Without exercising, it is difficult to maintain your weight, or even lose if that is your goal. You have to burn the same amount of calories consumed to maintain and burn more to lose weight. Exercising is the key to both.
But not all exercise is equal. The type of exercise you do, along with intensity and duration, makes a difference in the number of calories burned, both at the time you are exercising and well after. Other factors that affect the number of calories burned are age, gender and genetics – all of which you can’t do much about. So focus on the one thing that you can control – exercising.
Aerobic exercise, like cardio and endurance, are activities usually done at a slower pace, but over a longer period of time. These activities burn calories but usually focuses on burning stored fat. Walking, running, Zumba and Pilates are all types of training that fall into this category. These activities burn calories, but they are calories that the body doesn’t need to replace, so the rate at which your body is burning calories decreases once the aerobic activities stop.
However, when you engage in anaerobic-type activities – strength training activities done at a faster pace, but for a shorter duration – you are burning glucose, calories that reside deep within your muscles. This includes activities such as medicine ball throws, kettle bell swings, resistance training and heavy weightlifting. The beauty of strength training is you not only get a high calorie burn while exercising, but the burn continues afterward as your metabolism keeps working at a high rate until it has replaced the glucose that was depleted in your muscles.
The secondary effect of strength training increases the size of your muscles. Ladies, we are not talking about body building – just a toning, firming and slight increase in size. Many women are afraid to get into strength training because they think they will develop a lot of muscle. It just won’t happen; the hormone structure of your gender won’t allow it.
With a more defined muscle structure, your metabolism will work at a higher rate even while at rest and sleeping. More muscle means more glucose in your muscles which makes your metabolism work harder to keep up on the glucose used.
The downside of strength training is you can’t do it six days per week. Your body could never keep up. So a good compromise is to do a cardio activity four days per week and include a couple days of strength training. Just make sure you have a day or two between your two days of strength training.
For strength training, focus on one or two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions in each set of each of your major muscle groups: abs, glutes, quads and biceps.
Strength training gives you the most calorie burning increase, along with giving you a more defined look. When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you exude confidence.