Why You Need to Strength Train Even If You Don’t Give a Shit About Muscle

If you hate lifting weights and prefer cardio over strength training I have all the praise hands emojis for you.

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I get it. I feel the exact same way. How you can top a runner’s high with bench presses? You can’t. But strength training is a necessary evil. Even if you aren’t working out for a goal and don’t care one bit about gaining muscle, you still need to strength train. Here’s why you should suffer with the rest of us:

Your Metabolic Rate is Crucial

When you lose weight, about 20% of it will probably be muscle. The less muscle you have, the lower your metabolic rate (how you burn calories). So as you lose weight, your metabolic rate will decrease and you’ll have to eat less to maintain your new weight, or to keep losing weight. But, if you take your time and lose weight slowly, you may be able to maintain your progress. Strength training more often than doing cardio can help you maintain or build muscle, which can increase your metabolic rate. The more you’re burning, the more you can eat and still reach your goals!

You Can Eat More Food

Muscles need fuel and lots of it. If you’re doing cardio only to lose weight you’ll eventually hit a plateau and either need to add more cardio or eat less calories. Sooner or later it will become unmanageable. There’s only so many hours in a day to workout and you can only cut calories so much. Strength training, as I mentioned above, lets you eat more while still reaching your goals. Even if you don’t care about gaining muscle, you probably care about your long term fitness goals and success, and if you’re just doing cardio, you’ll definitely burn out.

Your Results Will Be Sustainable

If you have to keep increasing cardio and decreasing calories, you’ll cease to exist. That’s how that works long term. But, if you keep increasing your weights, gaining muscle, getting stronger, and eating more, you’ll become a badass. That’s how that works long term. Strength training is more sustainable than cardio alone, and it makes your results sustainable too.

Strength Helps Prevent Injury

Weak bodies get hurt. The more you push yourself to eat less and do more cardio, the more likely you are to get hurt. Granted, doing strength training poorly is a really great way to get injured as well, but that’s another blog post. Strong is the new skinny y’all. Get on board.

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Baseball Workout: Train Like a World Series Champ

It’s officially baseball season! Baseball is my favorite sport because I can actually follow the game, and because who doesn’t like being at the ball park in summer with a beer and a Chicago style hot dog? But preparing for the beer and the helmet nachos and the cotton candy requires hard work. Here’s a baseball inspired workout to get you in the perfect shape to watch the Cubs beat the Dodgers 😉

Batter Up!

Mimic Kris Bryant’s home run swing with a squat and weighted twist.

Start in a squat position (except point your toes forward unlike me. Fitness modeling is hard.)

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Then twist the weight to the side, working your abs, while keeping your feet and knees pointed forward. Twist 10 times on the right and 10 times on the left.

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Catch a Fly Ball

These single arm jump squats will have you catching like Fowler (before he went to the Cardinals… 😡).

Start in a squat position…

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Then jump up with one arm and catch that figurative fly ball! Do 10 reps with the other arm, 20 reps total.

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Pitch a No Hitter

The best pitchers have a strong core and lots of balance. Get in shape with some single leg deadlifts.

Start in a semi accurate pitching position with weights at your shoulders and your knee at (what should be…) a 90 degree angle. Again, fitness modeling is hard. Please ignore my photographer’s shadow as well.

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Next, extend forward and bring your bent leg behind you, keeping your back in a straight line. Do 10 reps on each side.

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Get on Base

The sprint to first base is always the longest. Build your endurance with some back and forth sprints! 4 seconds in one direction and 4 seconds back. Repeat 4 times.

I blame the terrible sprints in the video below on my lack of proper shoes. But you probably know what a good sprint looks like, so just do that.

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Slide Into Home

Practice scoring runs in style with some sit-throughs. Don’t let your booty touch the ground!

Start in this awesome and somewhat awkward position…

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Then cross your right leg under and lift your left arm up.

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Next, go back to the start position and cross your opposite leg over on the other side, lifting your opposite arm. Do 10 reps on each side, 20 reps total.

Field Some Grounders

If you want to get outs like Baez, you’ve got to be quick on your feet and get your glove down. Shuffle squats with a touch will make sure nothing gets passed you. Shuffle for 1 minute without stopping!

Start in a low squat and then shuffle three times to the right

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End with a touch, then shuffle back on the left!

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Repeat this circuit as many times as you want, with 30 seconds of rest in between, then go enjoy America’s favorite pastime and have a beer for me. Go Cubs go!

#WorkoutWednesday: Instagram Circuit

There’s 171,365,55 posts with #fitness on Instagram, and we all know an Instagram fitness star or two. Or 20. So I went through my “following” tab and grabbed some workout videos from a few #fitness accounts I follow to create a circuit workout!

