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Get Lean and Mean

Get Lean and Mean


In the gym the primary touchstone for those of us with HIV should be resistance training, or weight lifting. An effective weight training routine will help you increase your lean body mass. Since even a 5% reduction in lean body mass has been linked to higher mortality rates, weight lifting is a sensible path toward better health that's available and free to everyone. Here are four rules to get more out of your resistance training'and more muscle. Use free weights in lieu of machines. Why? Plainly put: Free weights, like dumbbells and barbells, just do a better job of recruiting a greater percentage of your muscle fibers. The more muscle fibers you recruit, the more lean body mass you'll gain. If free weights are unfamiliar or intimidate you, arrange a few sessions with a trainer (most gyms offer members a couple of free sessions). Share your focus with the trainer: to learn how to use free weights using proper form.  Keep a workout log. Your doctor keeps a chart about your body'why shouldn't you? Include the basics'sets, reps, and amount of weight in your exercise log, but also jot down how you feel during and after your workout. Which exercises left you feeling pumped? Did you experience a mild, delayed onset of muscle soreness in the days following? Did certain exercises cause unnecessary fatigue or joint pain? Use the data along with these insights as you plan your next workout.  Learn and stick with basic, compound movements. Which are these? The bench press, lunge, squat, and dead lift. They're harder because your chest, back, and legs are the largest muscles in the body. But if you perform them properly (as taught by a fitness pro), you'll gain more lean body mass using compound movements than doing 'isolation' exercises, such as dumbbell curls, butterfly presses, and calf raises. Eat well and often, and get lots of rest. Your resistance training is only the first step toward gaining lean body mass. You can't overlook the need for your muscles to repair themselves outside the gym. A protein supplement taken within one hour of a weight-lifting workout is a good start, and I've written here about the benefits of taking glutamine. But remember: Supplements are just that'supplements. To gain (and keep) your lean body mass, eat a clean diet made up of complex carbs, fibrous vegetables, high-quality proteins, and healthy fats. Finally, make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleeping and establish a regular sleep schedule. When it comes to muscle recovery, there's no substitute for quality rest. Page is a certified fitness trainer and journalist. As president of Sam Page Fitness, he operates two private studios in Southern California. He contributes to several national and international magazines and also publishes a weekly e-newsletter from Sam Page Fitness and a daily blog called Peace Love Lunges.

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