Thursday, January 8, 2009

How to burn more calories at the gym

Ladies I am going to say this again but I am still a big believer that you should master following your daily points before you add working out to your list of things to do. Too many new things and changes means another failed diet and another year of unfulfilled out resolutions.
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I know though that some of you are ready to start working out, or won't take my word for it so, here is my two cents on how to make the biggest impact there.
When I go to the gym I warm up by running and walking on the treadmill for half an hour. I am just starting to run and can't really make it the full hour that I would like to. When I started I would be immediately exhausted if my heart rate got above 150, now I can go much higher than that without having to stop or slow down. My heart rate monitor has taken my time at the gym to the next level, I no longer coast. I watch so many people get on a machine and never even break a sweat. If your machine can check your heart rate do it every 5 or so minutes and make sure that you are at least in the fat burning range if not higher. (most machines will have a chart) If you are using an elliptical machine use the arms, they are there for a reason and you will burn more calories. You should not be able to carry on a conversation like you normally would, you should be breathing hard enough that it would be uncomfortable. I use a polar running heart rate monitor and love it. It has a strap that goes around my chest and sends constant reading to my watch. It even links to the machines at the gym so that I don't have to watch my watch.
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I try to lift weights a few times a week. I use the circuit machines and divide it by upper body and lower body. I start on the machine that works the biggest muscles, this way I can give it my best effort. I don't want to fatigue myself by lifting the smallest muscle that won't make a huge impact. When I am lifting upper I do rows first because it builds my back (think less back fat!). This is the machine where you extent your arms in front of you and pull them back, focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together when do you this. When I am lifting lower I do leg press because it really works all of your leg and butt!
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Before I give you further advice I am going to share how using it has changed my body. I am a lists girl and took measurements before I started lifting and two weeks later. These two weeks I was not a gym rat either just a girl starting to work out. I lost 1/2 an inch in both arms, 3/4 of an inch in my waist, 3/4 of an inch from my stomach, a full inch from my butt, my legs didn't change in measurement but that shelf below my butt definitely went down! These may not seem like a lot but they say that 1 inch is a size and this is only after two weeks.
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I share all of this with you because what I am about to write will most likely go against everything you have ever been told. I am guessing most of you lift 5 lbs and do more reps so that you tone and don't get bulky. There is no such thing as toning a muscle, only building it. If this is the case forget everything you have been taught as hard as that is. I didn't lose inches from doing this I lost them from lifting heavy weights. My goal is to find the biggest weight that I can lift and do that 8 to 10 times before I have completely fatigued the muscle I am working. I keep up my heart rate this way and I am in and out fast. My heart rate is higher during my lifting time then when I am doing my best on the treadmill. I am burning more calories and by building muscle I will be burning calories after my workout is done unlike when I am doing my cardio. Also remember to do slow controlled movements, let the muscle do the lifting not momentum.
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I know that this may be so different than everything you have been taught but next time you are at the gym look at who is lifting heavy weights and who is lifting 5 lbs. The ones I see lifting 5 lbs are the super heavy ones who look like it is their first trip to they gym. The ones who are pushing themselves are skinny and have the body you are "working" to get when you are barely making a dent with your 5 lbs.
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I know that you are still scared of getting bulky but think about sitting at home on the couch after a great workout. How great would it be to still be burning calories because you built muscle at the gym. Also know that women won't build muscle like men do, we are missing the testosterone that allows them to. The body builder women who look like men do because they have been taking steroids. They also are spending hours a day at the gym. The women with the skinny arms that we want have muscle that is making them look skinny.
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Because of this I burn around 8 to 14 points at the gym every time I go. This is only counting the time that I spend there not the extra calories I will burn because of my extra muscle.
I hope all of this make sense to you. Please feel free to leave any questions you may have for me as a comment.
I get this information from what I have seen but most importantly from my husband who has a health and exercise science degree and is the fitness coordinator for his fire department. He spends all of his free time reading everything he can get his hands on about working out.

5 comments:

  1. Love it!! Good job!! I'll keep that in mind for my next trip to the gym tomorrow!

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  2. I do have a question...if you burn 8 to 14 points at the gym, do you then need to put those points back in your body?

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  3. I completely agree!! This is a great post!! Lifting bigger weights is key!! It should be tough to do. Not easy! It makes me so mad to see people barely sweating and not breathing hard. I am about to die everytime I run and lift! :) I wish we could be workout partners :)

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  4. This is exactly true! My hubby is an amatuer body builder and he's always reminding me about this. The only thing he would suggest differently is to actually make your warm-up shorter (only about 5 min.), then do your weight trianing, THEN do your cardio. You do this so you get your heart rate up while you're doing weight training, already burning the calories that are just sitting there, so when you get on the treadmill, you get to FAT burning faster.

    Excellent, girl!!! Greadt job!

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