Do you incorporate strength training into your workout regimen? That can mean using your own dumb-bells, body weight, or machines at the gym. I recently added it into my plan and it has shown huge improvements in my running pace and the way I feel overall. Don’t worry ladies, you will not bulk up.
I like to change it up by using a high intensity workout DVD where they incorporate cardio and weights. You might know my favorites are from Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels. Even after (maybe) getting used to the workouts, I can always make them harder by picking up a heavier weight. I started out using 3 lb. weights and now I am up to 12’s! Squats have always been the toughest for me, but now I have the learned to love them. They make such a huge difference for everyone’s backside! If you don’t do squats, do them now. After months, I am finally starting to see changes in my inner thighs. It takes time, but if you are willing to do the work, changes can be made.
Strength training is great for beginners too. Using your body weight is a great start; burpees, push-ups and jumping jacks can be simple or as advanced as you can push yourself. Adding a tuck-jump to a burpee will really get your heart pumping.
When I can, I like using the machines at my local gym. I know for many moms this is hard to do. I only get the chance to make it in 3 times a week. That is still enough to notice changes in my body. Yes, at first it can be intimidating but after a few times you will become comfortable and just do your own thing. Listening to your own music helps me.
There are so many benefits to strength training. Here are just a few.
- It will make you faster. I am proof of that. In the past few weeks, I have increased my speed from an average of 5.3 mph to 6.5 mph. I have increased the strength in my legs and I have the endurance for long runs.
- Lose body fat. Not many people can lose fat by just doing cardio. Plus, cardio alone will bore you. High intensity training will help you lose fat and build muscle at the same time.
- Prevent injury. I learned this the hard way. I was only doing cardio and hurt my knee because I was not strong enough.
- Speed up your metabolism. Strength training tones and builds your muscles, and the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism. The higher your metabolism, the more fat and calories you burn.
- Sleep better. You will fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, and sleep longer