Some women still fear weight training will bulk them up, but there's research that suggests you will actually lose more fat than you will gain in muscle. In this week's Fit City, meet two former cardio junkies, who gave strength training a try.
The ladies didn't give up cardio, but they added three or four days of weight training to their routine. Both wanted more results from their workouts.
A few months ago, you wouldn't have found Abbie Abel or Kelly Prior in the weights section of the gym.
"I have to be real honest with you," Ms. Prior said. "I was one of those girls who spent hours on the treadmill."
Ms. Abel added, "I was always intimidated in the weight area, so I stayed in cardio and did the Stair Master and treadmill."
The cardio workouts helped keep Ms. Abel's weight in check, but she wasn't getting the muscle definition she wanted.
"The big misconception is that you are going to get bulky and look like a body builder, said Daniel Treat, a trainer at XTC Fitness and Sports in Tyler. "Y'all don't release the testosterone to look like that."
Treat introduced Ms. Abel to weights with 45-minute sessions consisting of eight to 10 exercises with 12 to 20 reps each. One day for upper body, another for lower body.
"It will stimulate fat burning and help get that definition that they are looking for," Treat said.
Ms. Prior was looking for that after struggling with her weight last year. She made a conscious choice to do something about it.
"I didn't know anything about weight training, so I hired a trainer and he taught me the basics — squats, dumbbell curls and things like that," she said.
Mr. Prior's weight went up, but her clothes size went down, dropping 4 percent body fat.
"My pants just started getting looser," she said. "It's very exciting with swimsuit season around the corner."
It was the same for Ms. Abel.
"I lost inches," she said. "I didn't lose pounds because putting on muscle adds weight to your body."
The women feel like they're in the best shape of their lives.
"I feel confident, I feel good," Ms. Abel said.
The ladies lost fat in all the right places and put on lean muscle with the help of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. If you're looking to maximize your fat burning, add 25 minutes of cardio after weights.
Strength training also has heart healthy benefits. Research finds it will improve your cholesterol profile and blood pressure.