The results are in! A recent study from Harvard University found that cardio alone isn't going to be enough to prevent weight gain as we age. Sounds dismal, right? Not necessarily! This same study revealed what WILL work to help you stay (or become) svelte!
That's right, weight training is the answer to preventing muscle loss and increasing fat burn. Lifting weights maximizes your muscle fiber activation and increases your strength almost immediately. Before you even begin to "see" muscles, your strength will be improved. Building muscle is also the key to increasing your calorie burn. Simply put: muscles use calories for energy and the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn and the more fat you will lose.
Here are some tips on how to optimize your strength training:
While 5 pound dumbbells have a place in your workout, they can't be your whole workout. For most people, they will not be nearly heavy enough to stimulate muscle growth. You need to really challenge your muscles. Of course, you don't want to go too heavy either. Lifting weights that are too heavy usually means breaking form and putting yourself at risk for an injury. You need to find the sweet spot! If you are unsure, pick up a weight and lift for 10 reps. If you are barely able to do the last few reps, you've found the right weight. If you feel like you can do more, the weight is too light! Always remember to pay attention to your form. Keep a neutral spine and engage your core!
If you aren't already, try to make sure you are strength training at least 2 or 3 times a week. Aim for 2 or 3 sets of 10 reps, or, if you are using a timer, as many reps as you can complete in your given time frame. Remember, not all of your strength training has to be straight up presses and curls. There are a number of exercises that incorporate lifting with compound movements, helping you increase muscle engagement. Here are a few examples:
Just like your mind can get bored doing the same thing over and over again, so can your body. When it comes to building muscle, variety is the key. Your body adapts to the exercises you do so if you are doing the same thing, day after day, your body becomes really efficient at those moments and you stop making gains. This is why it is important to make sure you are always challenging yourself and mixing things up every few weeks. For over 1500 great workouts, with new content added all the time, check out Sweatflix: BodyRock on Demand! This is where you will find all of our workouts, anytime or place you'd like them! From beginner bootcamp to advanced, yoga, exclusive content, and special guests, Sweatflix has what you need! Check it out!
Don't be afraid of lifting weights. You will not walk away from weight training looking like the Incredible Hulk! You will, however, boost your strength, develop long, lean muscle, and burn fat! So, get your bar and weight set and bust a move!
Have you added weight training to your routine and seen a huge difference in your fat loss? Share your story with us!
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