“My absolute number one lesson I have learned is to not be scared of lifting heavy!” says Studio Tone It Up trainer Chyna. “To be honest, I grew up thinking heavy lifting was for boys and cardio was for girls. I could not have been more wrong! As soon as I started incorporating more strength training into my routine, that is actually when I began to notice the biggest physical changes in my body. I realized in order to begin to see muscle tone I had to work and develop those muscles!” And the science backs that up. “Resistance training is proven to lower your body fat percentage over time and to produce lean, toned muscles,” Studio Tone It Up trainer Stef says. Embrace the weights!
“Who doesn’t love to know they can totally lift heavier dumbbells? That’s a huge self-esteem boost!” Stef says. And that’s just the beginning. “After a few months of weight training, I found a greater sense of alignment from head to toe,” she recalls. “The more in-tune with my body I became, the more strong, beautiful, and sexy I felt.” Scared to step into the weight room solo? Grab a girlfriend or use your Tone It Up app to practice at home. When I was starting out in New Hampshire, I was the only girl in the weight room. Working out at home helped me build the confidence I needed. Remember: a squat is a squat!
The biggest thing I’ve learned over the years is to not overcomplicate things. It takes time to become in tune with your body and what it needs. Getting to know your body is probably one of the most important things you can do when you strength train. Some days, that might mean taking it easy with a lighter set of weights. Other days, that might mean grabbing your heavy dumbbells for a lower rep routine. You’ll see Karena, me, and your Studio trainers in the app lifting 3 and 5 lb weights, but that’s because we shoot up to 6 workouts in a day! Don’t be afraid to grab a weight that feels right for YOU. The last two reps should feel really challenging.
Found a strength workout that works? Don’t stop there! “When it comes to strength training, it’s easy to get comfortable with the few moves you do,” Chyna admits. “I am definitely guilty of this (think: squats, lunges, shoulder presses, bicep curls, etc). However, it is so important to switch things up!” Try lateral moves, rotational moves, and changing up your tempos. “The more we switch it up weekly, the better our body will respond!” Head to your Tone It Up app for new strength routines, including total body, lower body, upper body, and abs!
“Many strength programs have workouts distributed throughout the week to allow for approximately 48 hours of recovery time between lifts,” Stef notes. (HINT: You’ll see this type of programming in your Tone It Up app!) Why? “Every time you do a strength workout, you break your muscles down a little so they can adapt and come back stronger for the next workout!” But in order to do that, you need to give your muscles adequate time to recover. If your lower body is sore, then go for an arm day. If you’re just not feeling it one day, ask yourself if you’re taking enough active recovery days.
One way to get enough rest while keeping your body sufficiently challenged: split programming. That means working different muscle groups on different days ~ just like we do in your Tone It Up app! “Maybe you delegate Monday to leg day, Wednesday to upper body, and Friday to total body and abs!” Stef says.
The best news of all: “Depending on your age and training history, incorporating strength training into your fitness regimen will allow you to see results quickly!” Stef says. “Within 2-3 weeks, you will already notice adaptations in your balance and weight distribution performing weighted exercises. In 4-6 weeks, muscle groups will be far more developed than where you began!” In other words, those muscles will be poppin’! 💪