A Few Things to Know About Strength Training

This is sort of in response to pins on Pinterest, claims I hear in Jillian Michaels’ workout DVDs (don’t get me wrong, I love her workouts, but the things she says are not always true) and exercise moves featured in Cosmo and other magazines.

YOU CANNOT SPOT REDUCE FAT.
There are no specific exercises to target areas of fat.

Crunches WILL NOT reduce your belly fat.

Bridges, lunges and squats WILL NOT melt the fat off your butt and thighs.

Tricep exercises WILL NOT reduce your arm flab.

You get the picture. There’s a quote I like: get fit in the gym, lose weight in the kitchen.

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Once again, weight loss is 80% nutrition, 20% fitness. A calorie deficit with a HEALTHY diet and cardio with regular strength training WILL reduce OVERALL body fat. Your body decides where the fat comes off. (Damn you, genetics.) You may do a ton of crunches and planks and have a strong core, but if you still have a flabby belly, you won’t see the muscles.

So does that mean you should skip the strength training? Of course not! By building muscle, you’ll burn more calories overall, even at rest. According to this article from SparkPeople, “It takes more energy (calories) for your body to use and maintain muscle cells than it does fat cells. So by simply lifting weights to add more muscle mass, you’re boosting your metabolism and turning your body into a more efficient calorie-burning machine.” For best results, lift heavy with fewer reps. (And no, ladies, you will not bulk up.) Lifting heavy weights with fewer repetitions will build muscle, which gives you that lean, defined and fit physique (once your overall body fat continues to reduce).

Continue doing your cardio,  but if you’ve been putting off the strength training, what are you waiting for? There are a ton of workout generators out there to help you get started. Don’t be intimidated! Just don’t overdo it, and give your muscles at least 48 hours until your next strength training session to recover. (When you’re starting a new routine or increase your intensity of your workout, you might feel sore the day after your strength training session, which is normal. This is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS, which is caused by microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. This will happen less often overtime. Just because you’re not sore the next day doesn’t mean you haven’t had a good workout. Still give your muscles plenty of time to recover!)

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