Do You Even Lift?
Don't Ask for a Light Load. Ask for a Strong Back"
You walk 3 miles a day, park in the furthest spot, take the stairs and achieve 10,000 steps a day on your tracker...but the scale is not budging! SERIOUSLY???
You could add more miles or increase your step goal, but a better strategy would be to pick things up and put them down...in other words, add some weight and resistance training to your routine.
Now ladies, before you get all "but I don't want to look all big and beefy", just know that you do not possess the hormones that would get you to this point. However, you do possess the ability to get chiseled arms. sexy shoulders and sleek calves.
Sound good? Keep reading!
Three Parts of a Workout Routine
To make the most of your time, and work as efficiently as possible, I recommend including cardio, strength and flexibility exercises to each workout.
My favorite type of strength training is Circuit Training. This type of workout keeps you from getting bored and can be done in 30 minutes (but feel free to add a few extra rounds if you need more!)
A circuit is made up of 5-10 exercises that target both upper and lower body worked back to back. Each exercise is done for one minute with no rest in between each exercise. You can aim to complete a fixed number of rounds or do as many rounds in a set amount of time.
Include a day of circuit training 3 days a week in your rotation with alternating days of steady state cardio such as walking or bike riding as well as a day of restorative recovery such as yoga or meditation.
Give your muscles a day of rest in between strength training days (hence the steady state every other day) to allow for your body to repair and build and reduce your risk of adrenal fatigue and overuse injury.
Check out my sample week here.
By including resistance and weight training into your weekly exercise regimen, you will begin to reap some pretty amazing benefits. Muscle has a much leaner appearance pound for pound than fat and it burns more calories while the body is at rest (boosts metabolism). Strengthening muscles also helps with functional, every day living including walking up and down stairs, bending and lifting and reaching overhead. With your muscles strong and flexible (because you ALWAYS stretch after your workouts) you will have less discomfort and pain when completing every day tasks and decrease your chance of injury as well.
No fancy equipment or pricey gym membership is necessary to get a killer strength workout. A couple of sets of dumbbells or resistance bands and a yoga mat are really all you need. I recommend three sets of dumbbells, a light set (3-5 pounds) medium set (8-10 pounds) and heavy set (12-15 pounds) to accommodate larger and smaller muscle groups. Resistance bands in varying thickness can also offer the same variety for less cost.
Check Your Form
Before embarking on any fitness or strength training journey, check with your doctor for any underlying conditions and injuries you may need to modify for. I highly recommend working with a personal trainer or fitness professional who can check and correct your form.
Whatever your health and fitness goals are, including strength and resistance training will make a huge impact on your success. Make your circuit training a priority and I promise you will see and feel a difference.
Got a great circuit you love?
Share it with my readers so they can love it too!!
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I'm Liz. Mom, wife, teacher, Health Coach. My passion lies in everything health and wellness. When new research and trends pop up, you can bet I am finding the best resources to information, weeding out the not so good and making the great easy to digest. From meal planning and recipes to exercise and mindfulness, wellness touches upon so many dimensions. Your path to optimal health is out there and I can help you find it.