Saturday, December 31, 2011

Buff Bride Post: The Importance of Strength Training

The countdown until our wedding is now under 4 months, and preparations are kicking into high gear!  I've been working with a personal trainer at the gym in the hopes of not just getting into great shape for my walk down the aisle, but also to start my journey towards a leaner, healthier, sexier Kelly.

One thing that I've heard and read over and over and over again is the importance of strength training.  My nutritionist swears by it.  My trainer swears by it.  My doctors swear by it.  If you want to do something and have lasting change, then you simply must strength train!

Here's the deal - cardio burns calories... plenty of calories, if you're working hard enough!  However, when the cardio stops, so does the calorie burning.  If you're like me, with a metabolism so low it crawls, then you need more than cardio.  You need muscle.  How do you get muscle?  Not on the treadmill!  You get it by gaining strength - large muscle groups, circuit training, conditioning, etc.

While calorie burning stops when a cardio routine stops, it keeps going hours after a strength training routine.  According to my trainer, I continue to burn calories for approximately 10 hours after working out.  This doesn't give me an excuse to eat whatever I want (do you know how long it's been since I had McDonalds?!?!), but it does give me a justification to enjoy what I'm eating, guilt-free.

I've been working hard for about 3 months now.  I've lost only a few pounds, but taken an inch and a half off my waist alone.  My legs are leaner, my arms are getting stronger, and my back is straighter.  Results are slow (painfully slow, actually), but they have been coming.  My jeans fit better and my posture is stronger.

Boosting your metabolism is a really slow process, but it's amazing how easy it is to kill it.  Eat poorly, don't exercise, keep erratic sleeping patterns, don't stay hydrated, crash diet.  I've never been a big crash dieter, but I have gone through stages where I wasn't eating much (stress, sickness, whatever) and it's my personal theory that those moments had a bad effect.  Now I'm determined to undo them.