There is a secret weapon to losing weight. It is deceptive and often forgotten. It will actually raise your scale number, but it sheds inches.
So what is it? Strength training! Many people think if they use weights, it will make them bulky. It isn’t true! It will build lean muscle mass. Here are some important things to understand about lean muscle mass:
1. It weighs more than fat. You will likely gain weight when you begin incorporating strength training. Be happy about that because:
2. It burns more calories at rest. The more muscle you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate will be.
3. It replaces jiggle. Yes!
4. It prevents injury, especially if you are doing a lot of repetitive cardio.
5. You can do it at home with a pair of dumbbells or a sandbag.
6. It strengthens your bones.
Strength training is cheap and highly effective when done properly. It is also nice way to break up your workouts. Basic moves to work multiple, large muscles are very simple, but don’t let that deceive you. Here are pointers for weight training beginners:
1. Proper form is paramount to preventing injury and getting results. If a weight is too heavy to do 12-15 reps in a smooth, controlled motion, then decrease your weight. I suggest 5 pound weights for beginners. Some exercises need to be done with bodyweight at first until you master it and find it fairly easy, like squats.
2. Always engage your core, meaning tighten your abdominal and back muscles like you are preparing to take a punch in the stomach.
3. Keep your back flat: there shouldn’t be an arch in your lower back as you do strength training.
4. As a general rule, when squatting or lunging, never let your knee push over your toes. You want a 90 degree knee angle.
5. Joints that act as hinges in an exercise should be stationary. For example, in bicep curls, your elbow joint should be stationed comfortably by your side but not be moving up and down or side to side-the bicep muscle should be doing all the work, with bottom half of arm moving fluidly up and down only (not side to side).
Make sure you are incorporating three days of strength training into your workouts. You can certainly combine cardio and strength training. This is highly effective for fat loss. My favorite workouts are here