A common mistake when working out to lose weight or lower body-fat is overdoing cardio and not adding in enough weight-resistant training. I see people on the treadmill day after day, week after week, trying to change their body composition without ever picking up a weight. I think women especially are afraid to lift weights in fear of “bulking up” or putting on too much muscle. The truth is it’s very difficult for most women to build a significant amount of muscle or to become too bulky without using drugs.
Strong muscle tissue supports the joints and ligaments and helps to prevent injury. As we age our muscle mass decreases by 4% each year; a good reason to invest early in building stores of muscle. And a strong, sculpted body looks as healthy as it is. Muscles support sagging skin that often accompanies weight-loss and helps to create a toned, taught appearance.
I’m a big believer in combining strength training, cardio, and flexibility for the best results. Cardio exercise is a great way to burn calories and strengthen our heart, but building muscle with weight training benefits you in different ways that contribute to weight loss and fat loss. Muscle continues to burn calories even at rest so all your workouts are more efficient.
I feel powerful and confident when I lift and I find the results are faster than anything else combined with proper nutrition. I also practice and teach yoga and love the flexibility and length my muscles achieve in yoga. It’s the perfect compliment to weight training.
Cardio is my least favorite thing to do- I only do 2 or 3x’s a week and because I’m building muscle I don’t need as much. I’ve been using the Jacob’s Ladder which is a hellish device that burns about 500 calories in a 30 minute session. It’s the hardest cardio workout I’ve ever done. We have a love/hate relationship!
Recently I’ve started incorporating HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) into my cardio days to mix things up. Short bursts of intense movement done back to back to keep the heart rate elevated. Hard but effective!
A typical HIIT workout I would do might be:
2 minutes on high incline treadmill
25 jump squats
25 jump splits
2 minutes on elliptical
1 minute rest
Repeat the whole cycle 3 or 4 times
Finding the right work-out with the right meal plan is key to reaching your goals. I’ve changed my work-out while I’m on my 6 week meal plan to heavier weights and more intense cardio sessions, but not necessarily more often. My goal is to build muscle and lower my body-fat. I don’t really care what the scale says because muscle weighs more than fat. I’m more concerned with my muscle mass index climbing.
Here is a half-way progress shot- 3 weeks into my 6 week workout and meal plan. Feeling very strong and excited about seeing results!!