Picking out a workout routine can be a daunting task, still one of the safest bets that one can make while thinking of improving your body figure is focusing on strength training. Commonly people think that strength training increases muscle mass and weight but this is a traditional misconception.
Actually strength training builds up lean muscles and burns extra fat, so in the long term you become stronger while perfecting your body figure. An interesting fact here would be that women naturally tend to tone their muscles by exercising rather than bulking up.
So let’s go over the basics, the upper body is made up of arms, chest, neck, shoulders and the upper back. Strengthening these muscles is always a good way to go as they are used in a wide range of actions and aid in day to day activities. The exercises of the upper body are:
- Dumbbell alternating shoulder and twist
- Dumbbell row
- Incline pushups
- Bench press
- Alternating floor press
- Lat pull down
- Bench dips for triceps
- Body triceps press
- Alternate hammer curl
- Barbell curl
The core of the body is a major target when it comes to strengthening your muscles as you derive balance from the mid-section. It is one of the more sensitive areas of the body because all the major organs are located here and consist of the abdomen, mid and lower back, hips and neck.
Exercises of the core are also the exercises to focus on if you are looking to lose that belly fat or are thinking of working your way towards six packs. The exercises of the core include:
- Pushup plank
- V-Sit hold
- Twisting crunch
- Bird Dog
Most people tend to neglect their legs during strength training but they are equally important as they are used for running, jumping, walking, standing and kicking. The muscles of the leg burn fat and tend to increase stamina during aerobic exercises.
Studies have even shown that effective thigh, hamstring and quad exercises tend to increase testosterone levels of the body which aid body growth. Common exercises for the legs are:
- 45 Degree calf press
- Crab walk
- Crossover lunge
- Drop lunge
- Reverse leg kick on Bench
- Seated dumbbell calf raise
- Reverse band squats
- Bodyweight squats
Strength training radically brings changes to your body so it is necessary to take a break at regular intervals. The fact of the matter is that planning is a very important factor here as the more carefully you plan your strength training program the more meaningful and effective each session will be.
Don’t Forget Your Post-Workout Nutrition
As you may have heard before, what you eat after your work-out may be the most important meal of the day. This is because, when you finish an intense workout session, your body enters into a state where reserve glycogen (source of energy for your muscle cells) starts to deplete and increased cortisol starts to break down muscle tissue.
The only way to avoid this is to have a good post-workout meal 30 minutes after your workout, which should consist of healthy carbs and protein. The carbs help to fill up the lost glycogen and the protein helps with muscle repair.
You should consume between 300-500 calories for your post-workout meal. For this meal, avoid foods with any fat, even healthy ones (such as olive oil) because fat slows down the absorption of the meal. You need to have foods that are quickly absorbable during digestion.
Examples of healthy natural carbs include bananas, pineapples, raisins, almonds, peanuts, or even natural honey. The best sources for protein can include a whey-protein shake (with milk), or fat-free or low-fat yoghurt.
You can even make a tasty shake that includes whey-protein, and some carbs mentioned. Remember, natural is always the way to go, while avoiding expensive post-workout supplements.