Walking can help you lose weight, but if you want results, it’s important that you pair it with strength training. Enter this walking and weightlifting plan from Bonnie Micheli, an ACE-certified personal trainer and cofounder of Shred415 — it’s designed to help you build lean muscle and burn more calories, the recipe for weight-loss success. To achieve that, you’ll focus on getting more steps in six days a week, and add strength training on four of those days.
If you’re already concerned about squeezing it all in, don’t stress. “You don’t need to complete all of your steps at one time,” Bonnie told POPSUGAR. “Every step counts. Even if you only have 10 or 20 minutes at a time to walk, it counts!” Plus, the strength-training sessions are only 10 minutes long. As you start to build more muscle — during the four-week plan or after — you can try repeating each set two to three times for an added burn, but by that point, you’ll feel more settled in a routine.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started: a fitness tracker, an ankle resistance band, a kettlebell, and a set of dumbbells. “If you’re just starting out, try five- to seven-pound weights,” Bonnie said. “If you’re looking for a challenge, grab 10 to 15 pounds.” Keep reading for the full plan!
- Why Walking Won’t Cut It For Fat Loss!
- How to Lose Fat While Walking
- How to Lose Fat with Strength Training
- What You Eat Matters
- Know Your Body
- What Is Body Sculpting and Core Conditioning?
- Sample Class: Sculpt Fusion
- Barre vs Yoga vs Pilates: Which Is Right for You?
Why Walking Won’t Cut It For Fat Loss!
With obesity and disease increasing dramatically, many fitness experts are recommending walking for weight loss and fitness. Some are even going so far as saying that walking is the best way to burn fat and lose weight. I strongly disagree with this and am going to show you why walking is not effective at burning off body fat.
Yes, you read that correctly. Walking is not effective at burning body fat and if your goal is fat loss you might be wasting your time. I am not saying that walking is not beneficial, I am saying that if fat loss is the primary goal, there are far better choices that will deliver far better results.
The primary benefits of walking are increased blood flow and circulation, improved recovery, and a strengthened immune system. There are several reasons why walking is not the best choice when it comes to fat loss. Here are just a few.
Why Walking Is Not The Best Choice
1. Walking Doesn’t Burn A Lot Of Calories
The lower the intensity of the activity or exercise the smaller the number of calories burned per unit of time. For example, you can burn more calories in 15 minutes of bicycling at a high intensity level than you can in 45 minutes of easy walking.
2. Walking Doesn’t Result In A Large Metabolism Increase
Another downside to walking is that because it’s generally low intensity it results in only a small increase in metabolism that will only last approximately 1-2 hours after the walk. On the other hand, metabolism increases are larger and last longer (4-24 hrs or more) when you perform high intensity a href=”https://www.bodybuilding.com/category/cardio”>cardio workouts.
3. Walking Doesn’t Deplete Muscle Glycogen
Low intensity exercise like walking does not deplete muscle glycogen levels and therefore, later that day if you have excess calories they will likely be stored as body fat whereas if you deplete the glycogen the excess calories will primarily be stored in the muscles.
Why Is It Recommended?
So why then do so many fitness and health experts recommend walking for weight loss? One reason is that people don’t want to hear that they have to work hard so they figure some activity is better than none. Another reason is that the body burns more fat for fuel when exercising at an easy pace, however, the total amount of energy used is so small that you end up burning off little body fat. That’s also why when you choose the “fat burning” program on your treadmill or bike it has you exercise at an easy level. Yes, you’re burning fat, but so little that you’d have to exercise at that easy pace for hours and hours each day.
High intensity cardiovascular/aerobic exercise is much more effective in burning off the excess body fat. In fact, several studies have been done to prove this. In one study they compared one group who did moderate level aerobics for 45 minutes with another group who performed high intensity workouts for 15 minutes. They did before and after fitness testing including body fat analysis and found that the group who performed the high intensity aerobics lost nine times as much body fat!
Want More Proof?
