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Why Add Strength Training to Your Fitness Plan?

By Lisa Spodak (ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com)
Provided by WorldNow

Week 24 Weigh In:

Change this week:  -4.5 lbs.
Change overall:  -50.5 lbs.

I’m thrilled with my weigh-in this week!  I’ve finally “officially” hit my 50 pound milestone and feel like I’ve busted through a little bit of a plateau… even if the plateau was more psychological than physical.

I was pretty good about not weighing myself constantly last week – finally giving in to a mid-week check on the scale on Saturday.  I’m going to try to stick to a twice per week schedule.

Along with the weight loss, I am going through a new and interesting process of discovering my body as the pounds drop.   

For a long time, I was just concerned that I was “big” and focused on finding any clothes that would fit.  Forget worrying about outfits that would actually flatter me or make me look good – I was just looking for things that wouldn’t make me feel conspicuous and look even bigger than I was.

Now that I’ve lost some significant weight, I feel like I’m emerging out of a shell and have started to notice specific things that I like and dislike about my body.

Likes:  I’m well proportioned and carry my weight well (a lot of people have a hard time believing I still have about 100 pounds to lose).  I’m curvy and probably always will be.  I can actually see that I have a collarbone again!

Dislikes:  I have flabby upper arms.  My hips are very wide and I wonder if I’ll ultimately discover I have a pretty drastic pear shape.  I’m discovering a lot of stretch marks.

I’m actually not too concerned with most of the dislikes… they are what they are and I’ll deal with them.  And no matter what, as I continue this journey, I’ll look and feel better every day than I did the day before.

But my desire to attack those flabby arms got me talking with my Sunday personal trainer, Mark* (I see Steve on Wednesdays).

The way Mark explains it, focusing on losing weight in a particular part of the body, or spot reduction, is not really feasible.  “The body will burn fat for energy when the calories from food eaten are less than the total calories being used,” he explains.  “But there is no way to direct where the body is going to take the fat from.”

“Doing endless crunches to get rid of unwanted abdominal fat is inefficient
at best and a borderline waste of time at worst.  But what you can do is add
muscle to specific areas to balance out a physique,” he says.

The game changes once you’ve gotten rid of a lot of your body fat.  At that point, Mark explains that there are certain training principles that can be used to deepen the separation of the muscles.

Despite the limitations of spot reduction, Mark is a big proponent of strength training and asserts that there is an important place for it in a weight loss plan.

Here are some of the benefits he points out regarding adding strength training to your fitness program:

  • Versatility
    A well designed strength training program can train your core, your cardiovascular system, and your balance.
  • Efficiency
    Strength training done in a circuit (several exercises back to back)
    allows you to get a cardio workout with the added bonus of using more
    muscles then cardio machines (hence more calories burnt overall).
  • Increased bone density
    This is particularly important in helping women ward off osteoporosis.

So, while the flabby arms will probably continue to feel like the bane of my existence, it’s heartening to know that I can at least add muscle so they’re a bit more toned.  And even if I may not be able to target my “problem” areas the way I want to, every exercise is burning calories and helping me reach my overall goals.

*Mark Fisher, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer


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