You probably already get a ton of cardio by walking around campus from class to class, but what about strength training? If you are a beginner when it comes to working out, here is a guide to kick-start your path to improving your strength and increasing your muscle mass! This article will cover important things to remember, specific equipment you can use at the Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex (BRIC, Bldg. 42), and an overview of more hands-on training you can receive from Campus Recreation.
Things to Remember:
1. Sometimes less is more.
When it comes to exercise, you must have adequate rest and sleep. When you practice strength training, you create micro-tears in your muscles which need to recover in order for them to grow. Adequate rest ensures that you do not injure yourself and enough sleep ensures that your muscles recover and grow. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults ages 18-64 sleep between seven to nine hours.
2. Strength training requires consistency.
Don’t be discouraged if you do not see results right away. According to Allyson Caudell, fitness coordinator at ASI Campus Rec, “People generally need four to six weeks of consistent strength training to improve their physical strength.”
Regarding frequency per week, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that “a strength training program should be performed a minimum of two non-consecutive days each week.” Consistent exercise pays off!
3. Nutrition and hydration are important.
To gain muscle mass, you generally need to eat more calories than you normally would. Small meals throughout the day are typically better than three large meals a day when it comes to maintaining your metabolism and insulin levels. Post-exercise nutrition consisting of protein and carbohydrates are especially important for recovery and growth. Also, make sure to drink enough water throughout the day to fight fatigue and replenish any fluids you sweat out.
4. Maintain muscle balance.
You may have heard the workout phrase, “Don’t skip leg day.” This refers to the importance of maintaining muscle balance. As you begin exercising, consider the functionality and full range of your muscles by training opposing muscle groups. For example, you should work out both your biceps and triceps, your chest and back, your upper and lower body. Don’t focus solely on one of the opposing groups!
Fortunately, when you pay your Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) registration, you become a BRIC member and have access to the LEED Gold certified recreation center filled with excellent equipment you can use to achieve your fitness goals. Keeping the previous tips in mind, here is an excellent full-body workout—created by Caudell—that you can use several times a week to start improving your overall strength.
You should complete this routine two to three times a week and perform two to three sets per machine, with the last set to failure. If you are just starting out, complete four to six repetitions up until the last set. If you are a little more experienced, complete up to eight repetitions up until the last set.
1. Leg Press
2. Leg Extension
3. Chest Press
4. Overhead Press
5. Pull Down
6. Seated Leg Curl
7. Arm Curl
8. Tricep Extension
If you feel pain, faint or dizzy, make sure to stop immediately! Achieving your fitness goals is great but not at the expense of injury.
If you liked the previous routine and want more hands-on and personalized training, consider some of Campus Rec’s fitness programs:
1. Find Your Fit
2. Fitness Assessment
Use this service to get an idea of where you are regarding fitness. According to the Campus Rec website, “The fitness assessment evaluates body mass index, cardiovascular fitness, strength and flexibility.” The assessment is $15 by itself and free with a package of three or more personal training sessions. Learn more here.
3. Personal Training
Experience highly individualized and hands-on training based on your fitness goals! Each workout session is 55 minutes long, and you can also train with a friend. See pricing and learn more about the program here.
4. Learn to Lift
Learn how to lift with proper form and technique from an award-winning personal trainer in a small group setting. Sessions are $5 for BRIC members. Learn more here.