In addition to high intensity interval training, weight lifting is an excellent way to get rid of that stubborn excess body fat. Working your muscles is the key to firing up your metabolism; muscle contraction is the “engine” that drives fat loss. Unlike traditional cardio, strength training causes you to continue burning more calories for up to 72 hours after the exercise is over through a phenomenon called after-burn. Mechanical work with your muscles is also key for properly accessing your cardiovascular system. Your muscles follow the “use it or lose it” principle. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. You can increase the effectiveness and intensity of strength training with the super-low technique, which shortens you sessions to 12-15 minutes just a couple of days a week.
A very common problem is that people try to “run off” their excess weight. More often than not, all that running ends in failure. In order to actually access your cardiovascular system, you have to perform mechanical work with your muscles. So strength training is also an excellent cardiovascular workout.
Here are two basic terms you must understand before planning your strength training routine:
Reps: A rep (repetition) indicates one complete motion of an exercise. Be mindful of performing each rep using full range of motion
- Set: A set is a group of reps
So, if you performed two sets of 10 reps of bicep curls, this means you did 10 bicep curls, rested, then did 10 more. How many reps should you do? That really depends on your fitness level and your goals. Here are some general guidelines:
- For building strength and bulk, it’s generally recommended to do fewer than eight to 10 reps per set with heavier weights
- For tone and general conditioning, aim for 10 to 12 reps using more moderate weight
- For Super-Slow weight training, aim for only one set of 8-10 reps. You should not be able to do the last rep no matter how hard you try. If you can do 11 then increase the weight. If you can’t do 8 then decrease the weight
Regardless of how many sets you do, make sure the last rep in your set is done to failure. You want to fully fatigue that muscle in the last rep, while still maintaining control of the weight so you don’t lose your form, as this could lead to injury. As your fitness progresses, you’ll want to carry each exercise to “muscle failure”—where you just can’t complete all of the last rep. Adjust the amount of weight you use for each exercise depending on which muscles you are working. Larger muscles such as your thighs, chest, and upper back are stronger and will require a bit heavier weight. Smaller muscles, such as your shoulders and arms, require less weight.