It’s no secret that strong is in, and skinny is out (and we’re not talking about women who are naturally slender, rather women who striving to look like a size 6 runway model). To us, strong represents self-respect, health, passion and happiness – and we want to encourage everyone to become the best versions of themselves through eating well and working out.
Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw, founders of KIC shares how you can get your best body ever through strength and resistance training. Plus, you don’t need a gym or weights: your body can act as a natural weight, you can use soup cans from the pantry, put on some music and you’re good to go.
image via pinterest
Some women are actually scared of strength training in fear they’ll bulk up and look like an extreme body builder – but this is far from true. Strength training increases lean muscle mass, and the more lean muscle mass you hold, the easier it is to burn calories. In short, you’ll tone up and feel incredibly strong and healthy.
Other benefits include:
1. You’ll feel happier and more in control.
Weight training releases endorphins which can help reduce anxiety, physical pain and stress. Endorphins also stimulate the mind, which improves concentration and energy levels so we can get more out of every day.
2. Your chances of getting injured are less.
Lifting weights increases strength in connective tissues and joints. Strong joints, ligaments and tendons can stop us from getting injured and improve motor performance. It also helps increase spinal bone density to create a strong and healthy spine.
3. You’ll burn more calories.
Weight training has been proven to increase your metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout. This means your body is still working hard even while you’re at work.
4. You’ll sleep better.
Just like cardio, strength and resistance training will encourage a better night’s rest, so you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and focused.
5. You’ll feel more confidence in your clothes.
Strength training helps burn fat fast. And more fat we burn, the more comfortable our clothes will fit.
There are so many different exercises, workouts and combinations out there that you’ll never get bored – trust us. You can mix it up, increase intensity and weight, and target different areas of your body. So, if there’s a part you don’t quite love, you can focus on that area and tone it up.
Here are few of our faves which work different parts of the body:
1. Kettle-bell swings
The swing is an awesome exercise to strengthen your body and burn fat. It works your hamstrings, glutes and core, and will get your heart rate up in an incredibly short amount of time.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out, and knees slightly bent; look straight ahead. Hold your kettle-bell between your legs using a two-handed, overhand grip. Keeping the arch in your lower back, bend your hips back until the kettle-bell is between and behind your legs. Squeeze your glutes to extend your hips and swing the kettle-bell up.
This upper body exercise can be done anywhere. Dips work the triceps which are the muscles located on the backside of the arm between the elbow and shoulder.
Find a park bench, a block or a chair. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart on the surface you are dipping from, with your arms straight. From there you dip down until your arms are at 90°, then straighten them out again, raising your body.
3. V sit-ups
Strong cores improve our posture and balance, and encourages a flat tummy.
Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs bent. Slowly contract your core and lift your legs up to 45°. Reach your arms straight forward and ensure your chest is open without rounding your shoulders. Hold this “V” shape for a few seconds and use your abs to return to the starting position.
4. Weighted squats
Weighted squats help tone your thighs, legs, calves and glutes – and can be down anywhere.
Your feet should be hip-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward – then hold your weights out in front. Bend your knees and push your butt and your hips out as if you were sitting into a chair. Keep your weight on your heels and make sure your knees are over your toes, but not beyond them. Then straighten your legs and squeeze your butt to come up.