Compare the bodies of a walker, marathon runner, and sprinter. If you are not familiar with what a sprinters body looks like, it is very muscular and has little body fat while on the other hand the body of a walker will likely have the opposite, little muscle and more fat. The sprinter does little or no low intensity exercise and does primarily short hard bursts of work while the marathoner overtrains so much they burn off both the body fat and the muscle and that’s why they tend to look almost sickly thin.
If Fat Loss Is Your Goal
- Perform some form of high intensity cardio 2-4 times per week
- Stabilize blood sugar to minimize the storage of new fat
I know some of you by now are saying “I can’t do high intensity exercise, I have a bad knee” and don’t worry, I have a solution for you. The good news is that high intensity is all relative to you and your current fitness level. For example, fast walking up and down hills may be high intensity for you… it all depends. So don’t think that you have to start running or something like that. Just slowly start to increase the intensity of your cardio workouts while also maybe decreasing the time because you can either work hard or you can work long.
Make Any Activity High-Intensity
- Increase your speed
- Use an incline or hills
- Increase resistance
- Perform intervals (the most effective method)
Obviously, some exercises/activities or better suited than others but the point is if you want to burn more fat and make your workouts as productive as possible you need to increase the intensity.
Updated January 7, 2019
One of the quickest ways to lose fat is to eat a proper diet and get plenty of cardio. But can walking and strength training help lose body fat? Depends on your workout routines and the intensity of your walks. The trick is to do activity that gets your heart rate up to the point of putting your body into “cardio mode.”
How to Lose Fat While Walking
I love my Fitbit. However, people put too much emphasis on the number of steps you need to get in a day. In reality, the number of steps don’t matter much. For instance, I’ll burn more calories and fat with an intense 10,000 step walk inside of an hour than I will if I do 10,000 steps throughout the whole day.
It’s not a matter of distance, but more of distance within a certain amount of time. Don’t get me wrong, the Fitbit is a great tool. However, it’s the effort you put into power walking that will help you lose fat.
Speed and Distance
The faster you walk, the more you burn. Let’s say you set aside 30 minutes a day to walk. If you maintain a casual two-mile-per-hour pace, you won’t work yourself up very much. However, pushing yourself to reach four miles per hour in the same amount of time easily burns more fat.
The same can be said about setting distance. You’ll keep your heart rate higher if you do your best to do a certain distance under a specific amount of time. How many skinny people do you know are proud of a 45-minute mile?
Bear in mind that you will eventually hit a walking speed that caps before it becomes a jog.
Setting Your Goals
When setting up goals, keep it realistic. I know a lot of people who focus on 10,000 steps per day. Don’t try to follow in some of the insane numbers other people produce. A lot of those individuals have plenty of time to go for a run and rack up the mileage quite quickly.
Track what you can do on an average day and try to beat it the next. If you don’t have a Fitbit, Apple Watch or other wearable device, you can always use Runkeeper. It’s a free app that tracks your movement whether you’re walking, running, swimming or even in a wheel chair. It’s all about moving and distance.
The only one you’re truly in competition with is yourself. Try to surpass your average ability and keep setting new records.
Pushing Yourself Too Hard
The spirit may be willing, but keep in mind the flesh might be weak. It’s one thing to have ambition, but it’s another if you push yourself too hard. If you go beyond your limits, you being to increase the chances of injury.
I learned a terrible lesson in 2015. At 270+ pounds, I tried to power-walk a 5K while wearing loafers. Between my weight and the shoes, I wound up creating metatarsal fractures throughout my feet.
How to Lose Fat with Strength Training
Strength training does have potential to help lose fat. It all depends on how you approach lifting weights. Remember, you want your body to be in “cardio mode.” Simply lifting 40-pound dumbbells a few times to feel the burn isn’t going to put you into the fat-loss sweet-spot.
When I’m at the gym or using my resistance cables at home, it’s all about working up a sweat. Higher reps, lower weights. This builds lean muscle without bulking up. However, it’s still adding strength to your body while burning fat.
The longer you can sustain an activity while lifting, the more fat you’ll lose. In a past case study of myself, I burnt more calories doing 20 minutes of lifting 20 pounds than I did in 10 minutes while lifting 40…even though the total weight was the same.
