Although cardio burns more calories than strength training during the session, strength training has the ability to keep on melting your fat in the next 48 hours, transforming your body into a mean calorie-burning machine. So if you’ve been sweating over every piece of cardio equipment you could find for months and still have nothing to show for it, consider replacing the treadmill for some heavy weights. Studies have shown that two sessions of strength training per week can help you reduce overall body fat by about 3% in just 10 weeks – no dieting included.
This is the reason why more and more women are stepping inside the weight room and harnessing the body-shaping powers of strength training. The only problem here is that many of them are still afraid to pick up some real weights, probably because they think they would turn into She-Hulks overnight by lifting anything heavier than a pink dumbbell.
Newsflash ladies: pink dumbbells don’t build lean, firm bodies, but we know what does. Read the article below and begin training for real results!
More Muscles = Less Fat
Not only that strength training itself can help you slim down faster, but having more overall muscle mass will help you burn extra calories all around the clock. Muscle tissue is metabolically active and therefore burns more calories than fat does, even when you’re at rest. According to scientists, 10 pounds of muscle would burn 50 calories in a day spent resting.
But if you never train hard with enough weight, you’ll never get a profound training effect. So if you want to melt away your pockets of fat and get the best aesthetic results, you need to start training your body like you mean it. Forget about isolation exercises. We’re talking about the true lean body-builders here: the big, multi-joint movements that work multiple muscle groups, boost metabolism and stimulate anabolic environment. Here are some of our favorites:
- Bench Press
- Military press
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Lat Pull-Down
- One-Arm Dumbbell Row
- Bent-Over Barbell Row
We can’t go any further without first addressing the issue of intensity. Considering that each individual is unique, we can’t give you a one-size-fits-all magic formula for determining the proper intensity for your workouts. But you can easily discover that for yourself: pick up the desired weight and do a set of 8 reps. If that last rep is really hard to complete and you could only do one or two more reps, then that’s the weight you should work with. But if you know that you could have done another 4-6 reps, you need to go heavier.
Another way to boost intensity is to train in a lower rep range, such as 3-5 reps, using very heavy weights. Whatever you do, don’t forget that intensity is the key to both fat-burning and muscle-building, while staying in your comfort zone is the surest way to kill your progress.
You can choose to perform total body workouts or use a training split according to your needs and possibilities. When setting up a training split, you need to consider your experience, goals and rest and recovery needs, so that you can ensure every muscle group in your body will receive optimal stimulation and enough time to properly recover. That being said, the only training split you’ll probably ever need is the upper/lower body split, which involves training your lower and upper body on separate days. This way of training enables you to recruit loads of muscle on each training session and make better gains.
Here are some sample workouts that will give you an idea of how an optimally effective training program should look like.
Total Body Workout (High Intensity)
- BARBELL DEADLIFT: 4 x 6 reps, 60 sec. rest
- DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS: 4 x 6 reps, 60 sec. rest
- ONE-ARM DUMBBELL ROW: 4 x 6 reps, 60 sec. rest
Total Body Workout (Low Intensity)
- BARBELL SQUAT: 3 x 12 reps, 75 sec. rest
- PUSH-UPS: 3 x 12 reps, 75 sec. rest
- CHIN-UP: 3 x 12 reps, 75 sec. rest
Upper/Lower Split (Day 1)
- BARBELL SQUAT: 4 x 6 reps
- BARBELL DEADLIFT: 4 x 6 reps
- SPLIT SQUATS: 4 x 6
- PLANK: 3 sets, 30 sec. holds
Upper/Lower Split (Day 2)
- PUSH-UPS: 3 x 10 reps
- SEATED CABLE ROWS: 3 x 12 reps
- DUMBBELL SHOULDER PRESS: 3 x 8 reps
- CHIN-UP: 3 x 10 reps
And that’s how you get the most bang for your buck in the gym! Just remember to keep it simple, do as much work you can do in less time, use a variety of compound movements and include different rep ranges, and you should be sporting a fit, sexy body in no time. Good luck!