When most women exercise, they gravitate toward the aerobic stuff, like running, spinning, Zumba… I am guilty of this, for years I only ran or attended spin class. We have a fear of bulking up and looking manly. If I am exercising, I damn well better be fitting into smaller clothes! After 31 years on this planet I have finally accepted that this is wrong. Using weights and resistance actually builds lean muscle that helps you slim down.
Building muscle helps improve stamina and flexibility. In addition, muscle helps burn more calories at rest, who doesn’t want that?! While men tend to lean towards the weight bearing exercises, all women should be doing weight training to prevent the development of osteoporosis. Preventing osteoporosis is great, but for my motivation, I need to know the vanity benefits! Do you have those target areas you want to slim down? The love handles, saddlebags, inner thighs, bat wings… Aerobic exercise will help decrease the overall fat percentage, but building lean muscle is going to define those areas, preventing them from jiggling and sagging!
Now that we know its great, what do we do? Strength training doesn’t have to mean pumping iron next to Hulk Hogan. Use your own body weight, TRX, sand bags, canned goods, or your baby even! I have recently become addicted to HIIT classes, 35 minutes of strength and aerobic exercise and I am done! Just like aerobic exercise, there are tons of options. Try a few out until you find something you can stick too. If you have a gym membership and like classes, most gyms offer a few strength classes. If group exercise isn’t your thing, try a personal trainer. CrossFit and HIIT gyms have popped up everywhere, do a trial class. You won’t know what you like, or dislike, until you try. Also, don’t try to come into strength training blind. Form is incredibly important and you can seriously injure yourself if you aren’t careful. Having someone train you and correct your form is always good practice.
Instead of doing only aerobic exercise all week, try doing 3 days of 25 minutes of moderate to high-intensity aerobic exercise and 2 days a week of moderate to high-intensity weight training.