Strength training by way of lifting weights is obviously important to obtaining and maintaining a good physical condition. Sleep is equally important, though.  If you are not getting the rest you need, you will not have the energy to lift the weights you need. Don’t worry, I know a few tricks to lifting the right weights and getting the right amount of sleep.  In case you missed them, head over and check out Nutrition 101 – Introduction for a great overview to managing your health, and Nutrition 101 – Calories Matter to get a handle on your eating.

Lift Heavy Weights

The first rule of Fight Club is that you do not talk about Fight Club. The first rule of Strength Training Club is “get strong.” A rather disturbing study found that Millennial-aged men have significantly less grip strength than the generations who came before them.

A man strength training on a rowing machineBasically, guys, we’re not as strong as we used to be and we’re dying younger. Even worse, men start to lose muscle mass around the time they turn 30. Anywhere from 3-5% of your muscle mass vanishes with each subsequent decade. The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism becomes which is one of the reasons why weight gain happens as you age. It’s also why fat loss gets harder the longer you put it off. Your first task before you pick up the dumbbells and start repping out curls is to get strong in the primary big compound movements. Focus on squats, bench, deadlift, row, and weight-carries. Strength training provides your body with the stimulus it needs to ignite your metabolism, ramp up testosterone production, and begin the muscle building process.

Strength has also been shown to be a key determining factor for longevityThe stronger you are throughout your life, the less likely you are to die an untimely death (outside of an accident, of course). Essentially, that makes strength training the fountain of youth. But you don’t need to lift at your max effort day in and day out to build strength. Doing that will give you a one-way ticket to getting injured.

The Key to Lifting

Guys, lifting heavy weight is awesome. But you don’t need to treat your gym routine like a virgin who is seeing a boob for the first time. Don’t let your little head tell you to do more than your big head can handle. Start slow when you’re hitting the gym for the first time in a while (or ever). If you’re new to strength training, or if you haven’t consistently worked out for more than a year, focus on full-body workouts to get the most bang for your buck. Look, all those “bro splits” or bodybuilding style workouts you can get off bodybuilding.com are great for people who have been consistent for more than a year or two. For you, they are not.

Sticking to 3 full-body workouts a week will allow you to do all the fun stuff—squats, bench, rows, curls—while allowing you to build more strength without taking precious time away from your family or career responsibilities. Furthermore, you will do more work in less time while allowing your body ample time to recover.

Men tend to think that they have to treat the weights like an aroused puppy treats their ankles. But fellas, that’s not the case. Muscle isn’t built in the gym. It’s broken down there; it’s built while you rest. And sadly, if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re damaging more than your ability to recover from the gym.

Go the F*ck to Sleep

Building a career, having a family, buying a home, traveling, and all the other stuff that happens as adults are tiring. We often go to bed super late and try to make up for it the next day with coffee or energy drinks.  This is not the rest your body is looking for. Without actual rest, you are missing out on your strength training potential. There simply is no substitute for letting your body take a break and repair itself from the heavy reps you did that day.

A man sleepingSadly, the Center for Disease Control found in 2016 that nearly 35% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep a night. What does little to no sleep do to you? It increases your risk of hypertension and weight gain, weakens your immune system, and it can tank your testosterone levels even further.

God, no wonder you don’t feel like the man you want to feel like. You don’t lift, you eat like a toddler, and you don’t get enough sleep. Look, your body handles its rebuilding and recovery processes while you sleep. Thus, sufficient sleep will keep you mentally strong and alert, while regulating and maintaining your hormonal health. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults over the age of 26 should get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Of course, exercise is one of the activities experts recommend to improve your sleep. There are other things you can do to get more shut-eye, though. Remember the acronym SLEEP.

Sleep in a cold room

Sleeping in a colder room can reduce your overall body temperature, making it easier to fall asleep. This is in part because melatonin, which is responsible for helping you sleep, works to lower the bodies temperature. So a chilly room can help you produce more melatonin and get better sleep.

Leave yourself 30 minutes of no screen time before bed

The blue light of your electronics makes your brain think that it’s still daytime. Numerous studies have found that taking a break from your phone or computer 30 minutes before going to bed can prevent you from not getting to sleep.

End any caffeine consumption before 3 PM

Caffeine has a half-life of 5-6 hours. If you’re putting caffeine in your body after 4 or 5 PM (that includes your fancy pre-workout drink), you are interfering with your ability to get solid sleep.

