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Articles Fitness Nutrition

Live by These 4 Muscle and Fitness Rules

Dec 28, 2010

Muscle and fitness are two things thing that you should strive for if you are trying to get in shape. If you are trying to lose weight then it's simply not enough to do cardio exercises that will make you sweat. You also need to do some strength training in order to tone your muscles. Pairing weight loss with muscle development will help you achieve that firm and taut look. Here are some muscle and fitness rules that you should live by.

1. Don't Be Afraid To Lift Weights

If you have been refraining from lifting weights because you are afraid that you might develop a bodybuilder's muscles then think again. This belief is actually a common misconception. Unlike males, females lack the hormones that are necessary to increase muscle mass by working out. Instead, you will enjoy the benefits of having a slim and toned figure. As you probably know, well-developed muscles can also help you burn calories even when you are at rest. This helps you control your weight more efficiently. Strength training also improves the health of your bones. If you suffer from chronic health conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes or arthritis, strength training can also help improve your symptoms.

2. Do Teasers Instead Of Crunches

The crunch is perhaps the most popular exercise when it comes to developing a flat and well-toned stomach. However, studies have shown that it may not be the most effective workout if you are trying to uncover your abs. An exercise called “the teaser” (which is done in Pilates) is able to stimulate a larger part of your abdominal muscles. To do this exercise, start by lying on your back and raising your legs in such a way that your thighs are perpendicularly positioned to the floor and your knees are bent in a 90-degree angle.  Stretch your arms towards the ceiling and straighten your legs so that your body is forming a “V”. Hold the position for a couple of seconds before going back to the original position. Make sure your legs remain elevated from the floor.

3. Load Up On Protein

Contrary to what to what many people believe, the most important factor in a healthy diet is not the amount of food you eat but the quality of the foods instead. If you are trying to improve your fitness and develop more muscles then you should ensure that your diet has enough protein. In fact, around 20 percent of the calories you receive in a day should come from protein sources. The best sources of protein include poultry, low-fat milk and green leafy vegetables like broccoli. Eating a protein-rich snack after your workout is particularly important because protein helps your muscles recover.

4. Decrease Rest Time Between Sets

You can also make your workouts more effective by minimizing the amount of time you spend resting between sets. Train yourself to do one exercise after another without breaking in between. Decreasing your amount of rest will help you burn more calories.

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