Why Should You Add Resistance Training to Your Exercise Routine?

A lot of people will walk or do some type of cardio workout and still not see the physical fitness results they are looking for. So what is missing? Is there anything else they can add to help them achieve their goals?

I believe there are two things that could make a big difference:  Proper Diet and Resistance Training.

All of the workout programs I design have a resistance training element in them. Why?  Because I believe that resistance training is key to reaching your fitness goals. I want to share some of these reasons with you, and also try to debunk some common myths about resistance training, especially for females.

Why You Should Add Resistance Training to Your Exercise Routine

1.  You will build bone mineral density.

Through resistance training you actually make your bones stronger, which can help prevent osteoporosis. The stronger your bones are, the stronger you are overall.

2. You will build muscle strength and tone.

When your muscles are stronger, you will more easily be able to perform daily living activities. This makes simple tasks like carrying the groceries and climbing stairs much easier.

In addition, muscle tissue is also denser than fat tissue.  This means that one pound of muscle will take up less space then one pound of fat. At rest, muscle tissue will burn more calories on average than fat tissue, thus changing and improving your body composition and form.

3.  You will speed up your metabolism.

Metabolism is how our bodies convert the food we eat into fuel, and how efficiently we burn that fuel. The faster and more efficient our bodies are with this, the more calories we burn, which helps us either maintain or lose weight. Unlike a cardio work-out, resistance training will lead to extra calories being burnt hours after the workout is complete.  So not only are you burning calories while doing a resistance workout, you are also continuing to burn calories long after you are done. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

Common Myths or Fears About Adding Resistance Training to Your Exercise Routine

1.   Resistance Training Will Make Me ”Big and Bulky”. 

This is a common fear among women in regard to resistance training, and I hear you! I don’t want to get big and bulky either. But I do want to have nice definition and toned muscles.

Guess what? Females won’t bulk up like males will. We simply do not have enough testosterone to encourage a lot of muscle growth.  You will have muscle definition, but you will not become big and buff.

2.  Resistance Training is Only For Atheletes.

As I stated earlier, there are so many health benefits to lifting weights or doing resistance training that you don’t need to be an athlete in order to take part in a resistance training program. Resistance training can benefit anyone!

If you are serious about trying to get fit, consider adding a resistance training element to your workout routine. It doesn’t have to be super intense or last an hour. It can be just a basic and simple program. If you add 2-3 days of resistance training in with the cardio work-outs you are already doing, you will see positive results!

Resistance Bands – An Inexpensive Workout Tool

I’ve talked about resistance bands a little in a previous post, so I decided to share a few more thoughts about why I love them. My friend, Laura at Heavenly Homemakers, and I have recently started using resistance bands in our training in order, just to switch things up a little. I try to change our mode of workout frequently to keep us from becoming bored. The resistance bands are a great way to do that!

Resistance bands are heavy duty latex bands with a handle attached.  Different bands offer different amounts of resistance.

Resistance bands add variety to your workouts, they are very inexpensive, and they don’t take up very much space. They are even portable. It is so nice to just be able to throw a band or two into my bag and take them with me when I want to work out on the road. Resistance bands can be used to execute a number of different exercises, making them a great substitute for dumbbells.

Here is an example of some exercises you can do with your resistance bands:

For me, it is just fun to figure out how I can use resistance bands in new ways to work different muscles. I can do an exercise with dumbbells, and then turn around and do the same exercise with resistance bands, achieving an entirely different effect. I love it!

So, if you are thinking of purchasing some equipment to get started on your workout journey, what better way than to buy some resistance bands!

How to Find Time to Exercise

When can you possibly fit one more activity into your day when there is laundry to be done, dirty dishes in the sink, and kids to chase after? You want to exercise but it seems that there aren’t enough hours in the day. How can you find the time to fit in exercise?

My first thought is that you must decide if fitness and exercise are truly a priority in your life right now. Are you so ready to get fit that you will find the time? And even if you are willing, is it really possible for you?

If fitness and exercise are a priority then it does become easier to find time for it. But that doesn’t mean it is always easy to fit it into your day. You will still have other priorities and responsibilities that you will need to take care of. Sometimes exercise has to be fit in around those responsibilities. Sometimes it just needs to be “scheduled” into the day like everything else.

Here are some possibilities for times that might work for you to fit exercise into your busy day:

  1. Get up a half hour to hour earlier! Sometimes it works to get your workout in first thing so that you can continue with the rest of your day like normal.
  2. If you have little ones, maybe you can get your workout in while they are napping. You could also take them with you on a walk or if they are old enough to play at the park let them play while you workout nearby.
  3. You may be able to involve the kids in your workout. Little ones can be held during a resistance training program and be used as the resistance. Older kids might just have fun joining you.
  4. Sometimes exercise will have to be broken up into smaller chunks in order to fit it all in. You may not have an hour to workout but maybe you have 10-15 minutes that you could squeeze part of it in, and then later in the day you have some time to finish it. There is nothing wrong with breaking your workout up into 10-15 minute segments. You will still benefit from the workouts.
  5. You may have to do it later in the evening when you put the kids to bed. This doesn’t always work for everyone because it can affect your sleep. But it’s worth a try if you are serious about trying to get a workout in.

