George Papadakos - Triathlon
As a young man in my late teens and early twenties, I had toiled with lifting weights and increasing the amount of muscle mass I had or didn't have for that matter. I didn't really consider the whys and whats of working out, just that I felt better and for the most part, looked better.
As I stretch out into my forties (yes forties), I look at weight training as a bridge between my rather busy triathlon training and my longevity.
Triathlon is a sport that requires you to be strong over medium to long distances, and within three different sports. One downside that I have discovered is that although a certain training week can have 10-plus hours in it, most of that is done going forward.
This going forward approach is the obvious goal, and being able to do it faster is the focus. It is such a focus that we forget so many important muscle groups along the way, and also risk certain injuries because of the amount of overuse some of our muscles go through.
Swimmers shoulder, hamstring and calf injuries and muscle imbalances in the lower back being among the top areas of stress for most athletes, not just triathletes.
It is for this reason that I weight train, or do some type of plyometric exercises that not only strengthen my body for triathlon, but help correct any muscle imbalances that I may have as a direct result from over training.
The best part about pumping iron is that besides making you stronger, it has a host of other positive benefits as well.
Strength training provides cardiovascular benefits similar to aerobic exercise, allowing you to save time without sacrificing results.
It increases energy levels and helps lower blood pressure, helps strengthen and build bones which most aging people should be concerned about, and above all makes you look fit and healthy.
It also makes you feel better mentally as well as improving your mood, it gives you an energy boost for the day, and it helps ward of anxiety and reduce those simple stresses in your life.
I know many beginners are intimidated by the gym and weightlifting, but these worries are but a minor detail in being a stronger, happier, you.
Most health clubs have personal trainers that will help familiarize you with weight training, the do's and dont's, and motivate you to make this a viable part of your lifestyle.
The key to weight training is consistency, and making it part of your weekly routine will help you reap the above mentioned results with just three sessions a week.
Some key things to remember when starting is to keep focused. Going with a plan of what you want to accomplish at the gym will save you time, and ensure you get the work done.
I include a good warm up with some stretching, my focused workout and then a good cool down. I try to keep my workouts under an hour from beginning to end, which helps to motivate me on days that I may not want to go.
Remember to always listen to your body as you approach any fitness plan, if it hurts ease up and if you feel good work a little harder, your healthier you is just around the corner.
Until I see you at the start line, train safe and have!