I love doing cardio activity–as long as I have my iPod to listen to music, or a TV to watch (especially during March Madness!), I can jump on a treadmill or elliptical and go forever. Strength training (a.k.a. lifting weights), however, is definitely not my strong suit. Though I’ve worked with a certified personal trainer before, it’s like I’m a newbie every time I look at weights–It can be SO overwhelming!
Strength training is super important though, so I know that I need to make more of an effort to include it in my workout routine. Adding resistance or lifting weights can strengthen bone, increase metabolism (so you burn more calories throughout the day, not just while you are exercising), promote a healthy state of mind, improve sleep quality, and prevent disease like diabetes and heart disease. And you don’t necessary have to bulk up when it comes to strength training–you can also tone and become leaner.
There are tons of options when it comes to which exercises to do and what equipment to use. In addition to the standard weight bench and bar, there are dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, as well as a variety of types of weight machines at gyms. You can also use ankle and wrist weights (and even weight vests and belts) to challenge yourself while doing cardio activity. It’s a good idea to meet with a certified personal trainer for a session or two to safely figure out where a good starting point would be for the amount of weight and number of repetitions (reps). After that you can try strength classes, routines from magazines (like Self, Fitness, Health), exercise DVDs, create a strength regimen with the help of the personal trainer…there are endless possibilities!
Last night I tried a new class that’s being offered at my local park district fitness center. It’s called CoreBar, and is a combination of cardio and strength/flexbility/balance/agility/muscle endurance, using the CoreBar. It was fun and challenging, and I’ll definitely be going back–as soon as the soreness in my shoulders and arms goes away!
How do you do strength training? What tips can you share to prevent a strength training rut?