Finding time to workout can be challenging and even frustrating at times. But I don’t think you will regret finding the time. Your body will thank you down the road for making fitness a priority. There are also going to be times in life when it is extremely hard if not impossible to fit a workout in like you would want to. That’s ok. Do what you can when you can.

How do you find time to fit workouts into your busy schedules?

5 Easy Ways to Get Up and Start Moving

If you are new to fitness or just beginning this journey, you may be wondering where to start. With so many different options it can be extremely overwhelming.

But did you know that even as little as 10 minutes of activity can have positive health benefits for you?  Here are a few simple suggestions I’ve come up with to help you get started, even if you have very limited time for exercise:

1. If you have little ones, go outside and play with them. Chase them around the yard, play tag, or kick a soccer ball around. Just move with them. This will increase your heart rate some, they will appreciate that you are playing with them, and you might even find yourself having a little fun too!

2. Go for a 15-30 minute walk. Take your dog with you, take your kids with you (you could even let them ride their bikes), or meet up with a friend and use that time to catch up a little bit. If you can’t fit in a full 30 minutes at a time you can break that up into two to three 10 minute sessions if that works into your life better. Even just walking for 10 minutes will make a difference in your activity level and heart rate. You will still benefit from those short walks. Walking is great for your body and is a low impact exercise.

3. If you take your kids swimming, join them. Swimming is a great cardio workout. It is also very low impact so it is easy on your joints. You can walk or jog in the shallow end, play with the kids, or even swim a few laps.  Don’t assume that you need to swim lap after lap after lap to gain the benefits from being in the pool.  Even simple movements in the water will benefit you.

4. Work outside in the yard or garden. Doing some serious yard work can become a great form of exercise. If you are moving, active, and getting your heart rate up you are really working out.

5. If you have a staircase in your house, run (or walk) up and down them a few extra times each day.  You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to add those extra simple steps, which will strengthen your muscles and increase your heart rate too.

My point is that when you are getting started on your fitness journey, it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. Small changes in your activity level can have huge health benefits down the road. It also doesn’t have to be boring. Have fun with it! Involve your family. Change it up on a regular basis, and enjoy your time of being active and working to become fit!

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Resistance Training – What is It?

Resistance training is any type of exercise that requires you to contract your muscles in order to push, pull, lift, or throw an object or weight. The external resistance can come in many forms including dumbbells, resistance tubing, your own body weight, or even your kids. This allows resistance training to be tailored to your needs, goals, and available equipment and space.

Resistance training will look very different for each individual based on their goals. Most resistance training programs will accomplish a couple different things but will have one main goal in mind. Some of the different goals of resistance training are to increase strength, muscular endurance, mass, or to tone up.

There are many positive benefits to resistance training.  For starters, it improves our bone density, which in turn helps us fight problems such as osteoporosis.  No brittle bones here! Resistance training also increases strength and improves our metabolism. From my own personal experience, I have also noticed that strength training increases my energy levels and improves my mood. For me, this form of exercise is a great stress reliever.

There is much to consider when trying to decide on a resistance training program. How much time do you have or are you willing to devote to training? What equipment is available for you to use? What are your goals? It is important to learn proper technique in order to get the most out of program and reduce the risk for injury. Resistance training really can be very simple and not require a lot of equipment, time, or space. That may mean you have to get a little creative, but that also makes it fun!

Cardio Training – What is It?

 

What is cardio training? Well, cardio stands for cardiovascular, which mainly involves our heart. Our heart is a muscle and needs to be worked out just like any other muscle so that it will stay strong. Our heart is responsible for pumping blood, which carries oxygen and other things to the rest of our body. Without this oxygen, our bodies can’t produce the needed energy to make our bodies move.

Anything that raises your resting heart rate can be considered a form of cardio training. Your resting heart rate is defined as simply the number of times your heart beats in a one minute period. Walking, running, swimming, and bicycling are all examples of cardio training.

Cardio training is important for a number of reasons. As mentioned before, it strengthens your heart.  When your heart is strong, it functions more efficiently.  Cardio training also strengthens your lungs since your heart and lungs work together to provide your muscles with the needed oxygen. Cardio workouts also help you burn calories and boost your metabolism. All of these are positive benefits to cardio training.

Cardio training can vary from something very low impact and low intensity to high impact and high intensity. Low impact workouts are easier on your joints and great for beginners. An example of a low impact workout would be a walk at a slow to moderate pace. Running and sprinting are examples of higher impact workouts. The higher the intensity the workout the more calories you will burn.

The fun thing about cardio training is the variety. You can constantly change up your cardio workouts to avoid boredom. It is also a great opportunity to spend some time with a close friend, spouse, or a child. I have found that walking with a friend is a great time to visit and catch up. It also seems to make the workout go quicker! That’s always a good thing.