4 Gym Tips For Women

US News ran an article about 4 things women should be doing in their fitness training—but aren’t. Since moms are concerned about getting/staying in shape, I thought I’d share, and of course add my lovely thoughts 🙂

I’m not a workout freak or guru. I do the basics to maintain. I spend about 20 minutes in the gym, 4days a week.

Usually 8 of those minutes are spent chatting with my fave gay trainer about fashion, Mariah, gym gossip,and other earth shattering news. 2 minutes are for me filling up my water bottle, and the other 10 for weights, stretching, and updating my facebook (thank goodness for wifi at the gym!)

But here’s the tips:

1. High-intensity training.

All that time coasting on the elliptical at a comfortable pace probably hasn’t done much for your body, says Panama-based trainer Belinda Benn, creator of the Breakthrough Physique home fitness system. In fact, the biggest mistake women make in their training is not exercising with enough intensity, she says.

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is typically a 10- to 20-minute workout that alternates short, intense bursts of activity with moderate-exertion recovery periods. “High-intensity interval training  is the best way to improve your overall fitness, burn fat, and stimulate your hormones for a stronger body,” says Benn.

How to tell if you’re training hard enough? Look to your body for clues, Benn says. Good indicators are sweating, increased heart rate, and lactic acid production (i.e., feeling the “burn”) during exercise. Moderate muscle soreness for up to a few days post-workout is also a good sign. “If you feel nothing,” Benn says, “you probably didn’t work out hard enough.”

**Hmm…I hate sweating at the gym since I don’t have the luxury of showering til the kids are tucked in. My gym time is usually sandwhiched between the Target trip and dropping one of the kids off at school. So, umm, yeah, no sweating for me. But I do like feeling the gym burn. It actually makes me feel like my 10 minutes were well spent.

2. Heavier lifting.

For most women, a typical weight-training session equals light dumbbell exercises, says Toronto-based strength and conditioning specialist Craig Ballantyne, creator of the Turbulence Training Program. But doing fewer reps with more weight—say, 8 reps per set with a 15-pound dumbbell, instead of 15 reps with an 8-pound one—will burn more fat, he says. Lifting heavier will also increase your strength and muscle definition.

Start by swapping out your normal weights for slightly heavier ones, and gradually work your way up.

**I alternate with this. Some days I have light days, some heavy (No, I’m not talking about my period). It just depends on my mood, energy, and what body part I’m working. My arms are kind of scrawny so it doesn’t take much to tone them up. My big azz and thighs are healthy and can tolerate heavier weight.

3. Upper body workouts.

Women tend to store body fat around the waist, hips, and thighs, so that’s where they typically focus their exercise efforts—neglecting their upper bodies, Benn says.

But you can’t spot-reduce fat, and sticking with what’s easy can stunt your progress, says Benn. Because you may feel weak while attempting pull-ups for the first time, Benn suggests doing the hard stuff at the start of your workout, “when you’re freshest and feeling mentally strong.”

“Focusing on underdeveloped muscles will improve the contours of your body,” Benn says.

**I hate working out my arms. They are naturally skinny (hate me now biatches) but I do push ups/pull ups on occasion with the boys and I’ll buss out some bicep curls sometimes if there’s a buff hottie doing them.

4. Training with a barbell.

Think barbells are synonymous with back-breaking chest presses? Not so. “You can do a tremendous workout just with a barbell,” Benn says. “If you’re holding a bar rather than using two separate weights, it forces you to get your body  in sync.”

Barbells are great for both upper- and lower-body exercises. Balancing one across your shoulders while doing squats, lunges, or walking lunges helps develop posture and balance, Benn says.

If you’re flirting with a barbell for the first time, go as light as you need to. Even 10 pounds is a good start.

**I love the barbell. Something about a long hard rod gets me going.

Get the workouts in mommies. We always get a great workout chasing after the kids. But if you get gym time, keep these tips in mind. Stay fit and stay focused!

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