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5 Reasons Why Women Should Lift Weights

There used to be a belief that women should not lift weights. The thought was women would lose the feminine look when they got “muscled up” and bulky. And yes, if you are a female bodybuilder on supplements and steroids, you won’t look much different from the men who practice the same weightlifting ideals. But you should actually be lifting weights as a woman, and here are 5 really good reasons why.

1 – You Burn More Fat

A Penn State study showed what several other research papers and number crunching fitness experts have revealed. Weight training burns 30% to 40% more fat than diet or aerobic exercise. The Penn State researchers formed 3 groups of dieters:

Those who did not exercise at all…

Dieters who exercised aerobically…

Those dieters that lifted weights as well as doing aerobic exercise…

Across-the-board, an average of 21 pounds was lost by all of the dieters. However, the weightlifting women lost almost pure fat! The dieters who did not exercise, and those that only enjoyed aerobic exercise, saw 25% of their weight loss coming from muscle. Not good.

2 – You Will Have Stronger Bones

Weight resistance training for 12 to 18 weeks delivers bone growth of 15% to 20%. Strength training with weights over time on a consistent basis makes your bones stronger and healthier. This is especially important for women, who suffer a naturally greater tendency for weaker bones and poorer bone density as they age.

3 – You Can Wear More Complementary Clothing

We have already seen that weight training is an awesome fat burner. Between the ages of 30 and 50 women lose 10% to 20% of their muscle naturally. Your body weight usually goes up during this time, in the form of fat gain. A consistent weightlifting regimen helps you regulate a healthy waist size, keeping embarrassing fat from limiting your clothing choices.

4 – You Will Adopt a Nutritious Diet

For any number of reasons, it appears that women who work out with weights frequently often improve their diet as well. It just makes sense. When you see and feel yourself becoming stronger, looking sexier and burning fat, you want to keep the process going. Not only does your body burn more calories as a result of a weight training program, but you mentally find it much easier to stick to a nutritious diet when you like the way you look in the mirror.

5 – You Will Be More Successful, Productive and Happy

When women lift weights as a part of a healthy lifestyle, they burn a lot of fat. This makes them feel good about themselves, and exercise even triggers the release of “feel good” chemicals in your brain. As a result of looking and feeling great, you begin to fuel your body with healthy food as opposed to fast food, sugary sweets and processed garbage. All of these steps combine to make you more productive because you are filled with so much natural energy. This leads to success in all areas of your life, and what woman wouldn’t be happy with that outcome?

Can Stress Slow Down the Rate at Which You Burn Fat?

Our bodies can handle a normal amount of stress just fine. However, when we are constantly over-stressed is when it begins to cause problems. And the reason is because stress throws our hormone levels out of whack.

When our body senses a “fight or flight” situation, it releases more of the hormone cortisol to help deal with the perceived situation. One of the results of increased cortisol over time is overeating. Overeating leads to weight gain which causes your metabolism to slow down, thus causing your body to burn less fat and store more.

And if you are not getting enough sleep, because you are staying awake at night worrying about the issues causing your stress that can affect your metabolism also. When you are sleep deficient, your body has a hard time metabolizing carbohydrates causing your blood sugar level to rise.

In response, your body releases more insulin to help lower your blood sugar level. To help reduce your blood sugar level, your body metabolizes your blood sugar, but because it doesn’t need to use the calories right now, it stores them as fat.

Stress not only causes you to gain weight, by not getting enough sleep and increasing your level of cortisol, but it is also slows down your metabolism – the rate at which your body burns fat. And if you are not getting enough sleep, you are more apt to be tired throughout the day and not exercise – the main way to help speed up your metabolism and lose weight.

By exercising, you burn calories at a higher rate than if you did not exercise; exercise also helps relieve stress. If you have less stress, you’ll sleep better. If you sleep better, then your body will do a better job of metabolizing carbohydrates meaning you’ll lose weight. By reducing your stress level through exercise, your body will not flood your bloodstream with cortisol, thus helping keep your appetite in check and preventing the associated weight gain.

But there is another aspect of exercising that can help you burn more calories – building muscle mass. We are not talking body-building type of muscle mass gain – just some toning and defining with a little increase in size. The amount of muscle mass you have directly affects how many calories your muscles burn day in and day out. The more muscle you have, the more calories it takes per day to keep them going, even without taking in consideration the number of calories burned through exercise.

By exercising for at least 30 minutes per day, you are also burning more calories than you would if you did not exercise. But to build muscle mass for the long-term calorie burning effect, the type of exercising you do is important.

Strength training or weight training is the best type of exercise to build muscle mass. A program of four days of cardio with two days of weight training per week is a good mix to both burn the maximum number of calories and build muscle.

The Benefits Of Short Bursts Of Intense Exercise

It has been said, “less is more.” Now recent studies are showing that when it comes to keeping fit, less can indeed be more. The concept is called High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This is exercise time, which is split up into short bursts of intensive exercise followed by rest periods. The idea is to quickly increase your heart rate then to rest for a period.

How Short Bursts of Exercise Benefit

HIIT helps the body reach its maximum capability. This is not something easily achieved by long exercise periods. Short burst of exercise gets the heart rate increased to a higher intensity and stimulates the body in ways that can’t be achieved by ‘regular’ exercising.

Therefore, these exercise periods of short bursts of intense exercise can be done by almost everyone and doesn’t necessarily require special equipment or a gym membership.

The Health Benefits

More and more studies are showing that there are definite health benefits to high-intensity interval training. Positive results have been shown in those who have type 2 diabetes and proved to be a more effective way to burn fat and lost weight.