I’m not saying that you should keep the weights as light as possible. However, using somewhat lighter weights will help sustain the workout longer. Once you get used to a certain amount, increase it if you want to add bulk.
Targeting Specific Muscle Groups
When strength training to help lose fat, you also need to keep in mind to target certain areas of the body. How often have you seen incredibly strong fat guys because they focus more on biceps than stomach? In reality, anything cardio-related can be considered strength training as it’s developing density.
A good example of this is myself. Everything from my nipples up look amazing. That’s because I spend too much time on arm and chest work and not enough on my core. This is something I am remedying as time goes on. Planks, lying leg raises and air bicycles are a good place to start.
Setting Goals to Maximize Weight Loss and Strength
When I lift, I am focusing on sustained activity. I’ll hit a specific goal for reps and then increase the weight slightly. As I am trying to burn fat while adding strength, I don’t want to burn myself out too fast by doing something too heavy.
Sure, it takes longer to bulk up…but that’s not my goal. I’m happy to toss a 50-pound bag of dog food in the shopping cart with one hand without grunting. My purpose is to lose fat. I don’t want to look like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I would rather not look like “The Blob.”
What You Eat Matters
What you eat matters whether you’re walking or strength training. It doesn’t matter when you burn the calories and fats if you consume more than what you’re getting rid of. This is why I try to keep my calories in the green using MyFitnessPal.
You also want to keep in mind the carb and protein intake when strength training. Some diets will actually prevent you from maxing out your time in the gym. You need proteins, carbs and glucose to supply energy to muscles, which means you have to eat accordingly.
Personally, I go into hypoglycemic shock if I don’t have something to snack on in the middle of my workout routine.
Be mindful of your physiology and know what you need to eat to sustain yourself in a healthy manner.
Know Your Body
The bottom line is everyone has different physiology. What works for one person may not have the same effect on yourself. You need to experiment and find methods that work to lose fat. Just keep in mind that it takes time to discover what works. Don’t expect an overnight change. In some instances, it can take a couple of months before you can determine if something is working for you.
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Since 2015, Michael has put in the effort to lose more than 80 pounds by gamifying fitness and eating proper portion sizes. He conducts extensive research into various health and fitness products to provide the best answers possible according to his own experience and knowledge.
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What Is Body Sculpting and Core Conditioning?
Body sculpting (or core conditioning) is a non-aerobic, muscle-toning class, usually focused on core strength. Most sculpting classes use weight bars, exercise bands, or dumbbells, or a combination of these gadgets. You perform traditional weight-training moves in a class setting.
If you are interested in taking a body sculpting class, consider the following:
What body sculpting and core conditioning does for you: Gives you strength and muscle tone and lowers your risk of bone loss, but only if you lift heavy enough weights.
The exhaustion factor: Depends on the instructor, the level of class you’re taking, and how much experience you have with strength training. Prepare to be sore if you’re a novice or if you usually do different exercises.
The coordination factor: Low. Anyone can do this, although it may take a few sessions to learn proper form.
Who digs body sculpting and core conditioning: Anyone who wants to firm up. Body sculpting and core strengthening are great if you want to learn the fundamentals before you venture into the gym on your own.
Signs of a sharp instructor: Instructors should tell you to use moderately heavy weights so that you don’t do more than 15 reps per set. Watch out for instructors who do dozens of repetitions with light weights: You’re not going to build much strength or tone that way. The instructor should correct your form and remind you where you should feel the exercise. Watch for a warm-up and cooldown, too.
Tips for first-timers: Prepare yourself for muscle soreness the day or two after your workout. If you want to focus on a particular part of your body, look for a specialty class like Express Abs or Lower-Body Sculpting. Just know that you’ll be strengthening (toning) these body parts, not melting fat off them.
Prior to becoming a Zumba Instructor I was teaching regular old fitness classes, in fact if you’ve been around this blog since the beginning, you might even remember when I went to my first Zumba training. Sadly I can’t link to what I’m sure was an amazing post 😉 since many of my old posts were lost a few years back thanks to some hackers, but the long and short of it is, I had a fitness life before Zumba. After over 3 full years of teaching mostly Zumba, and Zumba specialty classes the initial hype started to wean and last summer I decided it was time to ditch one of my evening Zumba classes and replace it with a more traditional class – enter Body Sculpt.
