How to Add Strength Training to Your Exercise Routine

Don't you just hate this - you're going about your business, so proud of yourself for finally making fitness a part of your weekly regiment by hitting the gym three times a week and moving it on that treadmill for 30 minutes each time (or elliptical, or bike). You're seeing some moderate results and you're thinking this is it, it's finally going to happen, I'm going to hit my goal weight. And then BAM! Someone like me comes along and says, "Well I hope that's not all you're doing to get the results you want." 

Don't you hate that?

Well please don't throw in the gym towel. And please don't hate me! I'm just trying to point out a common thought process among women, which is, "Why do I need to do more when I'm burning about 300-350 calories per cardio session? Isn't that enough to lose weight if I'm watching my calories? After all, it's all about calories in, calories out, right?" 

Weeellllllll, not exactly. 

Please don't think I'm knocking anyone, I commend you for working in the cardio sessions, I think that's great. But what is going to help you get results faster is to add strength (or resistance) training to your weekly regiment. Lifting weights will make such a difference to your body.

(Pssst... and don't worry, lifting weights will not cause you to "bulk up". It just won't happen. Trust me. Women are not built that way, there isn't enough testosterone in our bodies to allow for that.)

There are so many benefits that resistance training truly is a must.

What are they you ask? Well here, I happen to just have a few written out below:

  • Strength training will increase your metabolic activity. That means that even after your workout, your body will still be burning calories. Strength training builds lean muscle mass, and the more you have, the more calories you are going to burn afterward, and for longer periods of time.
  • Increased bone density. If you have a family history of osteoporosis, strength training helps to fight against that.
  • Improved balance. Very important as we age to build up our strength in our core and legs to avoid slips and falls.
  • Lowers your risk of coronary disease. 
  • Helps to prevent future injury because you're strengthening your whole body.
  • Reduces body fat (and who doesn't want that?)

These are just a few of the benefits of strength training, there are so many more!

Clearly, it would behoove you to add even two sessions a week and devote them to strength training. Start small with 2-pound weights and slowly work your way up. You will get so much more out of your time spent exercising and you will feel stronger and more empowered. It's definitely worth it!

If you're at a loss as to what to do... boy oh boy do I have some videos for you! Check out my standing ab workout below. (And no worries if you don't have a gym membership, neither do I! All my workouts can be done outside the gym, which I think is the best place to workout.)

Try these three moves with a weight that will provide a little bit of a challenge. I used 8 pound wieghts and could really feel my abs getting engaged! Try for 10 reps each move for 3 rounds. Keep at it until you can do 20 reps for 5 rounds!