Weight training (also called strength training) is essential to fat loss. Weight training increases the rate of fat loss – even if you don’t do any additional cardio exercise. Increasing your muscle percentage boosts your metabolism in the long run, which helps you burn more calories every day – with no additional effort.
Although cardio burns more calories during exercise, strength training burns more calories throughout the day. Women who do weight training burn up to 100 calories more in the ensuing 24 hours, compared to women who do not do weight training. Weight training will build muscle, which unlike fat is metabolically active and burns calories even when you’re at rest. Weight training also allows you to target your trouble spots. Depending on your body type, you might carry more fat on your upper body or lower body – weight training allows you to lose inches on your trouble spots quickly.
Weight training can be done easily and efficiently without any extra equipment. Some of the best strength training exercises are:
- Squats -
Squats are easy to do and work your hamstrings, glutes and quads at once.
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, feet angled slightly outwards. Slowly bend your knees and move your upper body towards the floor, as if you were about to sit down. Remember to keep your upper body straight and your abs pulled in. Do not go lower than 90 degrees.
Do 12 – 16 reps of this move.
- The Plank
The plank is a move used commonly in pilates and yoga, that strengthens your core. This move works your abs, arms, legs and back. It also works your inner abdominal muscles.
Lie down flat (face down) on a mat, with your elbows resting on the floor near your chest. Push your body off the floor into a push-up position, with your body resting on your elbows and hands. Contract your abs and make sure your body stays in a straight line. Hold the position for at least 30 – 60 seconds, and try to increase this time.
Repeat as many times as you can.
Beginners can start this move on their knees and gradually work up to balancing on their toes.
- Push ups
Push ups are compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups. When you do push ups, you strengthen your chest, abs, triceps and back.
Lie face down on the floor, balancing on your knees/toes and hands. Your hands should be wider than your shoulders, and your body should be in a straight line. Make sure your abs are pulled in. Slowly lower your body by bending your arms. Stop when your arms are bent to 90 degrees, then push back up.
You can also do a number of strength training exercises that are specific to body parts like abdominal crunches, bicep and tricep curls. Strength training exercises can help you lose fat from your trouble areas easily.
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