Try More Weights for a Smaller Size

Many people shy away from weight training when they want to slim down. They’re usually afraid of getting large, bulky muscles. But the truth is, weight lifting will actually make your body leaner.

The confusion may come from the fact that lean muscle actually does weigh more than fat, and when most people start a diet or exercise program, they’re looking to see the number on the scale go down. However, the benefit to gaining muscle is that it burns more calories than fat, which is why it’s such a great workout for slimming down.

Another benefit is that you can target specific problem areas, such as your legs, core, chest and back, or shoulders and arms.

Working out 3-4 times per week is plenty for a basic weight training program, but always be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.

Here are a few examples to get you started:

For each exercise, try doing 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 8 reps using 5-pound to 10-pound weights.

Front Squat
Stand with feet slightly apart (but not wider than hips) and a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand. Bend elbows so the dumbbells are at your shoulders. First, bend at the knees but keep your back straight, and lower yourself as if sitting on a bench (hips should be slightly below your knees). Next, keeping the dumbbells on your shoulder, return to a standing position.

Plank and Rotate
Lie on the floor in a plank position with a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand. Your feet should be apart, but only slightly wider than your hips. First, grasp the dumbbell and raise your left hand toward the ceiling, twisting your torso and rotating your pelvis as you raise your arm. Next, lower your arm back to the starting position. Repeat these steps with your right arm to complete 1 set.

Chest and Back
Floor Press (chest)
Lie on your back with a dumbbell in each hand, and place both feet flat on the floor. Your arms should be bent with the dumbbells near your shoulders and your elbows resting on the floor. First, straighten your arms, pushing the dumbbells toward the ceiling. Next, bring your arms back down, returning to the starting position.

Bent Over Row (back)
Stand with feet slightly apart and two dumbbells on the floor just in front of your feet. First, bend at the waist (keeping your back flat) and grasp the dumbbells (one in each hand). Next, with your upper body remaining bent forward, lift the dumbbells upward until the upper arm is just beyond horizontal, and then lower them to the starting position.

Shoulders and Arms
Shoulder Press (shoulders)
Stand with your elbows bent and holding dumbbells at your shoulders. First, keeping your elbows tucked in and your shoulders relaxed, push weights upward, straightening your arms overhead. Next, lower your arms back to the starting position.

Incline Biceps Curls (arms)
Sit on a bench or sturdy chair with a dumbbell in each hand and your arms at your sides (keep palms facing inward). First, bend arms at the elbow, curling both dumbbells upward until they reach your bicep. Next, slowly return to the starting position.

Give it a try
If you’re ready to slim down for the summer months, it’s time to give weight training a try. Just remember to check with your doctor first, and always warm up before your workout and be sure to stay hydrated.

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Training Intensity

One of the most important factors in any type of muscle and weight lifting training is intensity. Beginners to muscle and weight training must always adhere to low levels of intensity and progressively adopt new and higher levels of intensity as they experience the results that they are trying to achieve. Once you have achieved higher levels of intensity in your training you should always focus on keeping a consistent muscular development with this same training intensity, otherwise the results that you have experienced will start to deteriorate over the long run. Keeping an adequate balance of training intensity can be effectively achieved by practicing the following strategies and techniques.

The first step in the process of training intensity is to appropriately understand the exact definition of high intensity training and overtraining. There exists a very important threshold between high intensity training and overtraining. In basic terms, training at high intensity levels simply means to reach for the maximum potential within yourself while lifting weights, accelerating your rest periods and experiencing the fatigue to a healthy yet optimal level. Overtraining on the other hand refers to the process of surpassing the maximum potential of strength to the point where muscle development, toning and other beneficial effects are reversed and the opposite occurs, damaging muscle tissue and feeling restless without the desire to obtain higher levels of intensity and benefits.

Due to these reasons, it is very important for you to have a proper balance by augmenting your training intensity to levels where you feel comfortable and feel that you are doing so in a very healthy manner. Once you have determined this level and balance of intensity and training, the next step is to increase intensity through more repeated sets in a short period of time. Doing more sets is simply engaging yourself to increase the number of repetitions that you do in each weight training exercise. Always remember to increase progressively as you experience more results and feel comfortable in doing so.

