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Have you ever been stuck in a weight loss plateau?
You’ve been doing all the right things… You’ve been eating whole foods and consistently adding cardio into your routine, but the numbers on the scale just won’t budge. Why? It may be because you're missing one crucial component—strength training.
Spoiler alert—cardio can be counterproductive
Variety is the spice of life, and our body's feel the same way. Using cardio as your only form of exercise can shrink your waistline, BUT without weight training, it'll leave you with a soft, less shapely physique. Say whaaaat?! You mean, all that time on the treadmill may actually be doing a disservice?
A quick breakdown without getting too nerdy: Cardio burns calories (and fat). It's good for your heart and overall health. PRO!! But without strength training, long, drawn-out cardio can be counterproductive and cause you to lose muscle mass too (enter the soft, less-shaply look). CON!!
So what can you do to burn fat AND build definition? Find balance between the two, along with proper nutrition. By focusing on strength while incorporating some cardio, you'll achieve faster results in a much more sustainable way. (Simply put, you'll achieve that bodacious bod you've been aiming for.)
How much strength training is necessary to see results?
Your strength workouts should focus on MAXIMUM muscle growth. You can do this by performing 3-5 sets of 12-15 reps per exercise (like the workout below). The even better news, you can see results with as little as two 20-30 minute sessions per week.
A simple strength workout you can get in at home
If you aren't sure where to begin when it comes to strength training (or you just want a great workout to follow), start with the workout below!
All you need is a set of heavy and light weights. (Pro tip: Keep your weights under your bed, so you can grab them and get in this quick workout first thing or after work 2-3 times a week.) A warm up and cool down are not included, but both are recommended.
- You'll need: a set of heavy (generally between 5 and 15 pounds) and light weights (between 2 and 7 pounds)
- Each round is done 3 times
- 20 Deadlifts (heavy weights)
- 20 Alternating Reverse Lunges (one heavy weight held chest height)
- 10 Bent Over Rows (heavy weights)
- 10 Overhead Presses (heavy weights)
- 10 Chest Presses (heavy weights)
- 12 Bent Over Chest Fly (light weights)
HIIT Workouts At Home
If you don't have access to a gym or weights at home, HIIT workouts are another great way to build muscle by using your body as resistance (rather than weights).
Any of our FfL at-home HIIT routines work wonders. Each workout uses a combination of cardio and strength exercises, and is designed to maximize your weight loss by burning the most calories in the shortest period of time. You can explore our free workouts HERE. If you want to maximize your results with a structured program, our Challenges and Cycles are a great next step.
Moral of the story
At the end of the day, switching things up may be all you need to jumpstart your slimdown, boost your metabolic rate and start losing weight again. Aim to incorporate cardio AND strength into your weekly routine 2-3x a week. A busy woman bonus: you won't have to wash your hair after strength training like you do after a sweat soaked cardio sesh (hello, time saver!).
Let's achieve shapely - together!
Cheers to a healthy lifestyle and living FULLforLife!
xo, Pam & Kalie
P.S. In addition to being active, you just can’t "out exercise" a poor diet. If your eating habits are holding you back from overcoming your weight-loss plateau, set yourself up for success by cutting out processed foods with these doable and realistic steps. Read more HERE.