seated weight machines that support your body, since they allow the core muscles to be a little "lazy." Do incorporate free weights into your program, since they require you to stabilize using your own core strength.

4)         Don't imitate other people in the gym, assuming that they know what they're doing because often they do not!  Do get some professional advice regarding how to properly perform strength training exercises.

5)         Don't use the scale to gauge the changes in your body because the scale cannot differentiate between fat pounds and muscle pounds.  Do measure yourself by the way your clothing fits – a favorite pair of jeans can be the perfect gauge. Changes that occur with weight training are reflected in your body composition, which is the quality of your weight as opposed to the quantity of your weight.  As you develop lean body mass and shape up, your contours may literally be shrinking even though the needle on the scale doesn't move.