Strength Building and Fat Burning: Resistance Training Exercises for Women
Strength training and fat burning are two separate and distinct workout goals, but many of the moves that contribute to one also help support the other. Both cardio and resistance training exercises for women can help with these goals, and it’s a good idea to try and incorporate both into your regular exercise routine.
But what’s the best way to begin? How can you start putting together a resistance training and fat burning plan that’s both effective and sustainable over the long term?
First, visualize where you’d like your body to be in a few months or a few years. Are you launching a strength building program to improve your performance in a specific sport? Do you have clear fat burning goals in mind? For example, are you trying to lose a certain amount of weight by a certain time and keep it off permanently? Or are you approaching strength building and fat burning with no distinct goals other than improved energy and better health? Your answer will help you determine how many hours of resistance training and cardio exercise you’d like to work into your weekly schedule.
Second, it helps to understand what’s happening to your muscles and metabolism as you focus on various resistance training and fat burning exercises for women. For more information on how muscles turn calories into fuel, check out some of the articles on the site related to interval training and the different ways we extract energy from fat reserves and glycogen stored in the liver. In the sections below, we’ll briefly discuss the fat burning benefits of interval training and the strength building benefits of resistance training exercises for women.
Interval Training Exercises for Women: A Quick Overview of the Fat Burning Process
When we begin any kind of physical activity, our heart rate speeds up and our metabolism increases. But the fuel we burn during this process will come from a variety of sources depending on our circumstances. To stay active, our bodies will burn either glucose (simple sugars), glycogen stored temporarily within our muscle tissue, glycogen reserves from the liver, or fat tissue. If we want to target our fuel supply toward the fat burning process, we’ll need to elevate our heart rate up past a certain threshold percentage of its maximum speed and then keep it there as long as possible.
In other words, once you determine your peak heart rate by pushing yourself to your physical limits then counting your beats per minute at that point, you can use that peak heart rate number to get the maximum fat burning potential out of your exercise routine. Bring your heart rate up to 60 percent of that maximum number, stay in this heart rate zone as long as you can, then drop back down just long enough to rest and recover your strength. Modulate your strength building, fat burning, and resistance training exercises to move deliberately into and out of that 60 percent “fat burning” zone. This is called zone or interval training, and elsewhere on the website you can find more detailed instructions on developing a program of interval training exercises for women.
Your fat burning exercises for women should be paired with nutrition habits that support your goals. For real fat burning success, compliment your workout plans with these simple nutritional moves:
1. Never skip breakfast. When you wake up in the morning, eat a slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter, two eggs, a serving of fruit, or a bowl of oatmeal. This will activate your fat burning process and kick start your metabolism.
2. Avoid red meat (beef and pork). Instead, choose lean proteins like poultry, fish, nuts, and legumes.
3. Load on the fresh fruit and green leafy vegetables. Official recommendations suggest five servings a day, but you can never have too many of these.
4. Skip processed and packaged foods when you can, and always read labels. If the ingredient list is long, loaded with chemicals, or contains high fructose corn syrup, snack on something else instead. This applies to beverages as well.
Resistance Training: Strength Training Exercises for Women
Resistance training and strength training exercises, even when they challenge and tax the muscles, don’t always target the heart the way cardio exercises for women do. Likewise, fat burning cardio workouts that involve an interval training element can help us shed excess weight, but they don’t necessarily target the large muscle groups or contribute to strength building in the arms, legs, and core
Once you’ve set aside a few hours each week for fat burning cardio activity, round out this plan with a separate focus on resistance training and strength building exercises for women. Bring your routine from the running track into the gym, and focus on weight lifting exercises for women, ideally with the added challenge of a resistance band.
As you lift, keep your technique in mind, and don’t be reckless. Even a small injury or pinched nerve can set your workout goals back for a while. Build up a strong burning sensation in your targeted muscle areas and quickly change your movements if you experience any pain or tingling in your back or joints.
Subscribe to our Flex2Fit video blog series for free workouts and resistance training exercises for women and men both. In the meantime, consult with a trainer or just pick up a few weights and a resistance band and start experimenting on your own. Begin with ten minutes of resistance training three times a week and build your exercise plan from there.
As you put your resistance training and fat burning plans in place, be patient. Stay focused on long-term rather than short-term goals. And to build and maintain positive, healthy, and permanent habits, keep things simple. Select high quality gear, find a supportive workout environment, and choose a time of day that fits easily into your schedule.