I know. We’re all guilty of it sometimes. We get into a comfort zone, hop on a low-impact cardio machine, watch TV for 20 minutes while we’re pedaling, and then at the end of the week, wonder why the scale stays the same.
Research conducted by Yahoo! Health and Reader’s Digest indicate that many women are still leaving strength training off their to-do list. The survey included 2,000 Americans, ages 18 to 64, and representative of the U.S. online population.
“Cardio is the most common type of exercise (71%), followed by strength training at 42%. No surprise, men and young adults (ages 18-49) are more likely than women to do strength training. Most adults, especially those ages 50+, believe cardio is the workout that burns the most fat.”
When asked, “What type of exercise do you do?,” the survey yielded the following results:
- Cardio 71%
- Strength training 42%
- Interval training 17%
- Yoga or Pilates 15%
- Group exercise 11%
- Other 13%
Yes, cardio is absolutely important and there are times when an emphasis should be placed on cardio. However, if you want to see your body become more defined and sexy, you should not rely on cardio alone. Mixing in strength training 2-3 times per week can show rapid results.
There’s still a fear that women will “bulk” themselves up if they lift a weight. But we’re here to provide you some relief. Don’t buy into the hype.
Follow some sage advice from Women’s Health Magazine, “You need more iron. Not in your diet—in your hands”
For example, 8lb hand weights for 2 sets of 15 bicep curls is a good start. You can even go a bit lighter if you prefer. Just make sure you feel an effort and exhaust the muscle. Talk to your local trainer and have her/him put you on a strength training program based on your personal needs and body type.
There are also some thoughts around yoga as a sole form of strength training, and I’m a huge yoga enthusiast (my traveling yoga mat can attest to this), but I know from experience that yoga doesn’t replace lifting a weight. It does work exceptionally well in combination with your strength training and cardio, though.
Also, remember to give yourself a break and leave the scale behind while you ease into this new program. The numbers do not define you, but you can conquer them. Just workout smarter. Build muscle so your body is burning fat while you’re seated at your desk, lounging during cocktail hour, and, ahem, exploring other evening activities.
Disclaimer: We are not doctors, please remember to consult with your physician before starting any new workout program.
Image source: Shutterstock.com woman lifting weights