My goal with lifting weights is building muscle and strength, but to what end? Definitely for a strong, healthy body, but also for aesthetics.
I’m transparent about training for aesthetics – it’s one reason I don’t lift for maximal strength very often. It’s more important to me to build muscle than be the strongest chick on the block. Everyone’s goals are different!
I support you in training for aesthetics, too. As long as you also train your back, haha – not just what you see in the mirror – and you rotate in all repetition ranges, your health, strength, and performance will all benefit from training for aesthetics.
These points bring me somewhat indirectly to this week’s roundup: Selfies and changes to my training routine.
One of the natural outcomes of progressing aesthetically is selfies – taking a picture of yourself in the bathroom because you just can’t believe how good you’re looking. Ha! Selfies aren’t just for teenagers – I see lots of grown ups doing it, too.
I support and encourage selfies, as I talk about here. In fact, you’ll see more than a few selfies on my Instagram account. My selfies document how I’m building muscle and hopefully inspire others. I encourage my training clients to take progress pictures too.
“Selfie” was the Oxford Dictionary Online’s Word of the Year in 2013. Plus, check out this article about a young man I follow:
Respect the Selfie: Why Oxford’s Word of the Year is Nothing to be Ashamed About, by Alan Ali on Diets in Review.com
Changes to My Own Training
Moving on, I’ve made several changes to my training the last few weeks that deserve mention and may help you to think about your own training. It’s easy to get seriously stuck in your ways, and I fall into that trap too. Here’s what I’ve changed:
1. No More Gloves. I have worn gloves since the beginning of time, and that’s because I get sweaty hands. I was finally swayed to let them go when I read this article. I’ve started using a Bison Ball instead – a little ball full of chalk that absorbs the sweat (and not as messy as loose chalk). The disadvantages being that I have to carry around the ball bag, but I love feeling the bar in my hands! What was I thinking all those years??
2. Deadlift Touch and Go. Before learning proper form with deadlifts I tweaked my back a few times. Gun shy, I got in the habit of avoiding touching the plates to the floor between reps. But now I do know proper form and no longer tweak my back. I’ve also become more interested in maximal strength and doing triples and singles. Now that I’m doing deadlifts correctly I’m again wondering what I was thinking! But that’s the beauty about lifting – there is always room to grow.
3. Training Frequency. I’ve always hit each muscle group once every five days, yet had a feeling I could see better results with higher frequency. So I’m trying once every three to four days.
The thing that’s super important to understand is that training frequency is very individual. There is no magic frequency for everyone – it varies from person to person depending on your age and how long it takes you to recover (among other things). I am really not sure I’ll be recovered enough after three or four days, so I’m watching this closely. If I’m tired or sore every session then obviously I can’t perform or grow as well.
My suggestion to you is to experiment. If you’re not seeing good progress with building muscle, think about changing your frequency. Keep in mind that most people need at least 48 hours between training a muscle group.
That wraps up another week. Let me hear your thoughts about selfies and what you’re working on with your training!
This article originally appeared on www.workoutnirvana.com.