Feel Great

Spring Break Edition: Tone Up Without Bulking Up

by Rachel Tipovski, blogger

Many girls shy away from free weights at the gym.  Some worry about bulking up and looking manly, or that they don’t know how to use weights the right way. Maybe it just seems intimidating to go over and lift with the boys but it’s time to get over your fears!

Strength training is important to start as a young adult for a variety of reasons

  • Fight Diseases: Resistance training increases bone density fighting osteoporosis, arthritis. Additionally, weight training can improve cardiovascular health reducing the risk of heart disease as you get older. Similarly, weight training can improve the way your body processes sugar, reducing the risk of diabetes.
  • Increase Metabolism: Muscle gets your metabolism going. Ever see those girls that can eat an entire pizza and not gain a pound? That is because of their fast metabolism. Gain muscle and you can train your metabolism to eventually be just as fast. As lean muscles increase so does your metabolism helping you to burn calories all day long.
  • Look Slimmer: Muscle takes up more space than fat. More muscle + less fat = more tone. Surprisingly, cardio is the slowest way to lose weight, says fitness guru and celebrity trainer, Jackie Warner. Resistance training is the way to go. Lifting weights burn calories faster and add muscle. Warner advises concentrating on working out the bigger muscle groups like the chest, back, gluteus (butt), hamstrings and quadriceps. Bottom line: you won’t get toned if you don’t lift weights.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends strength training at least twice per week, with eight to 12 repetitions per exercise. Need some tips to start out? Click ahead for few routines from The Women’s Heart Foundation

The Bicep Curl:

  • Start with arms hanging at your sides, palms facing away from your body.
  • Keep elbows in close and curl dumbbells upward towards the shoulders.
  • Lower and repeat eight to 12 times

The Front Shoulder Raise:

  • Begin with arms hanging in front of thights,plams facing thighs
  • Raise one dumbbell straight to shoulder height, repeat and alternate armsT

The Tricep Curl:

  • Stand shoulder width apart, arm straight up in the air, keep it close to your head
  • Lower dumbbell behind head until forearm touches bicep (bend elbow towards the back of head)
  • Return to starting position and repeat with alternate arm

The biggest misconception about weight training is that you will end up looking like a body builder, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! The health benefits are too great to pass up.