After a sweaty cardio session, I viewed strength training as extra credit, but when the scale refused to budge, I had to admit that something was missing from my weight loss plan.

July 21, 2009


By Tina Haupert
Finding my Feel Great Weight wasn't an easy task, but incorporating strength training into my regular exercise routine was even more difficult. After a sweaty cardio session, I viewed strength training as “extra credit”—beneficial but not necessary. Plus, I didn't know how to properly strength train, so it was easy to hit the treadmill and call it a day. But when the scale refused to budge—and my body wasn’t looking any better in a bikini—I had to admit that something was missing from my weight-loss plan.

Don’t be a sissy
I halfheartedly tried adding regular weight sessions into my workout, but strength training was boring. I never got into a consistent routine, thinking that a little weight lifting was better than nothing, right? I whipped through the same routine week after week and saw the same numbers on the scale—no gain, no loss. (I know, I know—a scale wasn’t a good measure of my progress!) After a cardio workout, I’d be huffing and puffing, but I’d often finish a workout feeling like I hadn’t done much work. Without challenging my muscles by lifting enough weight, I wasn’t doing myself any favors.

Try taking a class
I discovered that my gym offered a strength-training class called Body Pump, which was the perfect opportunity to learn the basics of weight lifting. The 60-minute workout challenges all of your major muscle groups by using a weighted bar and plates. The group atmosphere and upbeat music motivated me to come to class twice a week every week, and the Body Pump routine changed every six weeks, so it never got boring.


Istockphoto

After just a few weeks of regular classes, I got stronger and started using more weight in my workouts. Being sore the next day was a constant physical reminder of my hard work (I discovered muscles I didn’t even know existed). And, all of a sudden, I saw significant changes in my body—and I wanted to wear sleeveless shirts all the time to show off my new sculpted arms.

Stick with it—even if you can’t get to the gym
I no longer attend regular Body Pump classes, but I do my own version at home. I strength train 3–4 times a week for 30–60 minutes, and perform each exercise for 8–12 repetitions for 2–3 sets. Generally, I devote one session to upper-body strength training, one to lower body, one full body, and one to circuit training. If I get bored with my routine, I pop in a fitness DVD—my favorite is Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism. I used to drag my heels when it came to lifting weights, but now that I can do it from the comfort of my living room, it’s easier to stick with my workout plan. And it’s just extra motivation that my jeans fit better as a result!

Read Tina's daily food and fitness blog, Carrots 'N' Cake.

You May Like