To Get Fitter Faster You'll Need Muscular Strength and Endurance

What's the Best Method to Get Fit Fast?
A friend of mine is on a mission - a mission to lose weight for an upcoming date. The date is a trip to Mexico, where she'll be sporting her new bikini, in front of her new Beau. Her mission is intense and has included up to two hours per day of long, slow "fat burning" running. That is, until she injured herself and her Achilles tendon from overuse.
 
Question: What's the fasted and smartest way to get fit and lose weight?

 
How to Get Fit and Lose Fat
Sure, doing a load of cardio will help you burn fat. That's because when you body does aerobic exercise, its primary fuel source comes from stored fat, and that's great! However, the problem is that other than your legs, you're muscles aren't getting the attention they need. Muscular strength not only tones your muscles, it strengthens your joints and the connective tissues surrounding them.
 
What's more, when you add strength training to your routine, you'll burn a load of calories before and after your workouts. When you add muscular strength and endurance to your fitness routine, your body will burn both glycogen ("sugar" that is stored in your muscles and liver), and fat.
 
Remember this: It takes 3500 calories to burn one pound of fat. So make sure that you use up your energy stores in a variety of ways.
 
Physical Strength and Skill

Physical conditioning is the very basis of what brings everyone to Outdoor Fitness, and it is the core of the program itself. To grow stronger and more agile. To run farther and faster. To trim and slim and tone our shapes. The physical components of outdoor fitness are muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility and balance. Two other important aspects of the program are kinesthetic awareness and proprioceptive awareness, skills that bridge physical and mental spheres, and allow the whole body to function more confidently, and efficiently in its environment. For this blog today, I would like to focus on the basics of muscular strength and endurance.
 
Muscular Strength and Endurance

In Outdoor Fitness, you’ll gain muscular strength and endurance in every workout, by using my original Base Moves and Signature Moves. The health benefits of resistance training are clear: building muscular strength and endurance can prevent and reverse the effects of aging in both men and women. These two types of muscular training are both critical to your well-rounded workout and your overall health. 

  • Muscular strength is ability of a muscle to lift a heavy object, or exert maximum force over a short amount of time. Muscular strength training involves high resistance and low repetitions. One to two sets of 8-12 repetitions per set will increase strength and definition.
  • Muscular endurance is the ability to exert force over and over again for an extended period of time. Muscle endurance training uses low to medium resistance and high repetitions. One or two sets for an extended period of time, such as a full minute, will increase endurance and tone.

 
Quick Tip:  Concentric and Eccentric
The contraction phase of an exercise is also called the concentric phase. The relaxation, or lowering phase is the eccentric phase. Most people think the concentric phase of an exercise is the most important part, but it's not. In order to change the muscle and get stronger, you'll need to put your focus into the eccentric phase. What does that mean?  Well, in a pull up, the lifting phase is concentric and the lowering phase is eccentric.  In a squat, the lowering phase is eccentric and the return phase is concentric.
 
Using the "phase" of an exercise to breathe. Coordinating your breath with your exercise protects your body. You should exhale during the tough part, the contraction, or concentric phase, and inhale during the easier, or eccentric phase. Regulating breath and movement this way alleviates stress on the heart and keeps blood pressure from increasing.
 
You Don't Need Weights to Get Strong and Fit

There are plenty of options for props to assist you in muscular strength and endurance training. The best tool when working in the outdoors is your own body! These outdoor workouts rely on your body’s own weight and gravity for building muscular strength and endurance. For a complete list of Outdoor Fitness Base Moves and Signature Moves (all using body weight and gravity!), with color photos and step-by-step instruction, check out the Outdoor Fitness book.
 
Tips for using body weight
•    Do each exercise in a slow and controlled manner. Don’t let momentum do the work for you.
•    Use the core of your body for added strength and support.
•    Pay equal attention to both eccentric and concentric phases of the movement.
•    Always use proper breathing. Exhale during the exertion phase of the exercise.
•    Connect internally—mentally, visually and kinesthetically—with the muscle groups you’re working.
•    Use gravity to your advantage.

 

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