[Editor’s Note: We are absolutely thrilled to have this guest post from Jade Lally, the new English Record Holder in the discus throw. She’s a highly experienced athlete who is currently training and competing in Australia. This past weekend she broke the English record twice, achieving a 65.10m throw that qualified her for the Rio Olympics. Here, she tells us what she would want a beginner to know when setting out on a strength training program based on her experiences both as an athlete and a personal trainer. You can find Jade at her website as well as on Twitter and YouTube. Thank you, Jade, and best of luck with your Olympic Games preparation!]
Strength training is an absolute must for me as a sportsperson. As an athlete, it’s not something I can afford not to do. I need strength in order to throw far. However, if I wasn’t doing a sport, I would still be very much involved in strength training because I love everything that comes with it.
I love the self-satisfaction that one gets from lifting ‘heavy’, and physically seeing myself get stronger and lifting more weight is something very addictive. I see it as tangible success. You notice the changes immediately and feel good about yourself!
You Want to Change Shape, Not Lose Weight
Strength training for my clients is just as important. Usually people think they want to lose weight. But I would say 9 times out of 10, they want to change shape- they just don’t know it! This comes from resistance work and strength training.
Also there is the misconception that people who lift weights or strength train are big, muscly people. Beginners, especially women, think they’ll turn into Mr. Universe overnight. This look is actually very difficult to achieve and takes many, many years! Not to mention the diet and lifestyle that would come with it. Definitely not something that happens overnight and definitely not something that happens by accident.
Fueling, Not Just Feeding
Effective strength training is coupled with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. In order for your muscles to make progress, you must feed them with the right fuel. High protein, lots of fruit and veg. Carbs are important but I think people tend to rely on them too often. Plenty of water.
My top tips would be:
1. Get involved. Try new exercises/ equipment, see what you enjoy doing.
2.Don’t be afraid to lift ‘heavy’. With good form, you’ll be surprised at how much your body can cope with.
3. Ask for help. There are lots of people willing to help you. Ask someone qualified for their advice. Look at other people that have been doing it a long time, do some research online. What are the common themes? Straight back, feet flat on the floor, neutral spine etc.
Just give it a go!