Do you run for miles on the treadmill every day? Do you suffer through those cardio classes at your gym? Are you seeing the results that you are looking for? If not, it may be because you aren’t including strength training into your exercise routine. Many people, especially women, don’t pick up those weights because they are afraid they’re going to end up looking like a body builder. Well, put away those fears, because that isn’t about to happen. However, strength training can give you the tone and definition you are looking for. It can make you look fantastic in your favourite bikini, skinny jeans or little black dress.
Cardio alone will help you lose fat, yes; but it will not shape and redefine your body. Only strength training can do that. You will also increase your metabolism – Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) increases, meaning that your body can burn fat much more efficiently. Your core will become stronger and you’ll have improved posture, greater strength and your bones will have an increased density.
So, do you need to give up your cardio routine altogether? No, absolutely not! You just need to add strength training to the workout you’re already doing. This doesn’t mean you have to spend another hour in the gym. A good strength training program can take as little as 15-20 minutes. Kettlebell workouts are becoming quite popular, because they incorporate both strength training and cardio at the same time. There are several DVD’s on the market that are quite effective.
If you’re just starting out, it’s important to use lighter weights, no more than 5 pounds. If you prefer, you can use the machines at your local gym. The machines are great for reducing the risk of injury and they will give you a good idea on proper form and posture while you’re performing the exercises.
When you are designing a routine, make sure you work opposing muscle groups; don’t just do your biceps, do you triceps as well. Work your lower body along with your upper body. This will give you a balanced physique.
Reassess your workout every four weeks; chances are you’ll need to increase your weights a bit. It’s also important to change up your routine; your body is so efficient that it gets used to the exercises, and that’s one of the reasons you hit a plateau. Change your program so that your body is always challenged.
While it’s ok to do cardio every day, it’s best to limit your strength training sessions to every other day. This gives your muscles a chance to recover in between sessions.
Eating protein with every meal will help in your strength training efforts as well. Your muscles need protein in order to develop and stay healthy. Have some almonds, organic peanut butter or other protein source with each meal. Protein shakes also make good meal replacements or mid-afternoon snacks.
When you add strength training to your overall exercise routine, you will notice a big difference in how your body looks and feels. You’ll finally have the tone and definition you’ve been looking for.
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