Good muscle tone helps you burn calories faster and fight age-related bone problems. To strength train the right way, follow these simple tips!
By Denise Austin, America’s Favorite Fitness Expert
Cardio workouts — walking, bicycling, running — are only part of the fitness equation. To really get and stay in shape, it’s so important to add strength training to your workouts! Strength training helps boost your metabolism, so you burn more calories even when you’re not working out. It helps you fight the loss of muscle tone and bone mass that often comes as you get older. And it firms and tightens your body, so you look even slimmer and sleeker than ever before!
But you don’t need to hit the gym or spend a fortune for fancy equipment to put together a good strength workout. Just a few simple, affordable pieces of equipment, paired with the right exercises, can help you tone and tighten every muscle in your body — right at home! Here are some of my favorite toning tips to get you started.
Consider buying resistance bands.
In addition to stretching, these strong elastic bands can be used for a variety of exercises to strengthen your legs, arms and core muscles. Because they’re so lightweight, you can carry your bands with you anywhere! I like to stick my Forever Fit resistance bands right in my purse. I just pull them out and can sneak in a quick workout anywhere, anytime!
Invest in a few hand weights.
Start small with three- to five-pound dumbbells, which can start you on the path toward a toned body. To target my arms and shoulders, I use my Forever Fit dumbbells to do target-toning upper body moves like bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, overhead presses, and the Muscle Man. Moves like these will help you sculpt a lean upper body in no time – and you’ll be ready for sleeveless shirts once the warm weather gets here!
Use your own body weight to build strength.
Some strength exercises don’t need any special equipment. Try push-ups, planks, crunches and squats to build muscle by simply using your own body weight. The bonus? Most of these exercises work out several large groups of muscles, including that all-important core, so you’ll reap multiple body benefits.
Build your strength with regular workouts.
Strength training isn’t a one-time-only event! Plan to add some toning exercises to your routine about three times a week; start with twice per week if you’re new to exercising. Don’t forget to take time off — your body needs a day of rest between toning workouts to allow your muscles time to heal.
Intensify your workout every week to keep seeing results.
To start, aim to do three sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise — so a total of 30 crunches or bicep curls, for example. After a while, your muscles will get used to those three — or five-pound weights, and you’ll need to kick it up a notch. Try increasing the number of repetitions or the amount of weight you use every week, and you’ll keep yourself feeling challenged and seeing results!
Don’t worry about looking like a body builder.
Many women worry that strength training will give them bulky muscles, but you don’t have to worry. Unless you are specifically training to get that body-builder physique, strength training will simply give you a toned and defined body. You’ll lose the jiggle and look fit and feminine, I promise!
Written for Rite Aid by DeniseAustin.com
Before beginning any exercise regimen, talk to your doctor. And, if you’re cleared to exercise, pick up Forever Fit by Denise Austin home-fitness equipment from Rite Aid.