5 Steps to build up your strength & endurance so you can lose weight!

When it comes to losing weight, we all know the benefits of cardio. We all know that we should be doing some sort of cardiovascular exercise, whether that's walking, running, biking, swimming or even playing soccer with the kids a couple times a week. Well, the thing that might surprise you is that building your muscles is also great for weight loss.

In fact, building up your strength (lifting weights to building muscle and therefore burn more fat) and your endurance (meaning how long you can do that cardio) is a sure-fire weight to drop the weight. But how do you do that to reap the benefits? Take a look at our 5 easy steps to build your strength and endurance--and lose weight in the process!


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1. Exercise at your maximum heart rate: This is really important because your heart is the biggest muscle in your body and actually controls the flow of oxygen to your muscles during physical activity. To increase cardiovascular endurance, target your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Then, if you're hoping to lose weight, your heart should be beating at 60 to 75 percent of that maximum number.

2. Make sure to vary your repetition and sets: Basically, you want to light heavy weights in order to build up your strength while lifting light weight to build up your endurance. For strength training, opt for 5 to 10 reps for 2 sets. For endurance, use light weights for about 15 to 25 reps. This works for exercises such as triceps dips, squats, bicep curls, chest presses and more.

3. Use your body weight as resistance: One of the easiest things to do when doing strength training exercises is to actually use your own body to get in shape fast. For example, you can use your own body weight during push-ups, sit-ups, heel raises, chair dips and lunges. Do a set of 12 to get the best results.

4. Be careful of your breath when lifting weights: One of the things I personally struggle with all the time is holding my breath. Honestly, I've even been known to do this during yoga, a dangerous practice that reduces blood flow to the heart and can lead to dizziness and weakness. Trust me, you do NOT want to be the girl that faints. When strength training, make sure you exhale every time as the exercise gets more difficult and intense.

5. Regularly evaluate your endurance and strength: It's important to see where you are every few weeks. About once a month, I do what is called the push-up test. Basically, do as many push-ups as you can without taking a break and, when you can't do any more, you know that you have reached your maximum performance. If everything is going well, then your maximum number should be increasing as you go along!

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Topics: exercise  weight loss  workout