A 55-minute strength-training class at my gym, Body Pump, has recently become a minor obsession of mine. But I haven't always loved strength training. I used to be really intimidated by it, mostly because I had no idea what to do! And I dreaded ending up with big, bulky muscles. Now, however, I lift weights to keep my arms and legs toned and to sculpt new muscles I never knew I had!
It may sound surprising, but bulking up a little can even help you lose weight. Women who strength train preserve muscle mass while they shed pounds, and have higher metabolisms, according to a study from the University of Alabama, in Birmingham. Strength training makes it easier for me also to maintain my Feel Great Weight.
Now I'm glad that I've made it a regular part of my workout routine. I even look forward to my Body Pump classes! Here are a few stick-with-it tips that will help you look forward to strength training too.
To keep me motivated, I look ahead on my calendar for upcoming parties, weddings, vacations, or any other special occasion for which I know I will want to look my best and show off my toned body. Whenever I want to skip a Body Pump class, I think about the next event on my calendar, and I immediately change my mind!
Change the background
Working at a desk all day typically drains my energy. So by the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is hit the gym for a strength-training workout. To inspire me to stay with my routine, the wallpaper on my computer screen has a picture of an athlete or celebrity whose body I admire—like Jessica Biel or Jillian Michaels. Their tight, toned figures inspire me to hit the weights.
Show it off
When I'm in the gym doing my strength-training workout, I think about how I would look wearing a top that shows off my arms, which helps me crank out a few extra reps! And I almost always wear a tank top later in the day to show off my muscles.
Recruit a workout buddy
Teaming up with my husband to take Body Pump classes really helped me stick with them. If I ever want to skip a class, my husband coaxes me to join him. It's hard to say no when he's already going. My good friend Marie also takes these classes with me. We often make plans to go to the 5:30 a.m. class. Because it's so early in the morning, I'd feel bad blowing her off if she woke up early and I didn't.
Create a visual reminder
Once I started to notice muscle definition in my arms and legs, I asked my husband to snap a photo of me to upload to my blog. The photo shows off my hard work and inspires me to continue with my routine.