Everyone on the quest to lose weight and tone up wonders if there is a secret weapon out there.
Registered dietician and personal trainer Tiffani Bachus says there is an often-overlooked element that could be the key to slimming down: strength training.
According to Bachus, strength training, also referred to as weight or resistance training, was once thought of as a workout done only by bodybuilders, leaving most women fearful they'd "bulk up" if they began lifting weights.
The likelihood that this will happen is pretty slim, as women do not have the amount of testosterone in their bodies to support such a physical adaptation, Bachus says.
So why add strength training?
A regular weight training program creates more metabolically active muscle tissue, and the more active muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolism 24/7.
Bachus says, the more muscle mass you have, the more your body taps into body fat for fuel around the clock, and as a result, your waist size will start to shrink.
So how do first-timers begin a regimented program aimed at burning that nagging belly fat?
A good workout program includes strength training three days a week. If you are just starting out, Bachus advises that you find a certified personal trainer to work with for a few sessions. It’s important to learn how to properly and safely lift weights (no injuries, please!), as well as learn what exercises are best for each muscle group. Once you feel confident, then you can continue doing it on your own.
Bachus offered five key tips for mastering your own strength training program:
1) Start with a comprehensive total body workout to include all key muscle groups.
2) Repeat each lifting exercise set at least three times; one exercise set should consist of roughly 8-15 repetitions. Example: a set of bicep curls is done 8-15 times (repetition) and is repeated 3 different times (sets).
3) Give yourself time to rest in between exercises.
4) Choose a weight that you can lift for 15 reps, but feels impossible to lift by the 20th rep. If you can lift the weight 20 times with no problems, then the weight is too light for you.
5) Lifting weights should be a slow and controlled movement. Do not use momentum or rush through your workout.