Do each move in the circuit for 30 seconds and then repeat 2 times (3 times total). Leave no more than 30 seconds between rounds and no more than 10 seconds between moves. With breaks, this should take around 15 minutes. That’s it! Make sure you warm up first with some dynamic stretches and have water nearby.

Warm-up with some jumping jacks

Next, bust out some squat jumps!

Keep your legs burning with some forward and back lunges – 30 seconds each leg! (Just keep your foot on the floor if you don’t have a bench.)

Give your legs a break and do some tricep dips (buddy optional)

Try this full body move from Autumn with or without the resistance band (30 seconds each side!)

Challenge yourself with this isometric move from Biggest Loser trainer Jen Widerstrom

Lastly, work those biceps with alternating curls and hammer curls

If you don’t have weights you can use a resistance band or something heavy you have lying around…water bottles, soup cans, children, whatever.

Bicep circuit ft. busy college gym 😩 hammer curl into bicep curl

A post shared by Katrina (@collegecleaneating) on

Now repeat!

Featured image credit: Kayla Itsines

Don’t miss this ALL ACCESS PASS to 500+ Workouts!

What if I told you that you could have 24/7 access to 500+ workouts that you could stream from anywhere for less than $20 a month? For a limited time, you can!

Beachbody OnDemand is a live streaming service for Beachbody workouts (like P90X, Insanity, Turbo Kick, 21 Day Fix and more), which previously you had to buy separately. But right now, you can get an ALL ACCESS PASS to BOD for the entire year and have access to not only every Beachbody workout there is, but also any program that’s released in 2017! The best part? It’s just $99.95!

beachbody-on-demandYou get even more than the workouts, too. You get the meal plans and guides for every program! Plus you can upgrade to the  challenge pack to get portion control containers and 30 days of super food shakes for just $199.95. (A 30 day supply of shakes is normally $130, and portion control containers are $18, so you’re getting a year-long subscription to BOD for $52. That’s almost 50% OFF!!!)

BOD is the only thing I use for my workouts because I can stream from my computer or any other internet device. I travel a decent amount and not having to drag DVDs with me is a life saver. And since my laptop goes everywhere I go, so do my workouts.

A normal challenge pack for ONE workout is normally around $140-$160, but with this incredible deal, you get 500+ workouts for just a little more money. And if you’re not interested in the challenge pack, you can still just buy the annual subscription, which breaks down to about $9 per month (WAY cheaper than a gym membership!!).

If you’ve been curious about Beachbody workouts before or are looking for a way to save money in 2017, THIS IS IT! You can try EVERY SINGLE workout for just one yearly fee that’s chump change compared to a monthly gym membership, Get fit AND save money? Yes please.

Basic Annual Subscription: $99.95

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Burn Belly Fat with Treadmill Intervals

High-Intensity Internal Training (HIIT) is one of the best ways to burn fat fast. “It burns carbs. It just burns up all your carbs.” Ok, that’s not really how it works, but it is definitely effective. The goal of HIIT is to push yourself intensely for a moderate amount of time, and then recover for a short period of time. This is a proven method for burning fat and I have seen the results myself.

Back in college, I would do a specific treadmill internal workout at the gym, at least twice a week, and I saw MAJOR results, not only in my body, but in my running ability as well. I cut time off my runs and I was burning a lot more fat than when I ran at a steady pace.

I prefer intervals to be done on the treadmill and not outside for a few reasons:

1. You can easily monitor your time and speed

I open the stopwatch on my phone and leave it open on the treadmill so I can see when to sprint and when to rest. Having to try this while multitasking outside sounds horrible to me.

2. You have to keep pace

When you’re sprinting and you get tired, it’s much harder to quit on the treadmill than if you are just outside on solid, immobile ground. You get a better workout because you push yourself harder for longer!

3. It’s safer

When you’re trying to sprint outside, you can easily injure yourself. Treadmills take away dangers like cracks in sidewalks, cars, or holes you don’t see until it’s too late.

So, if you’re an outside-only runner, I don’t really recommend intervals, though it can be done. Try it on a track at a school or gym!

Here’s the interval guide I used, that I totally nabbed from PopSugar. When it got easy, I bumped up the speeds by 0.5mph on each interval. SO HARD! (If these times are too hard, slow them down and work your way up to these.)

Step 1: Print this out (or write it down with just the times and paces) and bring it with you to the gym.

Step 2: Wave bye-bye to your belly fat.

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8 Minute Abs

Yes. This is for real. This 8 minute ab workout for beginners is straight out of the ’90s and I promise it will do your body good! Plus, there are ways to make it harder as you go along so you can just keep spending more and more time with the amazing Jamie. If you’re truly dedicated (like I once was) you can convert the video to an mp3 and add it to your iTunes so you can do 8 minutes abs ANYWHERE. And when it gets easy, try doing the moves on a bosu ball 😉 You’re welcome.