I often meet people who are looking for a secret, magic weight-loss trick. They want to know how they can burn the most fat in the least amount of time. What do I tell them? I always give the same response: that there isn't a magical weight-loss answer. Burning fat efficiently boils down to one thing — building more muscle!
A major key to revving up your metabolism is muscle mass, which is why adding strength training to your regular fitness routine is essential. The reason? Muscles demand more energy from your body than fat does; the more muscle you add to your body, the more calories you burn throughout the day. In fact, studies show that for every pound of muscle you add, you automatically burn an extra 35 to 50 calories per day — and that's while going about your normal activities. Even at rest, muscle burns almost twice as many calories as fat.
The strength-building exercises that create muscle are also great for sculpting and toning your body! Women are often hesitant about lifting weights because they're afraid they'll look too bulked up or masculine. It's time to change that thinking! To make sure you are lifting weights the right way — whether in your gym’s weight room or at home — keep these six helpful tips in mind:
· Stand with your feet separated, with one foot slightly in front of the other, to help you balance. Throughout strength training, keep your weight evenly distributed between both feet.
· Bring the dumbbell or free weight as close to your body as possible before you lift. This will give you more control over your movements, which will help you target and tone specific muscles.
· Bend at your knees to pick up the weight, and use your leg muscles, not your back, to hoist it. Go slowly and carefully. There's no point in rushing — you don’t want to get sore before the workout has even started!
· As you lift and lower the weight, keep your movements slow and steady. And don't jerk the weight to lift it; using momentum to lift a heavy weight can cause injuries.
· Stand tall. Don't let the weight cause you to slump over or hunch your shoulders. Keep your spine straight, your chin lifted, and your shoulders relaxed as you do each move.
· If a weight is too heavy, switch to a lighter weight and work your way up! The opposite is also true; don’t spend months lifting the same super-light weights. You want to challenge your body gradually and at a steady pace.
If you keep these tips in mind, strength training will tighten and tone your body, and eventually redistribute your weight in a healthy way. Your arms and legs will feel firmer, your body will feel stronger, and you'll be burning more calories daily — even when you're sleeping. Wait — that sounds like a magic weight-loss trick to me!
Jon Morgan is a fitness expert and transformation specialist from Eastbourne ( East Sussex, UK ). Having worked with professional athletes and everyday people Jon uses his innovative techniques, education...