Why is it that people who are trying to change their bodies keep doing the same things expecting to get different results? Everyday I see the same people on the same treadmills and in the same classes throwing teeny dumbbells around. And guess what ? They look the same!!! Month after month – NO CHANGE - not to mention that they are wearing their bodies out from repetitive moves…
And then I’ll hear (like yesterday) a woman say – “I don’t want muscle - I just want to get more "toned”. Hmmm...
OK so we've got three main bodily components – muscle, fat and bone! Yes I know there's also hair, skin and nails...And yes you can lose fat and not gain muscle but in all likelihood you'll be losing muscle too. Which isn't what you want to be doing because muscle burns fat. The more you have the more you burn. And vice versa. Aesthtically without muscle you've got skin and bone - the skinny, fat look. Muscle is your "tone" ladies, the material that gives your limbs shape but more importantly strength. This is the stuff that helps protect your joints from wearing out, that helps your body react and avoid injury. And bonus! It allows you keep your resting metabolic rate higher as you grow older. Just saying – it’s damn hard to build muscle and much easier to lose it. As we age, we can lose about 1 pound of muscle a year if we don’t do anything to prevent it. This translates into a lower metabolic rate and frankly a weaker, fatter body.
Bodyweight interval training is a great way to add functional strength, burn fat and preserve bone and muscle tissue, but to build muscle you really need consistent weight training using challenging weights. You should be struggling to complete the last two reps of any set of 6-8 repititions. Go for 2-3 sets per movement. I would suggest a minimum of two sessions and no more than 3 sessions per week. If you are looking for help and direction, hire a certified personal trainer at least to get you started. And if you are a do-it-yourself-er, there are a few books out there which really stand out in my opinion:
The New Rules of Lifting
The New Rules of Lifting for Women
The Female Body Breakthrough
These books provide tons of well-written, helpful information about the how’s and why’s of weight training and exercise in general and also contain several months’ worth of detailed workout programs. And I’m not affiliated with any of them although I do follow their authors on facebook and twitter. xo