As you age, it’s essential to maintain your muscle mass with strength training. But how can you keep or increase your strength without breaking the bank?
Fortunately, you can get stronger by doing simple things at home, the gym, and in your daily life. Follow the exercise and diet tips mentioned below, and you’ll quickly gain strength.
Why Increase Your Strength?
Strength training gives you a leaner and more muscular appearance, which is always fantastic. But muscle-building work helps to keep your ability as you get older to handle daily functions and tasks. And resistance training also helps to reduce muscle and bone loss as the years pass.
Experts recommend you should engage in strength-training activities that work your legs, back, hips, chest, shoulders, and arms at least twice per week.
And don’t think you have to lift weights for hours to get impressive results. Some sources say you can do just 15 or 20 minutes of intense weight training a few days per week to build your muscle mass quickly.
You should perform strength training work to the point where you cannot repeat the motion without assistance. Exhausting the muscles for a few minutes damages the muscle, and the body will repair them when you take a day or two off. And they’ll be stronger than they were before.
Perform eight to 12 repetitions of the exercise, and do at least two sets, but three is even better.
Do Heavy Lifting
Lifting heavier weights – which means 90% or more of your one-repetition maximum for that exercise – boosts strength quickly.
It does so by using high-threshold motor units. These parts of the muscles can quickly increase your strength without size when you lift heavy weights. But high-threshold motor units tire quickly.
Heavy lifting works best for deadlifts, squats, pulls, and presses. The weight is heavy and tough to move, but your goal is to move it as fast as you can. This activates those motor units and offers the fastest strength training results.
Reduce The Volume
Many fitness experts say you build strength and size by doing five sets with five repetitions. But if your goal is strength, not size, two or three heavy sets may be best. Reducing the volume and moving heavy weight quickly will boost your strength and not the muscle size.
Also, you don’t need to hit the gym every day to build strength; in fact, it’s better to keep it to two or three sessions per week. Off days give your body time to recover.
Vary Your Routine
People are creatures of habit. This happens in strength training, too, when we do the same exercises repeatedly without changing weights. Guess what? Your body is smart and will adapt to what you’re doing.
It’s vital to mix up your routine every time you hit the gym. When you do, you’ll discover your body gets stronger and fitter. If you love to run, that’s great, but try swimming and cycling in your weekly cardio fitness routine, too.
Don’t get stuck in the same routine at the gym with your squats and bench presses. Instead, keep your body surprised by doing different exercises during every session. For example, mix in some biceps curls and chest presses after you’ve done bench presses for several days.
Furthermore, when you return to your tried-and-true squats and presses after a break, you’ll be stronger than you were before!
You don’t need to consume a lot of expensive protein shakes and powders to jack up your strength. Instead, bananas are an outstanding source of potassium and carbs, which reduce cramping and help the cardiovascular system to perform at peak efficiency.
In fact, a recent university study found that eating bananas works just as well as fancy sports drinks to fuel bikers during intense training sessions. And they’re lower in sugar, too.
So, rather than reaching for a $3 sugar-loading energy drink, grab a bunch of bananas at the grocery store. You can fuel your workouts by eating three or four bites of banana every 15 minutes between sets.
Do Cardio And Strength Training In 1 Day
Most of us do cardio training on day one and strength training on day two. That’s fine, but mix things up every week by doing both on the same day. This is because the more muscles that must work during cardiovascular training, the harder your heart has to pump.
For example, try running for a mile followed by 50 push-ups and 10 jumps. You’ll be shocked how much your stamina and increased oxygen intake increase over two or three weeks.
If you love your cardio workouts, you’ll love how quickly doing strength training exercises during running will boost your stamina and strength.
Eat Healthy Fats
Your body needs fat to provide energy during intense muscle-building activities. Therefore, many experts recommend that 20-35% of your diet should be healthy fats.
Increasing strength means you should consume heart-healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado oil, and vegetable oil. Also, eat salmon, trout, and sardines, all of which contain protein and healthy fats.
Research suggests that eating fewer carbs often helps us lose weight. But if you want to increase your strength naturally, you should be sure to eat complex carbohydrates every day.
Here’s why: During an intense weightlifting session, you’re pumping your muscles harder, and they need to burn fuel quickly to function. But don’t grab bread and pasta! Instead, eat beans and peas.
Sweet potatoes also are a fantastic option because they’re full of essential vitamins and minerals to fuel your workouts.
Also, sweet potatoes are packed with carbohydrates, starch, and fiber. So when you eat them with a lean protein, they help the muscles to use the protein to repair and build.
Now that you know how to boost your strength naturally, you’ll be stronger and feel great! If you need help reaching your strength goals, count on DeMetzOnlinePersonalTraining.com for help. Contact us today!
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.
Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.
To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!