The Importance of Strength Training

Have you ever seen a skinny woman in shorts walk by and then notice the cellulite covering the back of her legs?  “How is that possible?” you think.  Well, losing fat does not mean becoming toned.  In fact, losing fat and looking lean are two entirely different things.femail weight lifter The Importance of Strength Training

Many women are obsessed with burning calories and losing weight.  While this is a good thing, it is nothing compared to gaining muscle.  Why?  Muscle burns calories twenty-four hours a day, not just while you’re working out.

The more muscle you put on, the more calories you burn, the more weight you lose, the more toned you look.  I’d say that’s a pretty good cycle to find yourself in, wouldn’t you?  So how can you put yourself into this cycle?

The best way to gain lean muscle mass is by strength training.  Now, the first thing that comes to many people’s minds when they hear those words is a gym full of sweaty, oversized men pumping iron and breathing out their mouths in an obnoxious manner.  Take heart!  Strength training does not have to look like that!

Strength training can be done at home, with minimal equipment, for only fifteen minutes a day, three days a week.  “Wait a minute!” you say, “That’s not enough time to lose weight and put on muscle!”  In fact, it really is.

Still intimidated?  Many strength training exercises don’t even require weights or equipment!  There are a myriad of body weight only exercises out there for you to choose from.  That means no weights, no equipment, no special room required, no hassle!  You can even get your kids to do these with you, they’re so simple!

The difference between strength training and cardio is that strength training is working a specific group or groups of muscles for a set period of repetitions.  Cardio is aerobic exercise that causes you to reach your maximum heart rate, improving your circulation and stamina.  Cardio may or may not target a specific muscle group.

The ideal workout regimen is one that alternates strength training and cardio.  As you continually push your body to perform short bursts of aerobic exercise, the pounds will begin to melt away.  As you target specific muscle groups with exercises designed to strengthen those areas, muscle will be forming under the surface.  By the time you lose the weight, there will be muscle tone showing up!  And, of course, the muscle you’re adding will help the weight come off even faster.

One of the best ways for beginners to start this process is by focusing on body weight only exercises that don’t require equipment.  By the time you begin to need weights in order to make the exercises more intense, you’ll already be familiar with that kind of exercise and it won’t be as intimidating to add a little weight here and there.

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