Why and how to build some lean, smokin’ muscle.
Let’s break it down, focus on the facts and give you a full body beginner’s resistance program.
When it comes to a great body, most people want to feel fantastic in their skin, ie although we may focus on the outside shape and overall look of ourselves because that is what we choose to observe in the mirror each day, we also genuinely wish to feel lean and strong and be able to get through life with physical confidence.
Women’s perception of resistance training has (hopefully) altered from the fear that lifting heavy weights would create a bulky, unfeminine physique. Now, you can train and eat for any physique you want, literally, so if you want a lean, athletic, defined look, get used to the idea of pushing some weight around. Here are some additional benefits to resistance training:
- Increased bone density
- Increased ligament, tendon and therefore joint strength
- Long term increase in metabolism, ie burn more calories even at rest
- Reduced risk of osteoporosis
We lose around 5% of our muscle mass after the age of 35. That bears repeating. We lose around 5% of our muscle mass after the age of 35. Historically, hunters, gatherers and child carriers needed their muscular strength until they were about 35 years old or until their children were old enough to walk and the younger tribesmen could take over the hunting. After 35, they didn’t give two potatoes about whether they had any muscle so their bodies adapted and allowed for that gradual loss. Fast forward to the present day. Get an office job at 22, drive to work, sit all day, drive to the gym, sit on the couch, sit on an exercise bike for an hour, drive home, sit on the couch and then go to bed…did anyone mention global obesity crisis?
Modern day living means we can do almost anything by the touch of a button. However, we still need strength to squat down and pick up washing or shopping, to push open a heavy door, move furniture, carry a child or lift a box. Even better if we can do it without having to ask for help (= empowerment) and knowing how to move safely in order to avoid joining the other 99% of the population who have back problems.
Keep the muscles strong and active and the joints will be protected.
If you are someone who automatically heads for the cross trainer or treadmill at the gym or goes out for a run, power walk or bike ride, now might be the time to switch things up and see how adding variety in the form of some specific resistance training will not only change your physique but it can also improve your ability to run and ride better. Oh, and give you a smokin’ hot patootie!
Different types of exercise require different energy systems and muscle recruitment within the body. In order to run quicker or lift heavier it is a good idea to vary the training stimulus to be able to make improvements across the board and also to keep the body guessing so it has to constantly adapt and re-adapt. By adding some muscle definition to your physique not only will you look great but your metabolism will be working at a higher rate due to the fact that muscle is active tissue, ie it is burning calories even whilst you are asleep! Now if that isn’t reason enough to switch to resistance training, I’ll dance the fandango dressed as Wonder Woman and post it along with this article. Lucky for me, it’s a safe bet but feel free to post your comments (& Wonder Woman requests) at the bottom….. In this way, we get fitter and stronger, while also feeling and looking great. Win, win!
So let’s get down to the business of weight lifting, pulling, pushing and shifting.
RESISTANCE PROGRAM #1
A great place to start is simply getting used to supporting your own bodyweight so very little equipment is required here. As with any workout, take 5-10 minutes doing a gradual warmup and some dynamic stretches before beginning.
Aim to build up to 15-20 repetitions of each exercise. Do the complete circuit 2-3 times.
(NB Switch on bum and abs together. Lift long not high)
(NB Squeeze bum to lift hips, keep knees gently squeezing inwards)
Photo credits: Michael Taggart, Bhakti, Ryan McGuire, Midwest nerd, Sabrina Alley, Core condition, H. Sariman, Womens running competitor, Sassyfit, Running the cape,
Fit mole, Chronicle, DIY Health
Start today, record your results and aim to work a little harder or squeeze out a few more reps each time.
Then post your comments/results – fill me in on your progress!