(For Tip #1, see yesterday’s post.)
Tip #2: Do resistance training 3 times per week.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends working all of your body’s larger muscle groups a minimum of 2 times per week. This is a minimum. For increased fat and weight loss, you must step it up a bit: try 3-4 days.
Muscle burns calories at rest—25% more calories than fat. Muscle also uses fat as its preferential fuel source along with glycogen (stored carbs), especially when you are engaging in cardiovascular activity. The more muscle definition you have, the more calories and fat you will burn while doing aerobic workouts and while sitting, standing, and even sleeping! Studies have shown that resistance training and aerobic activity together increase GH (growth hormone) levels, helping to burn more fat and to improve skin elasticity.
This combination of cardio and resistance training also decreases insulin resistance and improves blood sugar control while lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and Type II diabetes risk. Insulin overproduction, or high blood sugar, is a direct cause of fat storage and the inability to use fat for fuel.
The process known as protein synthesis, when your muscle cells are healing and forming firmness and definition, burns calories in and of itself. The full toning process can last up to 3 days. This is often marked by muscle soreness and fatigue. To build muscle, you don’t have to lift heavy weights; it is up to you and depends on your level of fitness. One recent study showed that lifting lighter weights for longer sets increased protein synthesis. If you strength train different areas of your body 3-4 days per week, you will be burning calorie constantly and making a sculpted, toned physique.
Try working the larger muscle groups of your upper body one day in a class like Upper Cuts & Abs or on the equipment. On another day, hit the lower body–glutes (buttocks), the front and back of the thighs, and inner and outer thighs. On the third day, work the whole body in a Total Body class or on the machines. Even your own body resistance is great with moves such as dips, push-ups, and squats. You can safely add abs and core training to your workouts about 3 days per week, as well. Don’t forget to stretch! You can try a yoga class for increased core and flexibility work. Whichever way you decide to break it up, fit in both resistance and cardiovascular activity to reap the most benefits as you drop those last 10 stubborn pounds!
Tomorrow: Tip #3 for Losing Those Last 10 Pounds