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Your Fitness Tip for 2017

Kelli Gerdes, EP-C

By: Kelli Gerdes, EP-C

One of the most common goals for many of the patients we see through our Health Promotion Coaching program is “I want to lose weight.”  With over 2/3 of our population currently obese or overweight, it’s not a surprise.  And while weight loss is primarily a result of improved nutrition habits, exercise and fitness programming can and should play a part in your quest to live healthier.  Regular physical activity is the perfect medicine for preventing and managing many chronic diseases (heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, etc.).  While most people think of exercise in terms of cardio/aerobic workouts (walking, jogging, swimming, biking), resistance training is really where individuals can make significant gains in weight loss.

When we weight train, two things happen:

  1. Our bodies become more efficient in utilizing energy in our cells – therefore we are able to pull more calories (energy) into our cells for use vs. storage as fat.
  2. We increase our lean muscle mass.  Toned muscles require more energy use (calories) to stay toned resulting in an increased resting metabolism.

Many individuals are hesitant to add resistance training to their workout routines because of some common misconceptions.  So let’s disprove some of these commonly held misbeliefs:

  • MYTH 1 – I am a women, and if I strength train, I will build bulky, big muscles and lose my feminine figure.
    • TRUTH: Women and men have different hormonal make-ups.  Men generate 15-20 times more testosterone than women, making it possible for them to add bulk to their muscles at a much higher rate.
  • MYTH 2 – I don’t have access to a fitness gym and/or weight equipment.
    • TRUTH: A complete resistance training program can be completed with absolutely no equipment, just your own body weight! (Push Ups, Crunches, Squats, Lunges, etc.)
  • MYTH 3 – I don’t have time to add 60 minutes of strength training to my exercise routine.
    • TRUTH: Many times, individuals with regular physical activity can replace one of their regular workouts with a resistance training workout. It is recommended to strength train 2 to 3 times a week.  Or if you dread the thought of skipping a cardio workout, combine the two. Circuit workouts have you move from one strength exercise to the next with little to no rest, thereby increasing your heart rate similar to cardio workouts.
  • MYTH 4 – I don’t want sore muscles after my workouts.
    • TRUTH: With a balanced and moderate strength workout, soreness is not very common.  The main source of soreness for many people is not properly stretching after workouts.  Go for a walk or slow jog after lifting weights to help the lactic acid build-up dissipate.   Also drink plenty of water.  A small amount of salty foods can also decrease the incidence of muscle cramps after a workout. (Pickles!)
  • MYTH 5 – I want to lose weight, so I’ll just focus on cardio exercises.
    • TRUTH: While cardio exercises do increase caloric burn during the workout, strength training actually increases a person’s metabolism not only during the workout, but also at rest.  Who doesn’t like the idea of burning more calories just sitting on a chair because you strength trained earlier in the day!!

So if your New Year’s resolution to lose weight seems to have already faded, consider reconnecting with the goal and add strength training to your workout routine.  Not only does it help you lose weight, it helps you maintain weight loss, prevent disease, and delays the aging process, keeping you active well into your golden years!  Talk with a local personal trainer to help you build a balanced strength training program.   Love building muscle. Love your heart. Love yourself.

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