Body Sculpt was the product of my imagination, but was based loosely on other full body classes that I’d seen around. Essentially, I created a class which consisted of a choreographed warm-up, followed by a song concentrating on legs, then chest, back, triceps, etc. taking participants through a full body workout. I decided to run each class release for 10 classes before changing to a new one which would be in the same format, but with different moves for each body part. I wanted to stick with the same routines long enough for the participants to become proficient with them and to feel an improvement, but to change the routines after 10 weeks to work the muscle group differently and to keep things from getting boring and monotonous.
Anytime you decide to drastically change a class from what they are use to it’s a bit nerve wracking. Sometimes you succeed, other times you fail miserably. Fortunately, this was one of the former. My participant love (to hate) the class, and it is consistently one of (if not the) largest evening class I have these days. Personally I love seeing the changes in my participants from class to class and release to release. It’s for certain one of the most rewarding classes for me as an instructor to teach, I just love it.
Normally on Tuesdays and Thursdays I share with you Zumba videos/choreography, but I need a few weeks to conjure up some new routines for you. In the meantime I thought I would share some Body Sculpt videos. The plan is to pick and choose songs from all of the releases I’ve created so far to put together a full body class for you over the next month or two. Chances are I’ll rotate sharing Body Sculpt videos one week, then Zumba the next as I work on new choreo, but when I’m done you’ll have a full class you can do at home.
This week I’m sharing the two warm-up songs from Body Sculpt 1, and if you like you could really use these for Zumba or Zumba Toning as part of a warm-up without much (any) difficulty.
Now in these warm-up videos I fall back on non-verbal cueing to get the job done (but I verbally cue when teaching in class), but when we get into the actual strength training routines you can be sure I’ll be verbally cueing you. I just wanted to say that for the record. For some reason I find it very weird and awkward to talk at the camera while doing a warm-up or cardio. I think I’m just getting to used to Zumba videos…
I hope you enjoy the Body Sculpt videos as they come out 🙂
Have a great afternoon!
Sample Class: Sculpt Fusion
What are students looking for? Do they want to look better, perhaps perform better in sports or leisure activities? Do they want to be stronger? For many, it’s all of the above. In addition, most people want to feel better. What can we do as instructors to help participants feel empowered and rejuvenated? In this sample class, we apply yoga principles to traditional strength training moves. This fusion offers the best of both worlds: improved strength, posture, performance and appearance, as well as an increased sense of calmness and self-acceptance.
The class adopts the following general yoga principles:
- Lose the “no pain, no gain” mentality, and focus on the overload principle. Encourage students to rest once their muscles are sufficiently fatigued. This is similar to cuing yoga students into child’s pose when needed.
- Link exercises to create a flowing, moving meditation experience, similar to sun salutations and vinyasa cycles.
- Synchronize movements with the breath, to encourage presence.
- Help students find self-acceptance, and encourage them to enjoy the process without being attached to outcomes.
Sculpt Fusion Details:
Goal/Emphasis: core stabilization, balance and muscular strength
Equipment Needed: dumbbells of sufficient weight to provide overload
Time: 60 minutes
Music: instrumental, 128–130 beats per minute
Warm-Up (5 minutes)
Preview some of the class movements. Use large muscle groups to increase body temperature and heart rate. Complete each exercise in this sequence 8x (1 set), and then do 3 more sets:
- Squat, and circle arms back to standing.
- Hinge forward at hips (to a 90-degree angle); return to standing.
- Do an alternating front lunge.
- Do an alternating rear lunge.
- Squat, place hands on thighs, do a cat stretch, return to flat back, and stand.
Squat–Thrust Sequence (15 minutes)
Complete each of the following exercises 8x right (R) lead and 8x left (L) lead.
