This is probably one of my all time favorite topics. I love trying to help people determine what will help them get into the BEST shape of their life. Whether you have no weight to lose and want to tone up, or lose 100lbs, you should follow a few basics in order to determine what works best for you. Bottom line is this…if you have been doing the same program for a while now with the same results, you may need a change.
#1. Do you put muscle on easily? I do NOT fit into the “puts muscle on easy” club. I have always been one of those people that even when I lift, I still look a little “softer.” This is good and bad. It’s good because I really didn’t “bulk up” in college when I was lifting my heaviest. It’s bad because I have to work harder to gain muscle when I want it. If you fall into either category you may need to alter the amount of weight you are lifting to get the results that you want.
#2. What look am I going for? I am not in competition. I don’t want to look like a body builder. But, I do want to look lean and toned. I want to look feminine, but strong. A nice balance would be ideal. If you know what your goals are then you will have a better idea to what you need to do to get there. If I decided in question #1 that I put muscle on easier and I want to bulk up then lifting heavy is what I need to do. Or if I want the more feminine and “cut” muscles then I need to lift lighter weights for higher repetition. Now, what’s funny about that is that I am not a muscle girl. So I can lift heavier in order to get the right amount of toned.
#3. Cardio vs. Resistance Training? If you have been following this blog for a while you know my stance on this. Though I love to go out for a nice run every now and then, running, or plain cardio is NOT the best route if you are trying to cut fat and tone your body. It just isn’t. Your body needs muscle to burn fat. That is just the science of it. Any way you slice it, to get the best out of your workouts to burn fat you MUST put on muscle. If it weren’t the case every episode of Biggest Loser would look the same. They would diet and get on the elliptical machine and treadmill. You see them on the ground, moving their bodies around, and lifting things the majority of the time am I right?? Cardio isn’t the key. Get out of your comfort zone and try something with resistance training or weights.
Let me show you a few pictures that really caught people’s eye recently. On the left I was only running. I ran like 4 times a week for about 30 to 40 minutes. On the right is my “after” picture where I have done mostly resistance training. Weight lifting, yoga, and circuits have gotten me to the body on the right. I really only do “cardio” one day a week.
#4. It HAS to be fun. You don’t always have to be miserable during your workouts. One of the biggest misconception about working out is that it’s torture. You are in control over what workouts you do. I get a lot of clients that tell me how much they love Zumba. That is a great and fun workout!!! I’ve tested out Zumba classes, however for me it just wasn’t enough. I struggled with some of the moves and it was hard for me to get my heart rate up. Luckily, there are other options out there if “dance” is your thing.
***The best way to cut fat is always to improve your diet, but when you are done dieting you want their to be something fabulous for everyone to see. And that is NOT the look of loose skin. Putting muscle on as you diet is the absolute key.
Now, here are a few programs that I recommend. These are workouts I have PERSONALLY tested out and loved. These are great workouts for STRENGTH and TONING!!!!! They will help you cut the fat!
Les Mills PUMP
***This is basically an at-home version of “Body Pump” barbell class that is common at the gym. If you’ve never tried a body pump class you need to get to a gym and try this out immediately. You will be hooked. It is an amazing way to SCULPT your body and feel strong again. I really love that you can determine how much weight to use too. This makes it a workout for anyone. If you are in either group, the one that puts muscle on easy or the one that struggles, you can alter your workout accordingly. Those muscle builders can put a light amount of weight on the bar. Those that need to go heavier can do that too. The main attraction to Les Mills PUMP is the “rep effect.” You get a ton of reps in during the workout. This is the workout that has changed my body.
***I like this workout as a start up to those new to lifting weights. The way that Chalene Johnson breaks it down into three phases is amazing. Burn, Push & Lean are the three phases that help you get the sculpted look you are after.
***If dancing is your thing this workout combines Dance moves with kickboxing in an intense, but forget that you are working out type of atmosphere. Another Chalene Johnson program and one of my all time favorites.
Jackie Warner DVDs
***Two of my favorite workouts. They are quick and effective. The downside is that it’s not a “program” so you are doing the same thing OVER and OVER again. But, still a great piece to put into your collection.
If you ever have questions about what workouts will work the best for your body type just ask. Not everyone is the same. Not everyone LIKES the same things. Do your research and see what is available. Know your goals and you will be more successful!