So you’ve made your regular gym schedule, you’ve been hitting it hard since the new year, and are hoping to see results soon. You’re staying off the scale (see: Workout Do: Getting (off the scale and) On Track to a Better You), went to your very first yoga class (see: Yoga: The Perfect Practice), and are doing cardio 3x/week. What are you still missing? The answer is: Weight training.
Ladies, there is a correct way of lifting weights without bulking up. If you’re avoiding the weights because you’re afraid of building bulky muslces, relax. To really bulk up, you’ve got to be spending the hours that bodybuilders spend in the gym along with their strict diets. The average person isn’t eating and working out like that. To really make all of your cardio workouts worth it, you have to do some weight training in between. Adding a little muscle (while decreasing fat) will actually make you look leaner, not bigger.
Still not convinced? Here’s a few more reasons why you should start lifting:
1. Yoga is great. I’m all about challenging yourself with your own body weight. But once you start a regular practice, your muscles are going to get used to it. Unfortunately, the strenuous benefits of yoga can be limited, so you have to keep adding weight. Gradual increases in weight training will continue to challenge your muscles and continue to increase your overall strength.
2. While building muscle, you will still be losing body fat. Weight training increases your resting metabolism rate, so eventually, you’ll be burning more calories all day long. Studies have shown that the average woman who lifts weights two or three times per week for two months will gain about two pounds of muscle and lose three and a half pounds of fat.
Remember this photo? Leaner muscle is a lot more attractive than body fat.
3. Ever hear your Grandmother mention Osteoporosis? A lot of older women revisit weight training to increase bone mass, density, and strength. Weight training can actually decrease your risk of getting Osteoporosis.
4. Flexibility. Some Physical Therapists argue that weight training while using your full range of motion is actually more effective than static stretching alone!
5. Lastly, help yourself avoid common aches and pains. While building muscle, you’re also strengthening your connective tissues and joints by lifting weights. The stronger you are, the better chance you have of avoiding injury or throwing your body “out of wack” from daily tasks.
So what are you waiting for? Start pumping that iron. Need some beginner tips? Check out my fav celebrity trainer’s website, Jillian Michaels, at www.jillianmichaels.com.