Be not afraid... of strength training!
Eva Johnson | Contributor
Stop the treadmill! Or, at least quit at 30 minutes.
You don't have to do any more of that to get into the best shape of your life. Do I have your attention? It isn't about cycling those muscles around the air or running miles and miles (and miles) over and over.
Granted, it is good for your heart, but it won't help you as much as strength training. Really! Lugging around those weights gives you an advantage over excess fat, chronic disease and will get you into bikini shape much faster.
Let me first dispel the myth that you will suddenly look less feminine. I have been strength training for years and I don't look muscly. In fact, increasing muscle tone has actually made me look curvier and more feminine!
Following are the reasons why you should have been strength training yesterday. Some of these reasons are from the March 2011 Women's Health article entitled: "Lose your fear of lifting."
1. Less time at the gym! If you usually head to the gym and run, bike or elliptical three miles, this can take up to 40-50 minutes. Yes, you will raise your heart rate and burn calories. However, according to Women's Health, if you were to be circuit training instead of churning endlessly, you would be raising the heart almost 15 more beats a minute. Save time on the treadmill and do a minute of these BOSU Burpees! Trust me, you will be winded.
2. You will look better! Losing weight with cardio alone is healthy for the heart, but it won't give you the look you want. You don't want to look like your clothes are just hanging off of you. Instead, you want to look healthy and slim with a bit of muscle definition. Cardio won't give you this look. In fact, if you over-cardio, you can actually burn muscle away.
3. You will handle stress better. "Scientists have determined that the fittest people exhibited lower levels of stress hormones than those who were the least fit." I personally love how I feel after lifting weights. I get out that aggression inside and can take on the day with gusto!
4. Better odds of meeting your match. Are you single? Okay, the men are over there in the weight room. They wouldn't get caught dead in Zumba or dance aerobics. (For those guys that do attend these classes, I wonder if they are trying to improve their own odds...) Someone has to tell you that the men like lifting weights. Feel intimidated? Sign up for a personal training session and he or she will show you how to use the equipment.
5. 40 percent more fat gone! If you think that the running is going to melt away those muffin tops, think again. From Women's Health: "Researchers put dieters into three groups: no exercise, aerobic exercise only, or aerobic exercise and weight training. They all lost around 21 pounds, but the lifters shed six more pounds of fat than those who didn't complete reps." Why? Strength training will burn almost all pure fat. I also found that when I finally started resistance training, I noticed that the number on the scale was the same, but I lost two sizes!
Convinced yet? I hope so! Just try it. What do you have to lose... except all that extra fat?
Eva Johnson is an ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified personal trainer who doesn't have time to run on the treadmill for an hour. She lives in chaos with her husband and two boys. To see her complete blog about how to stay sane and in shape in the real world, visit www.fitnessbyeva.com.