- Squat on counts 1 and 2; step back to plank (R leg, then L) on counts 3 and 4; step forward (R, L) on counts 5 and 6; stand on counts 7 and 8.
- Squat on counts 1 and 2; step back to plank (R leg, then L) on counts 3 and 4; step forward with R leg only on counts 5 and 6; stand slow (balancing on R leg) on counts 7 and 8.
- Squat on counts 1 and 2; hop back to plank on counts 3 and 4; hop in on counts 5 and 6; stand on counts 7 and 8.
- Repeat the move above with dumbbells. Place weights on the floor when hopping back to plank. Note: Make sure weights have flat edges so they are stable when placed on floor.
Alignment Tip. Maintain neutral spine throughout movement. Focus on hinging at hips (instead of rounding spine) when squatting and returning to standing.
Beginner’s Tip. Stick with first two options for less intensity.
Mind-Body Tip. Remind students to focus on their breath throughout the sequence.
Dead Lift Sequence (15 minutes)
Complete each of the following 8x on both sides.
- Balance on R leg with L leg reaching behind, L toes lightly touching floor. Hinging at hips, lower body until it is parallel to floor; return to start.
- Balance on R leg, with L leg reaching behind, as above. Hinge at hips while simultaneously lifting rear leg parallel to floor; return to start.
- Repeat previous move while holding dumbbells. Let arms hang directly below shoulders throughout execution.
- Repeat same move, adding bilateral arm raise when torso is parallel to floor.
Alignment Tip. Maintain neutral spine throughout movement and avoid dropping or lifting head. Keep arms at shoulder level and return to start position before standing.
Beginner’s Tip. Complete movements with both feet on floor, hip distance apart.
Mind-Body Tip. Cue participants to bring their attention to the muscles they are using. For example, “Press through heels to engage the hamstrings while returning to the standing position.”
Push-Up Sequence (15 minutes)
Complete each of the following 8x, resting 1 minute between sets.
- Traveling Push-Up. Start with hands under shoulders. Lift R hand and place it 2 inches wider on count 1; lower down to push-up on count 2; lift on count 3; place hand 2 inches narrower on count 4. Repeat L.
- Triceps Push-Up. With hands under shoulders, lower down on counts 1 and 2; lift on counts 3 and 4. On lowering motion, reach shoulders forward and keep forearms perpendicular to floor.
- Combine traveling push-up with triceps push-up. Complete traveling push-up R and then triceps push-up in center. Repeat L.
- Repeat sequence while holding dumbbells.
Alignment Tip. Don’t let hips sink while in plank position. Maintain neutral neck throughout movement.
Beginner’s Tip. Place knees on floor or complete fewer repetitions.
Mind-Body Tip. Suggest that students rest when necessary. Remind them to focus on quality, not quantity.
Cool-Down (10 minutes)
Hold each of the following stretches for 30 seconds:
- From supine position, extend R foot toward ceiling, L leg extended on floor. Gently pull R leg toward nose; repeat L.
- Bring R knee to chest and extend L leg on floor. Twist R knee across body to stretch hip and spine (roll L hip down toward floor); repeat L.
- From prone position, lift onto forearms to stretch abdominal muscles. Reach chest forward while keeping shoulders down.
- Return chest to floor. Reach back and pull R heel toward buttock to lengthen quadriceps; repeat L.
- Press up to quadruped position and reach hips back toward feet to release spine. Ask students to close their eyes and hold this stretch for an extra few minutes while focusing on their breath.
Barre vs Yoga vs Pilates: Which Is Right for You?
Congratulations on your decision to make yourself a priority and commit to a regular workout routine. The addition of physical fitness into your life requires hard work, but yields great rewards. Now, which method should you choose? With the vast choice of fitness workout options available today, it can be overwhelming to know which one is right for you.
Pilates vs. Yoga vs. Barre
Pilates, yoga and barre all provide an effective workout from which you will see positive physical results. All will help to sculpt and tone your muscles and improve your overall health. Maybe you want to increase your flexibility or cardiovascular endurance, or perhaps you want to tone your muscles without bulking up or you’re favoring a past or present injury. Maybe you want to improve your core strength and posture. An awareness of your present fitness levels and future goals can help you decide which workout method will benefit you the most.
