Column: Tips to maximize your weight-lifting results

Published 4:17 pm Friday, September 8, 2017

Guest Column by Mollee Tscholl

Mollee Tscholl is co-owner of Albert Lea’s Snap Fitness.

This Albert Lea magazine edition is dedicated to men, and for the men who enter through our fitness center doors, a big focus is, and has always been, weight training. More recently, women are getting past the myth that “lifting will make you huge,” and are also embracing the many benefits that can be had by adding weight-training to one’s fitness regime.

Mollee Tscholl

I had the opportunity to quiz my cousin, who is an online weight-training coach in the Fargo-Moorhead area and has been a competitive weight lifter for the past 12 years. I wanted to pick his brain about what he has learned and refined, and weigh it against what we have studied and experienced. At SNAP we have many, guys especially, who come specifically to lift. And so, we thought, what tips can we provide to best help them maximize their results? Here are a few we’d like to share.

• Frequency of lifting depends on several factors. Purpose is a major one, which may affect intensity. If a person’s goals center on competition, chances are they will only perform four to five sessions a week, but at a higher intensity. The increase in intensity requires enhanced recovery periods between sessions, so that gains can be made and injury is prevented. Rather, if a person’s goals are to become more fit and toned, it’s likely safe for him or her to lift almost daily, while still accumulating enough rest time in between each session to prevent injury or over-training. Other factors that come into play are age, current fitness level and one’s nutritional habits.

With regards to nutrition, we see many weightlifters concocting all sorts of drinks in their water bottles. Just what is the secret formula when it comes to building muscle mass as far as diet goes? My cousin ranked whole foods among the best, and for men, he said coconut oils, fish oils, macadamia nut oils and MCT oils are a must. Protein should come from lean animal sources such as beef, chicken, eggs and fish, while carbohydrate sources may vary depending on what the individual responds best to.

The quantity of reps and sets for each exercise or lift again depend on those individual factors listed above, as well as his or her specific goals. Heavy weight usually requires less reps (four to eight), while more reps (10-15) are typically performed when using lighter weight. Anywhere from five to eight sets is recommended when doing heavy lifting, whereas three to four sets of each exercise is a good number when lifting lighter weights.

• Most of us are under time constraints with work and social lives. Taking that into account, what are the best lifts to focus on, given a 20- to 30-minute chunk of time? For the upper body, using either barbells, dumbbells or the CYBEX machines, focus should be on the chest press, shoulder press, lat pulls, tricep dips, bicep curls and the row machine (if there’s time). When working the lower body, emphasis should be on the leg press, squats and lunges.

Happy lifting!