Establish a relaxation ritual to wind down your mind before bed

As a writer, words are always floating in my mind. And as an entrepreneur, it’s hard for me to “turn off” at the end of the night. But this is why it’s so important for me to have the same ritual every night before I get ready for bed. I drink a glass of water, brush my teeth and floss, and then I take a few minutes while I lay in the bed to breathe and expel all the thoughts or issues of the day from my mind. If I can roll over with an empty mind, I will sleep. If not, I will be tortured by words or creative projects I’m working on. You have to wind down the conscious mind if you want it to successfully hand the reins over to the sub-conscious mind.

Pursue the Robbie Farlow rule 

The bedroom is for sex and sleep. Keep all electronics — phone, computer, tablets — out of your bedroom. It is a sacred space that should never be breached by attention-demanding electronics. Sleep is important for all aspects of health: mental, physical, and emotional. If you want to be the best man you can be, don’t skip sleep.

Hold up, bro. I thought this article was about manly shit like heavy lifting?!

A Great Strength Training Program

The Internet is filled with exercise programs. Use that massive machine called Google and you can have a 6-week, 8-week, or even a 12-week strength training program designed by some massive meathead delivered to your inbox in seconds. Unfortunately, most of those programs are designed by guys who have been in the Church of Iron for years. And you can barely make it up the stairs without getting winded. Sorry, “brah,” but those programs are not where you need to start and can even hurt you.

If you haven’t been a regular in the gym for more than a full calendar year, you need to start back at the basics. And the program I have below is one that has caused every man I have worked with during the past year to send me an email telling me that they have not been this sore in years.

But hey, if you’re not up for seeing what it actually feels like to “work out,” then please keep doing what you’re doing. Instead, grab this strength training program below and my guide on how to make your 30s better than your 20s and finally stop struggling to erase your Dad-bod. The program that will redefine your body and help you burn off that pesky and hideous belly fat is below

Head on over to Side Quest Fitness to get the full guide to this strength training workout. Each exercise is hyperlinked so you can see the proper form.

Legs and Shoulders

Dumbbell Goblet Squat – 5 sets of 6 reps

Rest for 1 min between sets


Neutral Grip Dumbbell Overhead Press – 4 sets of 10 reps

Rest for 1 min


Superset

Dumbbell Goblet Reverse Lunge – 3 sets of 10 reps per side

Dumbbell Lateral Raises – 3 sets of 10 reps

Rest for 1 min between sets


Dumbbell Step Ups – 3 sets of 10 reps per side

Rest for 1 min between sets


Superset

Seated Dumbbell Front Raise – 2 sets of 12-15 reps

Seated Dumbbell Rear Delt Raise – 2 sets of 12-15 reps

Rest for 1 min between sets

 

Chest and Back

Hammer Grip Incline DB Bench Press – 3 sets of 12, 10, 8 reps

increase weight each set

Rest for 90 seconds between sets


3-Point DB Row – 3 sets of 12, 10, 8 reps

increase weight each set

Rest for 60 seconds between sets


Superset

Standing Dumbbell Row – 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Dumbbell Floor Press – 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Rest for 60 seconds between sets


Superset

Dumbbell Bicep Curl – 2 sets of 12-15 reps

Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extension – 2 sets of 15-20 reps

Rest for 45 seconds between sets


Dumbbell Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise– 2 sets of 15-20 reps

Rest for 60 seconds between sets


Full Body

Superset

Dumbbell Deadlifts – 4 sets of 12 reps

Bodyweight Reverse Lunge – 4 sets of 8 reps per side

Rest for 60 seconds between sets


Superset

Dumbbell Split Squat – 3 sets of 10 reps per side

One Arm Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3 sets of 10 reps per side

Rest for 60 seconds between sets


Bodyweight Hip Thrust – 3 sets of 15 reps

Rest for 45 seconds between sets


Superset

Dumbbell Incline Bench Row – 4 sets of  8-10 reps

Dumbbell Incline Bicep Curl – 4 sets of 10 reps

Rest for 60 seconds between sets


Pallof Press – 3 sets of 12 reps per side

 

**Robbie Farlow: Sith Lord of Strength, Token Ginger of House Slytherin,
NASM-CPT,  Level 1 Certified Precision Nutrition Coach, and Ordained
Dudeist Priest
Facebook: Side Quest Fitness
Website: http://www.sidequestfitness.com/
*Copyright © 2015 Side Quest Fitness, All rights reserved.*

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