When you are dieting and trying to lose weight, you’re probably already taking your cardio exercise pretty seriously. Getting at least 30 minutes per day of cardio, at least five days per week, is the perfect start to helping you burn fat and slim down. However, it shouldn’t be the only thing you are doing. Add lifting to your fitness routines to take your weight loss to the next level.
Benefits of Lifting
Lifting weights helps you lose weight in three key ways. First, it’s another way to burn calories, not only while you’re exercising, but also in the “afterburn” time immediately after you stop exercising. Second, muscle cells require more energy for basic metabolic function than fat cells, so every pound of muscle you add increases the baseline calories your body burns. Third, the more muscle you build, the more effective your cardio workouts will be because you’ll be able to go faster.
Preparing to Get Started
If you’ve never lifted weights before, it’s normal to feel apprehensive about it. However, lifting is actually easy to get started, and you’ll be surprised by how much your strength increases. Start by investing in a pair of dumb bells and an exercise ball, which allow you to set up a simple weight lifting routine to target the major muscle groups. In particular, focusing on your back and core will help you enhance your cardio activity to take your weight loss to the next level.
Example Weight Lifting Circuit
The best way to start weight lifting is to develop a circuit of exercises that you complete several times each week. Do 10 repetitions of each activity before moving on to the next one. Once you’ve completed the whole circuit three times, your workout for the day is done.
- Dumb bell lunges: Hold a dumb bell in each hand and lunge forward, alternating legs, across a long space.
- Dumb bell dips: Hold a dumb bell in each hand on the floor, with your feet extended in front of you. Dip down as you alternate pulling one leg toward you in a crunch movement.
- Hamstring curl: Lie on the floor and rest your calves on a stability ball, then raise your hips and pull the ball toward you until your feet are flat on it.
- Stability ball jackknife: Get in a push-up position with your shins balanced on a stability ball, then bend and extend your knees to roll the ball toward you and push it back out.
- Balance squats: Stand with a dumb bell in each hand and one foot resting on a chair behind you. Squat down as you extend your arms straight out to the side, then come back up to a standing position.
- Backwards lunge to kick: Hold a dumb bell in each hand and lunge backwards. When you come back up, kick the leg that was back straight forward and press the weights above your head.
You’ll probably be sore after your first day of weight training, but you’ll quickly start to see benefits. Give yourself at least 48 hours between weight training workouts and do cardio instead. As you feel comfortable with the circuit of exercises, you can look into adding even more to further tone your muscles.
Thomas is a fitness enthusiast with a love for writing. In his spare time, he enjoys blogging on behalf of Sears and other brands.