by Claire Kowalchik
If you had to pick just one type of workout to help you sculpt your figure, choose strength training. It burns calories, builds lean muscle, and boosts a confidence from which you will radiate beauty.
The myth of bulk
Many women eschew strength training for fear of building bulky muscles, but science shows that most of us have too much estrogen and too little testosterone to achieve bulging biceps and strapping thighs. At Curves, your goal on the strength training machines is to work hard—yes—but also quickly in order to boost the cardio and calorie-burning effect of each exercise. The Curves Circuit provides both a strength and cardiovascular workout for an optimal balance of muscle-building and calorie-burning.
The truth of thin
Another common workout myth is that cardio is a more effective workout for weight loss than strength training. While it’s true that an intense cardiovascular workout like running burns a big batch of calories, research shows that resistance exercise keeps your metabolic fires burning for up to 72 hours after your workout due to the energy your body expends in recovery and repair of the micro-trauma that your muscles incur.
Then there’s the increase in resting metabolism that comes with increased lean tissue (aka, muscle), so even when you’re lying on a lounge chair by the side of the pool, you burn more calories than your previous less-muscular self would have done. Researchalso shows that as strength training builds lean tissue, it reduces body fat, including the adipose tissue that can form in the abdomen of sedentary individuals and can contribute to health issues.
More lean muscle and less body fat equals a thinner figure regardless of whether or not you lose weight (how great is that?). A pound of muscle takes up considerably less space than a pound of fat, so it makes perfect sense that as you gain muscle and lose fat, you will slim down.
The strength of self-esteem
Strength training builds confidence in many ways, and when you feel good about yourself, you stand taller which makes you look thinner. More importantly, when confidence shines through, you feel and look your best, and the people around you respond in positive ways.
So how does strength training build confidence? Think about it. It’s an accomplishment to complete any and every workout that requires you to push, pull, or lift weight. With greater strength, physical activities become easier—everything from opening a jar of marinara sauce to going up and down stairs to returning a serve in a tennis match. And when you see the result of toned—but not bulky—arms, abs, and legs, and a slimmer figure, you’ll feel good about you. And that’s beautiful!