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Advice Column: Swole Patrol

Dear Adam: I want to get stronger plain and simple. The gym seems like a daunting place and I’m not able to devote countless hours each week to exercise. Should I give weightlifting a try, something I have never done before? –Slim Jimmy

By: Adam Castro

Everyone is afraid of things they haven’t tried- that’s what makes it exciting. Never stop your goals based on the fear of trying something new. Here are some simple steps that can get you started on a manageable fitness.

(David. D. Keller/ Tusk Magazine)

Step one: Find a gym that suits you

You’re paying for the membership- be picky.

If you aren’t comfortable in your gym, you won’t make it on a normal basis. Find a gym that you can envision yourself going to each week.

Is the staff friendly and informative or distant and intimidating?

Are the gym members respectful and accepting or unwelcoming to newcomers?

These are questions to take into consideration when looking for a place to start.

A gym that’s near is in the clear.

The least amount of excuses you can make from your warm bed to the dreaded treadmill- the better. Be reasonable with the distance between you and your destination.

(David D. Keller/ Tusk Magazine)

 Step two: Commit to having “You Time”

“I lift three to four days a week,” LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Ronnie Manier said. “(I) usually spend 45 minutes to an hour in the gym weight training.”

Manier, 58, started lifting at 15 and hasn’t looked back since.  

You may be short on time, but committing at least three days in the gym lifting for around 45 minutes is essential to see some growth in your strength, according to Manier.

(David D. Keller/ Tusk Magazine)


Step three: Find a routine in those 45 minutes that work for you

Ease into your routine, start light and focus on using proper form. The weight you lift should be light enough to allow you a set of ten repetitions when you begin.

Establishing proper form is important as it limits the chance of an injury.

Find weight lifting exercises that work for you.

“The exercises that I really focus on are squats and deadlifts,” high school junior Andrew Castro said. “I started working out last year but found out those two exercises work more than one part of my body, which gets me stronger faster.”

Manier also suggests barbell curls, bench press, and dips, as they build strength slowly but steadily.

Step four: Focus on you and only you

“Be patient with the progression of your strength and try to out-lift your personal records instead of someone else’s,” Cal Poly Pomona fifth year student Erik Favela said.

Don’t compare yourself to others or try to catch up to anybody. As long as you see yourself making progress, that is all that matters. A determined mindset goes a long way as well.

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