A healthy lifestyle blog by ACE Certified Group Exercise Trainer.

The Importance of Strength Training

As women, sometimes we think it's all about Cardio. We make sure to get in a walk, jog, bike, Zumba, or dance class, but we don't always make time for lifting weights or working with resistance bands.

I think there are several reasons that a lot of women don't get in enough strength training:

  1. Gyms are intimidating. I think it can be scary to go to a gym, and try to figure out the equipment. Most of us are embarrassed to ask someone or don't want to pay an extra fee for a personal trainer to show us. We are worried that gyms are for hard bodied fitness addicts. 
  2. We think we need to focus on cardio to lose weight. Yes, cardio is extremely important in your fitness routine, but it's not the ONLY important type of training. Numerous studies show that cross-training (doing a variation of exercise activities) promotes better results in weight loss. 
  3. We are pressed for time, so we end up doing mostly cardio and very little weights. This can be especially true for moms or those with busy work schedules. If you know that you only have 45 minutes a day to get in a workout, you might opt for the cardio to burn calories.
  4. We don't have the right equipment. Weights can be expensive, especially if you are going for the adjustable dumbbells or similar at-home-gym equipment.

Why we as women, REALLY need strength training:
  1. Muscle burns fat. Again, let me repeat that. Muscle burns fat. It's a proven fact. Studies performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD, from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. That's what I call WINNING!
  2. You will burn more calories if you have more muscle on you! Muscle increases your resting metabolism. So for every pound of muscle you gain, you will burn 30-50 more calories each day.
  3. Strong bones. Coupled with calcium supplements, weight lifting is your best defense against osteoporosis.
  4. A pound of muscle looks better than a pound of fat. 

Ways to incorporate strength training:
  1. Low on cash or afraid to join a gym? Do some YouTube Videos at home. (Of course at your own risk!). I recommend FitnessBlender.com for beginners. 
  2. Don't have weights? Use a resistance band! You can find these at Walmart or Amazon. There are lots of videos with ideas for exercises. You can also use your own body weight (think pushups/planks).
  3. Do some type of strength training at least 3x per week. You don't want to work the same set of muscles back to back. For example, if Monday you work legs, Tuesday you can do Arms, or skip a day and work a different muscle group on Wednesday.
  4. Join a group fitness class that focuses on strength (like my Tabata Bootcamp!). Also classes focusing on "body sculpting" or "toning" typically include weight or resistance exercises.

If you are interested in learning more about incorporating muscle building workouts into your routine, contact me and we can talk about some ideas that might work for you!

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