I’ve been working out a long time and I am still learning new things about fitness. I’ve recently been paying more attention to my protein intake, knowing that protein helps build and sustain muscle growth. Because I do work out with weights regularly, taking in adequate protein can help increase strength and lean body mass, both of which are important to me.

Someone who has helped me become more fit and strong is Fran Tadra. I’ve been training with Fran Tadra since 2011. Since I had worked out pretty consistently throughout my adult life, and studied lots on the subject, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what strength training was all about, and how to do it. I initially started working with Fran simply to design a few new workouts for me. Well, there’s always more to learn! I’ve continued because of the results I have gotten, one of which is that I am much stronger now. And I have learned so much from her that I asked Fran to share a few tips for those who are newer to strength training, and hope that you benefit from her wisdom as I have.

Fran Tadra

Fran Tadra’s workouts emphasize careful planning to help her clients achieve success in reaching fitness goals. Included in every workout are elements of resistance training, core conditioning, functional training and flexibility. Variety and technique variations are incorporated to keep programs interesting, break plateaus and help stimulate the body. I asked her to make some recommendations for someone beginning a strength training program.

  • It’s important to check with your doctor before beginning any type of serious exercise program. If you work with a personal trainer, the first step should always be a thorough review of a client’s medical background. This includes any injuries or limitations, such as joint problems, arthritis, a heart condition, and so on. A workout program needs to be designed from there as a starting point. A solid program also has to take into account individual goals and time constraints.
  • Fran advises starting gradually with lighter weight, and higher repetitions, and a minimum of two strength-training sessions per week. These sessions should include resistance training, core work, functional training, and getting the heart rate up. To build muscle, over time, you’ll increase to heavier weights, and less repetitions.
  • Pay attention to your form, technique and proper breathing. These elements are vital to the effectiveness of a workout, and as important as the amount of weight you use, and the repetitions you do.
  • In addition to strength-training, the best conditioning plan includes a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio three times a week. This can also be incorporated into a resistance program by adding intervals of exercises that increase your heart rate. A trainer can be of help with learning this technique. This is consistent with the workouts we do.
  • Eating healthy and exercise go hand in hand, and the best eating plan isn’t a diet or the latest fad, but making healthy food choices. Avoid processed and fast foods. Depending on the person and their metabolism, they may need smaller, more frequent meals, but don’t skip meals.
  • Eat a variety of foods – protein, complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits, vegetables), healthy fats, dairy. Have a combination of protein, healthy carbs and healthy fats at each meal.
  • It’s important to get adequate protein. The amount you need varies according to weight and activity level, but an average for an active 120 pound woman would be between 60-80 grams per day. Aim to have at least 20 grams of protein at each meal. (For reference, a chicken breast the size of your palm is approximately 20 grams.)
  • Fran strongly recommends tracking food in a food journal if you are embarking on a weight-loss and/or healthy eating program. This can be of great benefit in watching food intake when you want to lose weight, and in monitoring healthy eating in general. Make sure your water intake is plentiful and adequate according to your activity level.

Personal training is just that – an individualized training and eating plan, along with water intake, adjusted to your goals, your body and its limitations, if any. And the most important component is you – your commitment to a healthy lifestyle. In the end, if getting healthy, being stronger, or losing weight is a goal – the change has to be motivated from within.

Categories: Fitness

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