Continuing on the topic of ‘movement’, last week I wrote a post about moving just because you can, no specific goal in mind, just taking advantage of being able to move, I believe this is a pretty good reason to exercise, right?! This week I want to focus on another reason to move, ‘purposeful movement’. 

The unofficial definition; ‘Purposeful Movement’, choosing to move or exercise with the purpose of achieving a specific goal. 

Kristin and I have been in the personal training game for a couple of decades and we both believe in strength training as part of a regular fitness regimen to help people achieve their fitness goals. This is one of our favorite types of purposeful movement, we prove this quite often on our gram! A few common questions we get in regards to strength training are, “what rep and set combination do I use for fat loss”, “how frequently should I lift to lose weight” or “how much weight can I lift  without getting bulky”?! Well, we thought we would break this down for you, so here it goes…

#1. You don’t strength train for fat loss, you strength train to get stronger and/or to build muscle. Strength training CAN change your body composition and changing your body composition can result in more lean mass in the form of muscle and less fat on your body. Your nutrition, recovery efforts, lifestyle choices and other exercise activity will determine whether you gain weight, “get bulky” or lose total bodyweight or body fat. This is a REALLY important point to understand and NEVER forget!

#2. Reps and sets are referred to as your training volume, this will vary based on your experience, your fitness level, your goals, and your time available. Whether you are lifting for performance, muscle development, or strength will determine what rest intervals you choose in between your sets, the amount of repetitions within a set and the total number of sets within your workout. 

#3. Frequency of training is also a part of your overall training volume. This as well is determined by your experience, fitness level, time available to commit to strength training and your goals.

None of these questions can be answered with a blanket response, they will always be specific to each individual because there are so many variables that come into play. However building muscle mass to change your body composition takes time, consistency and progressive over load. Choosing where to start a strength training program is based on your current fitness level and experience.

If you are brand new to strength training, we recommend strength training 2 days per week and performing a full body workout each day. 

*Perform 1 exercise per body part, total exercises 4-6 (1 leg, 1 back, 1 shoulder, 1 chest, 1 arm and 1 “core”)

*Perform 1-2 sets per exercise 

*Perform 8-12 reps per set

*rest 1 minute in between sets
*when picking your weight make sure you can perform all reps with complete control.

It can take anywhere from 1-2 months to be able to adapt to a new strength training routine and performing the same or similar exercises each time will allow you to track if you are improving. If you are able to lift more weight within the same rep range, performing the same exercise, with the same amount of rest in between sets, than you are getting stronger and your body is developing muscle, congratulations! 

Progression is adding another 1-2 sets per exercise to increase total sets per exercise to 3-4, perform this for 1-2 months until you adapt the same way. At this point you can choose to add another strength training day per week, increasing to 3 days total. You can choose to train total body each day w/1-2 days of rest in between or you can change your training split to increase more exercises per body part on different days, this is where your specific goals come into play. For most people, strength training 3 days each week is enough to provoke a positive and sustainable change in body composition AND strength, as long as this activity is supported with proper rest, nutrition and other lifestyle factors. We recommend working with a professional if you are new to strength training or have a specific goal in mind. Let us know how we can help you achieve your purposeful movement goals!