Monday, October 5, 2009

To strength train or not to strength train?

If you want to maximize your weight loss then you should incorporate strength training. Losing weight without strength training can result in muscle loss, so you may lose weight but losing muscle will decrease your overall metabolism which can be the reason you may gain the weight back later on. Not only will increasing your muscle mass increase your metabolism but will help improve your overall health and fitness level. Many women don’t want to train with weights because they are afraid of getting bulky or looking masculine. This is a myth that prevents many women from reaching their weight loss goals. Not only does strength training increase metabolism but it also helps prevent osteoporosis. In order for women to look masculine or develop large, bulky muscles they would have to workout for hours each day along with training with very heavy weights.

For maximum benefits one should exercise 3 times per week for about an hour which should include: warm up and cool down, flexibility training, aerobic and strength training. If you are new to exercise or haven’t been successful with it then check with your doctor before starting a program. Once approved for exercise there are some small steps you can do to get started:

• If you always take the elevator, try the stairs if it is safe to do so, also bring your cell phone in case of emergency.
• If you try to park next to the door of wherever you're going, park farther away and walk in the daylight hours.
• If your habit is to eat at your desk, take a 10- to 20-minute walk first, then have your lunch (or take a walk after you eat).
• Instead of watching TV all day Saturday and Sunday, plan active weekends. Go to the park, take a walking tour, ride your bike, or row a boat. Go play with your kids!

Having a qualified, certified personal trainer can help men and women achieve their personal fitness goals, whether it is to lose weight having lean, toned muscles or build big strong muscles for power and greater strength. Especially if you have never exercised before personal trainers can customize and plan to ensure you meet your goals in a safe and effective manner along with holding you accountable and yet being encouraging at the same time. Also if you’ve exercised before and failed then having a personal trainer can show you how to do it in order to succeed.

Learning what your heart rate should be during exercise and having a heart rate monitor can also help you achieve your goals. If you are not getting your heart rate up high enough within a safe range then you will not be burning enough calories. A personal trainer can help you determine your targeted heart rate and monitor that you are staying within that targeted heart rate range.

Losing weight too quickly or losing muscle because you are not strength training will lower your metabolism and you will hit that plateau where you stop losing weight. Many studies show that physical activity is the best predictor of whether one will maintain their weight loss. Sometimes people hit plateaus for other reasons such as doing the same routine over and over again. Your body adapts to its surroundings and if it gets used to the same routine it will start to use less energy to do these same routines so it is best to switch routines regularly and interval training has also shown success in breaking the plateaus.

Remember that when eating healthier and exercising to lose weight that you will need to continue this to maintain your weight loss. Many people gain the weight back because they feel that when they lose the weight then they are done with diet and exercise. To lose weight and keep it off then you must first go in knowing that what you do to lose weight needs to be seen as lifelong changes. So make small changes in your diet over time so you get accustomed to eating healthy. Don’t think of it as depriving yourself or torture. Make small changes slowly and over time you will get used to it but you can still have your favorites just not as much and not nearly as often. Slowly increase your exercise and understand that you will need to do this for the rest of your life. This will not only help you to lose weight, help you keep the weight off but also help prevent health problems later on such as heart disease. As with the other things we covered earlier, a great personal trainer can help you find new ways to make small changes towards eating a healthy diet and having a great exercise regimen.

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