I’m halfway through my 30-Day Fitness Challenge. So far, I have really enjoyed how it has been helping me switch up my workout routine. I was definitely getting stuck in a rut doing the same old workouts day in and day out, but this challenge has gotten me into doing strength routines and interval training on top of the cardio I know and love.
I don’t think I ever realized the importance of strength training. My mentality was that cardio burns the most calories, so cardio is all I need. So wrong.
Strength training obviously helps strengthen muscle, but it also helps prevent injury. As someone that enjoys running, I definitely need to be careful about the stress I’m putting on my joints. Strength training helps support joints, therefore decreasing likelihood of injury.
I was also surprised to learn that strength training helps increase your resting metabolism. The higher your resting metabolism, the easier it is to decrease your body fat. If you train consistently, you increase the size of your muscle fibers, and when muscle fibers are bigger, they consume more energy, boosting your metabolism. It can’t get better than that, right?
I was a little concerned about gaining too much muscle and looking like a man. I want to be strong, but I don’t want to be stalky! However, according to New England Wellness, most women are genetically unable to create massive muscles. We lack the hormones and/or the body structure! There’s a weight off my shoulders (cue comic drum roll).
So, now that I don’t have to worry about becoming the Hulk, I had to learn the strength training basics. In order to strength train effectively and change the shape and tone of your muscles, you have to lift weights heavy enough to create muscle fatigue (aka: get to the point where you can’t lift any more). Even your own body weight will do in some cases (welcome back to my life, Jillian Michael’s yoga video!).
Anyway, to properly strength train, it’s recommended that you choose a weight that produces muscle fatigue between 8-12 reps for the upper body and 12-15 reps for the lower body, then do 1-3 sets. For the best results, this should be done 2-3 times per week on non-consecutive days.
I’ve been doing this full body strength training routine, but am going to switch it up to target upper body and lower body separately this coming week.
Have you ever done a strength training routine? Have you experienced it’s benefits? What are your favorite moves?