I have been attending the gym now for about three months. I never talk about a subject until I am into it, because as soon as I start telling people about something, I tend to stop doing it. Not sure if its psychological, or what.
My friend, lets call him Dave for anonymity’s sake, and I try to attend the gym 3 times per week. We were doing really well for the first month and half, but then things started coming up and we started to slip a bit. This basically meant that we were working out twice a week instead of three times. Since we had set ourselves up on a 3 day rotation, we were now only getting through all the major muscle groups once every week and half.
The idea behind the three day rotation is simple. When you exercise, your muscles need time to recuperate. Its that period of rest after the workout that allows the torn muscle fibers to grow back in. Its these muscle fibers that make you stronger with bigger muscles. Weight trainers recommend that you allow three to four days for a muscle to recover before you work it again. Lifting weights daily is not generally recommended by weightlifters, not to mention the amount of time that would take up – some of us have other things to do. Working out is important, but whats the point of getting in shape if you never have time to live with that healthy body of yours.
So, since we should only lift every other day, and we need to allow 4 days for a muscle to recover, it made sense to set up a 3 day per week rotation. We go through all the major muscle groups once per week. By the next week, the muscle has recovered (and grown stronger) and is ready for a heavier weight.
I highly recommend working out with a buddy, especially when you are starting out. We keep each other in order. If one of us is feeling lazy, the other is generally there to give him a pep talk. Choosing a good friend as your workout buddy is also highly recommended, as it gives another incentive for getting to the gym.
Next time, I’ll discuss how we keep track of our weights from week to week.