All three workout methods provide physical and mental benefits. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that engaging in aerobic and/or muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes improves your physical health, mental health and mood. It serves to improve sleep, reduce stress and improve your overall sense of well-being. Exercising regularly can help you live a healthier, happier life.
All workout programs require a fair amount of commitment in order to achieve maximum results, so factors such as the duration, frequency, location and types of classes available may help you decide which one is a good fit for you. Your level of commitment to any fitness program hinges greatly upon your level of enjoyment with the exercise methods employed. Although any amount of physical activity is positive, the more you exercise the better the results you will see.
With today’s demanding lifestyles, many individuals find it difficult to stick with a regular exercise program. The most common barriers to regular physical activity include lack of time and motivation. Other reported challenges include fear of injury, feelings of self-consciousness or not being athletic enough, and memories of perceived failure with prior exercise programs. Fortunately, many fitness studios offer free trials, flexible class times and even downloadable or streamed classes, so it’s easier than ever to commit.
The fitness program you ultimately choose is a personal choice and depends upon many factors. Whether it’s yoga, Pilates or barre, knowing the basic methodology of each workout option along with benefits, similarities and differences can help you to decide which one is a good fit for you.
Yoga, which when translated from Sanskrit means “to control” or “to unite,” is said to have originated in India thousands of years ago. While its origins are based upon religion, many yoga classes today focus more on the connection between mind, body and spirit and achieving a balance within the body. Yoga concentrates heavily on body awareness, breathing and stretching.
A typical yoga class involves different types of breathing and stretching exercises. You will need a yoga mat on which you will spend the majority of your workout. A series of warm up exercises involving breathing and stretching usually begins the class. From there, you will engage in a variety of yoga positions designed to stretch and work your muscles. This involves holding your body in challenging poses designed to work a variety of muscle groups at the same time. A cool-down period with breathing exercises will end your session.
Most studios offer yoga mats for your use, but you should purchase a fitness mat if working out at home. You’ll also need comfortable clothing, as you will flex your body into a variety of positions. You will most likely be barefoot, so purchasing specific footwear is not usually necessary. Other items such as straps and balls can accompany yoga routines, but they may not be necessary right away or even at all. A water bottle and towel will help you to stay hydrated and comfortable during your class. You will be bending and stretching, so it’s best to avoid heavy meals a few hours before your class.
Flexibility is a factor in yoga, but it is not a necessary for beginner classes. Continued practice over time will increase your agility and flexibility. You can see positive results over time even if you only attend an hour a week, but attending classes around 2-3 times per week will help you experience the most benefits. Yoga classes usually last around an hour from warm-up to cool down.
Yoga offers numerous benefits. Physical benefits include increased flexibility and muscle strength and tone. Regular yoga practice can decrease stiffness and joint pain and improve posture and coordination. It can also prevent you from suffering future muscle injuries. While not a high-impact method of working out, yoga is physically intense.
Yoga also offers many mental benefits, such as a reduction in stress level. Greater relaxation and reduced stress leads to a host of other positive body changes including an improvement in circulation, sleep and self-confidence. A positive mental outlook also helps to maintain a healthy immune system, which in turn can ward off other serious ailments such as high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke.
Who May Benefit Most From Yoga?
Yoga is appropriate for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. Those who are seeking a workout that increases their mind, body and spiritual awareness will find yoga to be a good fit for them. Those who wish to increase their fitness level at a slower pace may find that yoga is perfect for them, although the physical intensity is just as high as in many other exercise methods. Yoga exercises utilize a variety of muscle groups at the same time, so an entire body workout is often achieved during each class. Yoga is effective in toning muscles without creating a bulky look.
Pregnant women may find yoga to be a beneficial workout, but you should always consult your physician before engaging in any exercise program, especially during pregnancy. Individuals who want a more relaxing form of exercise while improving upon their current level of fitness will find yoga to be enjoyable. Many people benefit from the clear-headedness that comes with the deep breathing and mind-calming exercises that take place with yoga.
