If you’re one of those people spending hours on the nearest treadmill while dreaming of tight, toned abs and thighs, you may want to reconsider your strategy. Cardio exercise has been all the rage for decades now – it burns calories, and burnt calories equal fat loss, right? Sadly, the truth is not so simple. Fat loss, it turns out, is 80% dietary – what you eat controls what you lose or gain in most circumstances. Exercise contributes a measly 20% to the process of slimming down, and studies have shown that exercise alone generally leads to little or no weight loss. What’s more, cardio exercise is catabolic, which means it burns MUSCLE as well as fat – and reduced muscle mass means a reduced rate of total calories burned by the body. That’s the opposite of what most gym rats are hoping for!
The solution to this mess, it turns out, is the practice of strength training when combined with a practical dietary strategy. Essentially, one must build muscle in order to maintain a lower weight. The exercises below are designed as a full-body workout, and should be performed in consecutive order 2 – 3x per week.
Don’t snicker, guys – these are a difficult exercise, especially for the ladies! Men should work up to two sets of 50 pull-ups each set, while women should aim for two sets of 20-30. This exercise will create strength and definition of the muscles in the arms, shoulders, and back.
Work your pectorals with these babies! Guys should start off on the ground, but because women have a different center of gravity than men (not to mention a generally reduced level of upper body strength), girls can start off on wall push-ups and work their way up to the real thing.
Get ready for ripped thighs and glutes! Squats will make your thighs burn like nothing else, but the results will send you over the moon. Ladies, this is the move that will get you the firm, toned behind you’ve been searching for. Aim for at least two sets of 40.
A plank is designed to strengthen and tone all the core muscles of the body, making it a valuable addition to any strength training exercise regimen. It may seem easy, but 30-40 seconds in you’ll find that every muscle in your body is shaking like a leaf.
The above exercises can be implemented with weights and different positions to increase the level of difficulty, but follow them all, and soon you’ll be looking ten million times better than any skinny-fat cardio gym rat.