If you really want to lose weight, burn fat and develop a lean healthy body, then in addition to proper nutrition, you really need to include resistance training as part of your weight loss program. Not only is exercise an important part of any fat burning program, the RIGHT type of exercise is also critical.
For you cardio junkies out there I’ve got some bad news. The treadmill, stair stepper, elliptical machine or that morning jog are NOT the most effective way to exercise if you want to burn fat and lose weight. I’m not saying cardio is bad, it does help and should be part of your exercise routine. But you’re really missing the boat if you exclude resistance training.
What is resistance training?
Well, it’s pretty much what is says. You do exercises using various forms of resistance. That resistance could come in the form of dumbbells, barbells, weight machines, kettle balls, resistance bands, or even water bottles or soup cans. You can even do resistance training using only your own body weight by doing pull ups, squats, lunges, push ups and so forth. You don’t need to join a gym or buy expensive weight training equipment.
What are the benefits of resistance training?
When you do these types of exercises, it increases the amount of lean muscle mass in your body. And increased lean muscle accelerates your metabolism, which in turn accelerates the rate at which your body burns fat. These muscles essentially become fat burning machines! And the great thing is this fat burning continues long after your workout is over!
When you do cardio exercises, your metabolism isn’t increased nearly as much as it is with resistance training, and with cardio your fat burning slows down shortly after you’re done working out.
In addition to the fat burning and weight loss aspect, resistance training will give your body a much leaner and fitter appearance. You will look toned and because muscle is more compact than fat, you will appear smaller, even compared to someone who is the same height and weight who has a higher body fat.
Many women have avoided strength or resistance training because they don’t want to look like a body builder. Not to fear, because anyone who has done strength training and does appear bulky and muscle bound, got that way because they’ve done very intense muscle building exercises or in some cases may have taken performance enhancing drugs. Normal resistance training will make you appear more toned and fit, but it will not make you bulky.
So, how do you go about doing this resistance training?
There are many different schools of thought when it comes to strength/resistance training. I’m going to share with you some general tips that will get you started in the right direction.
First of all, don’t do too much too fast. Ease into it and get your body used to that type of exercise. Especially if you haven’t done it before.
I recommend you do the resistance training part of your overall exercise program 3 days a week. Your muscles need time to recover and you should never work the same muscle group two days in a row.
You should start light in the beginning but once you get going don’t lift too light. You want to challenge your body so gradually work up to a weight that gives you a good workout but isn’t too strenuous. And don’t lift too heavy. That could cause an injury.
When doing the exercise, use steady gradual movements. Don’t do your reps too fast. That is only using the momentum of the weight instead of working your muscles. That’s cheating and will only defeat your efforts.
Vary your routine every few weeks. It keeps you more mentally stimulated and your muscles will also stay stimulated. If you keep the same routine with the same number of repetitions week after week, your muscles will adjust to it and your progress will slow way down. You need to keep those muscles on their toes! You’ll see continued improvement that way.
Of course, if you really want to see that fat and weight melt away, it’s important to combine your fat burning exercise program with some cardio worked in there for variety and a proper nutritional program is essential.
Losing weight and getting fit is not easy. But if you do it the proper way, you will begin to see immediate results, which of course will help motivate you to continue with your program.