Pilates is a fitness method that was developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany during World War I. Originally intended to help rehabilitate injured soldiers, Pilates broadened his method to help people of all walks of life, including police officers and dancers, to strengthen their bodies. His method stressed the use of the mind to control the muscles and was often used to help heal and build strength in individuals who were recovering from injuries.
A typical Pilates class usually lasts around 45 minutes to an hour. You need a fitness mat, water bottle and towel and comfortable clothing. Sometimes other gear such as balls, straps and Pilates-specific equipment is used. While available in most studios offering Pilates classes, these items may also be purchased if desired for home use. Like yoga, you will most likely be barefoot during workouts.
Pilates classes involve a series of positions and body movements, all with different names. Deep concentration is required to place your body into the various positions and hold it there. Modifications on these positions can be made to accommodate people of all abilities and fitness levels.
Pilates uses your body weight for resistance and focuses on working both small and large groups of muscles. Over time, core strength, flexibility and muscle tone will begin to increase. Maximum results are achieved by working out at least 3 days a week. Pilates is not an aerobic exercise method, so it’s best to combine it with a few days of cardiovascular exercise. Although the movements are small and slow, Pilates provides an intense full-body workout.
The physical benefits of Pilates include an increase in muscle strength and tone without creating bulk. The increase in deep core muscle strength helps to make your abdominal muscles look tight and toned. It also improves your flexibility and posture, which can decrease your chances of injuring yourself. Pilates is also effective in easing chronic lower back pain and preventing future back pain and injuries.
The mental benefits of Pilates include an increase in the ability to focus. It takes a great deal of concentration to coordinate your breath and body position during workouts. In fact, Joseph Pilates often referred to his method as “the thinking man’s exercise” due to the improvement in memory and other cognitive functions that results from doing it. A clear mind also reduces stress levels, which translates to an improvement in your overall health.
Who May Benefit Most From Pilates?
Pilates is great for individuals of all fitness levels. People who are just beginning a fitness program will find it’s a great way to ease into more intense methods of exercise. It’s also beneficial for pregnant and postpartum women and people wishing to strengthen their muscles after an injury. A physician’s approval should be sought before beginning any exercise program.
People who enjoy yoga but may be looking for a more vigorous core workout can benefit from Pilates, as they both incorporate similar mind-clearing techniques. Pilates is great for people who desire a full-body workout during each class. Though an intense fitness method, Pilates provides an effective workout with minimal impact on the joints.
A popular workout program that is rapidly gaining recognition and followers is the barre method. This fitness program is essentially a mixture of ballet-inspired exercises, yoga and Pilates. Barre derives from the Lotte Berk Method founded in 1959 in London by its namesake, a German dancer looking to stay fit while nursing a back injury.
In the barre fitness method, a dancer’s bar and a mat are used. While an intense and effective workout method, no previous dance experience is required. The barre method is accepting of all fitness and ability levels.
The barre method uses your own body weight for resistance and focuses on small, deliberate movements that focus on specific groups of muscles, specifically muscles that aren’t used in other workouts. Muscles are worked to the point of fatigue, and then stretched for relief. Proper form, body alignment and posture is stressed, which in turn leads to an overall strengthening of core muscles and the appearance of an aligned, lean body.
Aerobic exercise is also be used in this method, as the idea is to increase cardiovascular endurance while increasing the body’s metabolism to burn fat. It can be quite intense, with classes lasting on average 60 minutes. Increased stamina is achieved by allowing very little rest between activities so muscles stay engaged.
Barre workouts require minimal equipment. You’ll need a free-standing or wall mounted bar and a mat. Sometimes a soft exercise ball may be used during leg workouts. If you are taking classes in a studio, the required equipment will most likely be provided for you. If you are working out at home, bars can be purchased for home use. You may prefer to be barefoot or purchase socks with grips on the bottom. As with all other workouts, having a water bottle and towel nearby is helpful.
