Run Hard When It's Hard to Run….Until You Get Hurt…

Strength Just Killed My Soul

Many women decide to only do cardio exercises because they “don’t want to get bulky.”  Admittedly, I used to be one of these people.  However, I have been recently studying Mark Lauren’s publications, and he has revealed to me how silly I was being!  Not only will strength training help you build a sleeker physique, but it will also help you maintain one, all without bulk!

There is a common misconception that cardio is the best way to burn fat.  Now, I LOVE cardiovascular exercise, so a small piece of my soul died when I heard otherwise.  Do not misunderstand me, cardio is still fantastic for you, since it increases your endurance, burns fat, and strengthens your heart; however, strength training increases your metabolism rate.  When you strength train, you build muscle (duh), and muscle increases your metabolic rate, which means you burn more calories even when you are just sitting on your bum.   Aerobic training alone can actually burn your muscle along with your fat, so while you  may burn more calories in one session than you would lifting weights, your metabolism rate stays about the same. Thus, when you do cardiovascular training, you usually burn more calories during your workout, but when you push through strength training you burn more for the next 48 hours.  That adds up!

Okay, so many ladies hear this and worry that they are going to transform into Ms. Olympia.

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Don’t be so conceited!  No matter how hard you try, you will NEVER gain that much muscle without some…err…medical assistance.  The human body does not naturally become incredibly bulky, especially for women.  Fitness Forum explains that women naturally carry more body fat than men, which prevents us from getting bulging veins in our muscles (so sorry to disappoint, for any of you radicals out there).  Kristen Fisher, a journalist for Livestrong.com, points out that testosterone is a key hormone in muscle building, and females have 20 times less testosterone than males.  So really, ladies have nothing to lose with strength training!  Increased metabolism rate without looking freakish?  What are you waiting for?!

I do not have much experience with lifting weights, and I understand that many people may find lifting intimidating.  Personally, I intend to take a weight training course next year, but not everyone has that option.  I suggest starting by working with your own body weight.  Attend a Pilates class, or buy a couple of DVDs if you do not have that option.  So far I am enjoying Mark Lauren’s Book “You Are Your Own Gym,” and if his workouts are as great as I anticipate, I will recommend them as well.  If you are complaining that your body is too heavy, then it should make some great resistance, right?

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