Many women will skimp on the strength training portion of their workout routine. Sometimes it may be because they have a fear of getting bulky, or sometimes it may be because they think they need to get rid of the fat first before they can appreciate any muscle tone. The problem with either of these trains of thought is that 1) strength training as you age is necessary just to maintain the muscle you already have, and 2) strength training is a highly effective tool in helping with the fat loss.
Strength training is not optional if you want to:
~prevent age-related muscle loss
~prevent a slowing metabolic rate as you get older
~lose fat instead of just muscle in a diet program
~stay strong as you age for daily living activities
~prevent injuries from your running/other exercise activities
~reduce your risk of osteoporosis, arthritis or diabetes
~burn more calories each day!
If you are new to lifting weights, start with one exercise for each muscle group just twice a week. You can get this done in just about 10 minutes! Consider joining a group exercise program such as Moms On The Run Boot Camp or hiring a qualified trainer to help you develop a safe and effective routine.
There are many opinions on the issue of whether to lift weights before or after your cardiovascular exercise, but the bottom line is it depends on your goals. In general, it is always necessary to be warmed up before strength training in order for a safe and effective workout to ensue. The warmup will reduce your risk of injury and get the blood flowing through your body. When blood delivers oxygen to your muscle cells, this actually makes the exercises you do more effective for strengthening and toning your muscles.
If your primary fitness goal is building strength or muscle, your pre-strength cardio should be limited to a brief warm-up with the majority of your cardiovascular exercise after your weights. If you are focused on improving your running, cardio fitness, or maximizing your potential with the intervals, complete the cardio portion of your routine first while you have the most energy.
In MOTR we are focused on general toning, improving our running and preventing injuries through our strength training. Although we will modify as necessary for instructor and participant schedules, in general we choose to do strength after running. This increases the safety and effectiveness of our training and helps us be efficient with time and able to get the workout done in an hour. It also helps the women in our learn-to-run program have greater endurance for completing the run intervals.
Regardless of which you choose, getting your strength and cardio in on the same day is a great option for busy moms! It’s hard enough to squeeze a workout in; maximize your results when you get a chance!