Perhaps one of the best benefits of barre is that it’s fun! It incorporates the use of upbeat music and engaging choreography. When working out is fun and enjoyable, your chances of staying with the program greatly increase. The barre method also offers quick results. Barre helps strengthen and tone your muscles without increasing bulk, and it improves your posture. It also increases cardiovascular endurance and metabolism, which helps to quickly burn calories.
Regular barre workouts can increase your bone density, which can help prevent conditions like osteoporosis. They can also help you avoid injury. The small isometric muscle movements used during barre classes build muscle strength without putting a strain on ligaments and tendons like other fitness training methods can.
The mental benefits of barre are similar to yoga and Pilates, as it effectively increases mind-body awareness and mental clarity. Focus and concentration are required to perform the small precise movements utilized in barre. Allowing your mind to concentrate solely on your technique increases feelings of relaxation and decreases stress levels. Endorphins released during physical activity increase your general sense of well-being.
Who May Benefit Most From Barre?
Barre workouts are appropriate for individuals of all fitness levels. It is ideal for individuals who wish to improve their core strength and posture. Many of us often sit in a hunched position at a desk or in front of a computer for long periods, and it takes its toll over time. Barre is appropriate for individuals who are seeking an intense but low-impact workout that will offer quick results.
Barre is also best for people who wish to work out their whole body every time they work out. Barre’s focus on small, isolated groups of muscles means that you will most likely be sore after each workout. Both former dancers and also those with no prior dance experience will enjoy and benefit from the upbeat nature of barre workouts.
Barre vs. Yoga vs. Pilates
If you’re trying to decide which fitness method is best for you, or you think a mixture of all three would be ideal, consider the barre method. It incorporates its own positive techniques along with some from both yoga and Pilates.
Barre will help you build and strengthen your muscles, improve your core strength and posture and give your body a lean and toned look. Unlike yoga and Pilates, which can sometimes take weeks and even months to see visible results, barre participants start seeing results in as little as eight workouts.
Another positive aspect of the barre method is the upbeat nature and feeling of community and camaraderie that is a natural result of the barre atmosphere. Unlike yoga and Pilates classes that often require quiet self-reflection, having fun is acceptable and encouraged in barre classes.
There’s plenty of opportunities for quiet concentration when you are focusing on the tiny muscle movements that are working your entire body from head to toe during every class. Your arms, abs, thighs and glutes will quickly reflect the results of your hard work.
Unlike yoga and Pilates, barre incorporates aerobics into each workout to strengthen your cardiovascular system and help you burn loads of calories. Barre’s ability to give you an intense cardio workout while remaining low-impact is another desirable benefit of the program.
Finding a Class That’s Right For You
Making the commitment to start an exercise program is an exciting first step in improving your life through increased physical and mental health. After all, what better investment can you make than in yourself? If you’ve struggled with not having enough time, money, energy or motivation to work out, push them aside and remember that you’re worth it. No excuses!
Before beginning any workout program, it’s always a good idea to consult your physician. Individuals with pre-existing injuries or medical conditions or those who don’t have an accurate knowledge of their current physical fitness level should always begin cautiously. It’s also extremely important to perform all workouts, no matter what fitness method you’re doing, under the supervision of a certified instructor. Their guidance and knowledge of proper form and technique will help you to achieve maximum results while avoiding injuries. They can also help you to safely modify workout activities to match your current fitness levels and goals. Whether you attend classes in a studio or at home through DVDs or streamed videos, the presence of a trained instructor is imperative.
PHYSIQUE57 is a motivating and inspiring provider of non-impact, ballet-barre classes. In addition to studio locations around the world, PHYSIQUE57 offers fun and effective online classes that can be streamed on-demand in the comfort of your own home and at the time that works best for you.
Our expert instructors will ensure that you are safely pushing yourself to your limits while having a great time doing it. Our PHYSIQUE57 community is here to support you along every step of your fitness journey and to help you to reach your fitness goals.
Yes, you’ll work hard, probably harder than you ever have before, but the results and feeling of empowerment you will gain are well worth the effort. Remember, you can start seeing visible results in as little as eight workouts! Visit our website today to stream your free trial class today. See how 57 minutes a day can change your life.