You’ve been dieting. You’ve been doing your cardio workouts. You’ve been good, but for some reason, you’re still not happy with the way you look. You’re at or near your target weight, but you still don’t look like that picture of that guy on the wall at the gym. Now you need to start your ultimate weight training. Exercises that use weights target specific muscle groups, toning and building the muscle you have. Be aware, however, this is not spot reduction. Spot reduction doesn’t work. Dieting and aerobic exercise should have already reduced the amount of fat in your body. The goal here is to tone the muscles that are there. Here are some trouble areas you can target and the way to do it.
• Arms: Stand up straight with your feet about shoulder width apart. Grab something that weighs bout five pounds (a bag of flour in a shopping bag works well). Start with your arms above your head, weight (or bag of flour) behind your head and slowly lift up until your arms are straight up and down. This works your triceps and helps to get rid of that ‘granny flab’ between your elbow and shoulder.
• Butt and legs: Again, start with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and sit down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold this position for a few seconds if you can and rise back up. This exercise works and tightens your butt and hamstring muscles (the muscles running down the back of your legs to your knees). If you continue the squat all the way down to the ground, you can target your quadriceps (the front of your thighs).
• Love handles: Now you’ve heard of crunches, sit ups, and a hundred other exercises for abdominal muscles. You’ve probably also heard that they are useless. They are; at least for losing weight. The most effective exercise you can do for toning your abs is total body resistance training. Included in this is walking or running up hills, or some kinds of machines at a health club or gym.
The key to toning muscles is not heavy weights, but rather lower weight with a higher number of repetitions. It will do you more good to lift five or ten pounds 25 times than if you lifted 250 pounds once. There are even programs out there that show you how to lift weights quickly to raise your heart rate and get some fat reduction as well as muscle toning. It is not easy, no matter what anyone tells you. Losing weight and shaping your body is possible, but you really need to be committed to a goal. Don’t give up! You CAN make it!