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.
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 âextra creditââbeneficial 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 budgeâand my body wasnât looking any better in a bikiniâI had to admit that something was missing from my weight-loss plan.
Donât 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 scaleâno gain, no loss. (I know, I knowâa scale wasnât a good measure of my progress!) After a cardio workout, Iâd be huffing and puffing, but Iâd often finish a workout feeling like I hadnât done much work. Without challenging my muscles by lifting enough weight, I wasnât 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 opportunityÂ 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.
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 didnât even know existed). And, all of a sudden, I saw significant changes in my bodyâand I wanted to wear sleeveless shirts all the time to show off my new sculpted arms.
Stick with itâeven if you canât get to the gym
I no longer attend regular Body Pump classes, but I do my own version at home. I strength train 3â4 times a week for 30â60 minutes, and perform each exercise for 8â12 repetitions for 2â3 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 DVDâmy 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, itâs easier to stick with my workout plan. And itâs just extra motivation that my jeans fit better as a result!