Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Workout Wednesdays

Short on time for your workout? Sick of the cardio machines? Not breaking enough of a sweat just lifting weights?  Here's a little trick I like to do - add your cardio between your weight sets!

The concept of keeping your heart rate up while you rest between sets by doing some sort of movement is called Active Rest.  Of course after you've pushed out a hard, heavy set, your muscles need a break.  But your whole body probably doesn't - this is especially true for women who tend to lift lighter (go heavier!) and tend not to work the muscle to fatigue (which you should try sometime for real growth!).

Simple movements like jumping jacks, jump rope (even without a rope, just mime it), mountain climbers, running on the spot, lateral jumps, front and back jumps, marching in place...the list is endless! Keeping your heart rate elevated keeps your body burning fat while you let your muscles rest long enough to hammer out another set on the weights.

And if you're short on time for working out, I would almost always advise heavy, quick weight lifting over cardio.  Yes, cardio gives you that nice feeling that you've burned some extra calories for the day but seriously, the amount of calories burned in one cardio session or one training session are essentially irrelevant except for the most hard core athletes and fitness competitors.  It's just such a small portion of the calories you burn in a day compared to what your body burns when you have lots of muscle on the go.  Building muscle so you're always burning fat should be the goal.  I actually said to my husband the other day that I think the reason I don't tend to have major weight fluctuations like a lot of women is simply because I have tons of muscle mass - there is a lot of room for error when your burning calories like crazy with all that muscle!  But...you can get both weights and cardio done quickly by adding active rest between your weight sets.  If you do the activities mentioned above in between your sets, I guarantee you'll leave the gym dripping in sweat!

Do you do active rest between sets? What's your favorite way to keep your heart rate up while you lift?

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