Lifting weights is a fantastic form of exercise, so is core work, and so is cardio... if you do it correctly. The reason why say that it must be done correctly is because I notice very frequently how often people lift weights with a good program, but follow improper form. It pains me to see runners limping along, obviously struggling, yet still shuffling along.
One of the easiest ways to hurt yourself is to try to lift too much weight in the weight room, run too fast on the track, or generally just exercise too much without enough recovery.
The one overarching skill that you can cultivate in order to prevent this is to bring the entire experience internal.
What I mean by this is that instead of looking externally toward the numbers:
Have you ever seen somebody in the weight room who can lift an obscene amount of weight on the bar but hardly has any muscle development? On the other hand, have you ever met somebody who has very developed muscles yet is not the strongest person in the gym?
Have you ever met someone who looks like a fit runner, yet only runs 3 miles per week? On the other hand, have you ever met an accomplished marathoner who looks as if their body is so tight that it's a wonder that they can still stand upright?
Of course, some of the above scenario’s can be chalked up to genetics. But, I have also seen my fair share of poor training practices contributing to poor results, even if they looked good on paper.
So what is the differentiating factor? What makes a program good and another in effective?
It’s all about focus. Focus is what makes one fitness program good, specifically one person‘s execution of the fitness program.
If you are going to do an exercise, do it 100% correct. If not, you are risking a lot. First, you are setting yourself up for injury. Second, you’re basically taking a good program and making it sub par. You can take the best program, used by professional athletes, and make it into a bad program if you do it improperly.
On the other hand, you can use a very basic program and make it great if you focus on form and proper progression.
Some ways to prevent yourself from exercising improperly are:
I hope this helps inspire you to put yourself first. Make the shift from an externally-driven fitness program to one that is solidly focused inside yourself. Nobody can do this for you. Fitness is the one endeavor that you can't outsource (that sounds like a good blog post title in itself).
Get serious about your health. Put it first. It's hard to get it back once it starts to slip. Going inside, checking on what your body needs, is the best first step to reaching your fitness goals.
All the best to you. If you need help, let me know.