Burns Fat

Running on a treadmill will burn fat. However, the lower intensity, which the body is working at, doesn’t have the metabolic benefits of short bursts of exercise. What happens is that when you have an intense burst of exercise you create an oxygen debt. To recover from this (during the rest period) the body will have to use energy. Therefore, you keep burning fat when you are resting. This also increases the body’s metabolism.

All exercising increases the levels of the hormone cortisol. What cortisol does in the body is to break down muscle and stall fat loss. Therefore, although you are burning energy, you aren’t necessarily losing a lot of fat. Unlike regular exercising, short bursts of exercise raise muscle-building hormones (anabolic) and human growth hormones resulting in more fat being burned that with regular exercising.

Therefore, short bursts of exercise together with rest periods boost the body’s immunity, reduce inflammation, and stimulate fat burning properties.

Improves Heart Health

A study on teenagers in England found that short bursts of exercise could help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes in later life. It showed improvements in how the brain controls heartbeats and in the function of blood vessels. In adults, it was noted that heart structure was improved.

Type 2 Diabetes

Many studies now show that High-Intensity Interval Training helps type 2 diabetes suffers to control blood sugar more effectively than ‘traditional’ exercising. One study in Canada reported that participants who, over a three month period, we subject to HIIT regime showed a larger reduction in cholesterol and blood sugar levels, their heart health was better and in general lost more weigh.
It was also noted that it was easier for people to incorporate a high-intensity exercising schedule into their weekly routine and therefore were more willing to continue the exercise program.

Why Short Bursts Of Exercise Can Benefit Everyone

It seems from various studies that even shorter ‘burst exercise’ periods of under a minute or so can also have significant health benefits. This means that most people will be able fit HIIT into their schedule.

For many it is also a more enjoyable form of exercise. Endurance exercise – running for half an hour or so on a treadmill can be physically and mentally draining for many. Others just don’t have the time to go to the gym 2 or 3 times a week.

Some have used the excuse that they’ve “no time for exercise.” Studies into the benefits of short bursts of exercise have shown the all find the time to keep themselves fit and healthy.

How HIIT Could Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a fairly new concept where you perform an exercise at a very high intensity for a short duration of time and then switch to a lower intensity for a longer period of time. You keep up this cycle until you reach your total training time goal – usually 15 to 30 minutes. Add in 45 minutes of strength training two to three times per week and you have an exercise routine that is proven to bring these main benefits.

Burn fat

HIIT is one of the fastest ways to burn off excess fat – especially belly fat. Traditional cardio training tends to release too much cortisol into your system – a hormone that promotes fat storage. But HITT keep cortisol release low.

Improve muscle tone

By mixing high intensity cardio moves with lower intensity strength training, you can build and tone muscles. For example, do jumping jacks as fast as you can for 30 seconds; then switch to lunges at a slower rate for 30 seconds. Keep up this cycle for 10 minutes with a 1-minute break between each cycle.

Build endurance

Because HIIT involves both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, you build endurance faster than with traditional cardio training. To prove this point, look no further that a recent study in Ontario Canada where one group of people did HIIT 3 times per week for 2 weeks for a total of 9 minutes.

The control group did the same training 3 times per week also, but for a total time of 5 hours. At the end of the study, each group had slightly improved their endurance – one group with only 9 minutes of exercise verses the second group with 5 hours of exercise.

Increase energy

After doing HIIT for a while, you’ll see an increase in your energy level. This is because high intensity training allows the mitochondria in your cells to make more energy and to work mor efficiently. To make the extra energy, it has to metabolize more fat, which helps you lose weight not only while you are exercising, but for hours afterward.

You can create a HIIT program without any equipment. For example, you could run for a total of 3 miles alternating between all out sprints and brisk walking. Or run up a 100-step flight of stairs and walk back down over the course of 10 minutes. Include options at a gym and the possibilities are endless.

Regardless of your fitness goal, HIIT training can help you achieve it quicker with less time spent training.

Top 7 Strength Training Myths Debunked

The Internet is a wonderful thing. It has made information available to anyone, anywhere and at any time. But a lot of the information found out there comes from unreliable sources. And sometimes the things you read about strength training and weight lifting have no basis in fact. Refuse to believe these common 7 strength training myths.

1 Strength training and weight lifting are bad for your joints

Cardiovascular exercises like jogging and running can be absolute nightmares for your knees and ankles. But strength training and weight lifting is much less stressful on your joints than most cardio activities.

2 Strength training hurts your flexibility

This is one of those strength training myths that needs a 180 degree about-face. Strength training helps you regain your youthful flexibility and maintain it. And increasing muscle growth and strength will never reduce your flexibility.

3 Strength training doesn’t burn fat

Not only is this myth wrong, the opposite is true. A pound of muscle burns 10 to 20 more calories per day than a pound of fat.

4 Muscle turns into fat after disuse

Strength Training Myths Debunked

Essential Equipment for At Home Body Building

Just plain untrue. Why in the world would anyone ever strength train if their improved muscle mass turned to flabby fat when they stopped working out? Muscle tissue can not become fat tissue, and vice versa.

5 Strength training makes women look bulky

Women do not contain the natural levels of testosterone high enough to deliver the female bodybuilder look without taking supplements. What strength training does give women is a tight, toned figure and the most efficient fat burning exercise with the least amount of time invested.

6 Strength training and weightlifting is only for young people

Strength training benefits men and women of all ages. As long as your doctor gives you his blessing, you can strength train at any age.

7 Low weights and high repetitions create muscle definition and tone

This strength training myth became very popular in the 1990s. But consistently increasing the amount of weight you train with in just 8 to 10 rep sets is proven to deliver the best muscle strength, tone and definition.