Another important factor in training intensity is the proper negative balance and interval sets that provide intensity of effort and intensity load. These involve doing several repeated sets of intense training intensity over a short period for time and then continuing to do low level intensity reps for a prolonged period of time, repeating the cycle for several minutes until the point of muscle fatigue and pain starts to kick in. Emphasizing your level of muscle training by lifting weights and counting for at least six seconds is the best way to augment the greatest amount of effort and an intense workout session where your muscles develop to tremendous levels of prolonged intensity and growth overtime.

Moving our discussion now to aerobic exercise, it is highly recommended to adhere to aerobic exercises that emphasize a high intensity training level as cardiovascular exercises, such as jogging, running, swimming or bicycling. A high intensity training period of this kind can be effectively achieved when these types of exercise are done for at least 30 minutes 3 to 5 days per week; especially when you are breathing heavily and you feel fatigued after a session.

High-intensity training involves short but repeated bursts of running or cycling activities, some of the best steps to effectively undergo this process are explained in detail below:

  1. Use a ten minute period to warm up, cycling or doing any kind of aerobic activity at a slow pace where your heart rate begins to slowly increase.
  2. Cycle through the activity at least up to 85% of the overall maximum effort that you can undergo, this will give you the chance to increase each interval that you do in a very effective manner. Try your best to repeat this cycle for at least 5 times.
  3. Once you finish the cycle repetitions, you have to recover yourself at a slower pace as you have effectively done so in step 1. Let your body rest a little bit at a slow pace.
  4. Cycle once again for fifteen to thirty seconds and rest for twenty seconds. Cycle through this step at least 10 times in order to effectively gain results.
  5. Rest once again as in step one and continue the entire steps 1-5 that we have just mentioned.

These strategies are directly focused on helping you achieve your maximum potential in the long term through direct high intensity training levels. Do not underestimate the power that you can have as an individual to achieve these strategies in a very effective manner. Keep in mind that working hard and maintaining the discipline needed in a high-intensity training environment is one of the best ways to obtain your desired level of strength or fitness.

Some of these benefits include but are not limited to changing your body shape, losing weight, losing total body fat and toning muscle tissue. In the long run, you will experience other potential benefits such as the expansion of your muscle tissue, muscle growth and development, a higher self-esteem and a wide variety of health effects that are desired by many people around the world.

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Weight loss plateau-Solution #3

I’ve covered some food issues in my previoius posts on overcoming a weight loss plateau.  Now let’s tackle your weight loss plateau from an exercise perspective.

When you become a regular exerciser, your body does what it’s good at–it adapts.  If you do the same workout routine and the same cardio routine day in and day out, it becomes easier to do, right?  Your body has become more efficient.  


I like to use a car analogy to illustrate this:  A well-tuned car burns less fuel at a particular speed than a car that’s out of whack.  Same with your body. That’s one of the few negative aspects of exercise as it relates to weight loss.  You perhaps huffed and puffed when you ran, say, 3 miles for the first time, and now you’re in better shape and can do it easily.  You’re also probably burning a few less calories now during those three miles than you did when you first started running.  Dang.

But hang on.  I have a solution:  

Mix up your strength and cardio workouts

Stop doing the same old thing all the time!  I think the best way to shake up your workout is to do interval training.  I talk a lot about interval training here at the this blog, so I’m not going to go into detail about it here (seek out previous posts and workouts listed in the archives).

Other ideas to shake up your workout:

-If you’re a treadmill exerciser or an outdoor runner, run hills or put your treadmill on an incline.

-If you are a spinning enthusiast, get off the bike and go for a run.

-If you’re a swimmer, get out of the pool and pick a land-based cardio workout.

-If you’re a Zumba groupie, try a step class.

-Re-vamp your strength workout by changing the exercises you do or the angle at which you do them.

-Change other parameters of your strength workout each month:  Sets, repetitions, rest periods or the weight you lift.

Keep your body guessing and adapting—don’t get complacent with your workouts.


If you shake up your routine, you’re sure to shake up your plateau!


Committed to your success,