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Shape (Singapore) - - Get Fit -

eight loss boils down to a sim­ple equa­tion: Ex­pend more calo­ries than you take in. With that, eat­ing well and do­ing car­dio is your fast track to suc­cess. But when it comes to shap­ing your body, there’s a to­tally dif­fer­ent way to get re­sults – strength train­ing.

“The num­ber on the scale is where you want it, but maybe your butt is still saggy or your tummy not quite taut. Less car­dio and more lift­ing will fix that,” says Holly Perkins, a US-based strength and con­di­tion­ing spe­cial­ist and founder of www.wom­ensstrength­na­tion. com, which inspires women to get into the weight room.

So why do less car­dio? For one thing, it is catabolic. Too much of it in­creases pro­duc­tion of the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol. Over time, it slows your me­tab­o­lism and hin­ders how your body man­ages carbs by shut­tling them around to be stored as fat. Also, car­dio doesn’t have much ef­fect on mus­cles.

Also, when you run, you do en­gage your butt and legs, but it’s not enough to break down the tis­sue prompt­ing your mus­cles to be­come stronger and firmer like weighted squats can. These point­ers will get you go­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

NEVER BE AFRAID OF MUS­CLE

You will not bulk up. Holly says, “It’s hor­mon­ally im­pos­si­ble.” Women don’t have as much mus­cle-build­ing testos­terone as men do. As a gen­eral rule, Holly rec­om­mends you lift weights that are heavy enough to al­low you to do 12 to 15 per­fect reps of any move, but no more.

“The weights you’ll be ca­pa­ble of lift­ing will never trig­ger big mus­cle growth,” she says. What it will do is make your mus­cles more metabol­i­cally ac­tive, which helps you burn more calo­ries.

“This train­ing also causes mus­cle fi­bres to swell, so they look toned,” says Holly. Dense mus­cle is tighter than fat, which is why your weight should stay the same even though you may drop a full size. There are two ways to sculpt: You can do sim­ple, iso­lated moves tar­get­ing one mus­cle or mus­cle group at a time – like a bi­ceps curl or leg ex­ten­sion – or you can do big­ger, com­pound move­ments with dif­fer­ent mul­ti­ple groups at once – like a lunge with a bi­ceps curl or dead­lift.

“The long-term goal is to fo­cus on the lat­ter for faster re­sults,” says Holly. “When I take clients from sim­ple to com­pound move­ments, I see a quick drop in body fat and bet­ter mus­cle shape.”

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