If you have had trouble meeting your weight loss goals, it might because you have focussed too much on diet and not enough on exercising. Exercise is an essential part of meeting any kind of fitness or weight-loss goal. As you exercise, you not only burn away the calories you eat, but you build muscle that takes additional calories to maintain. What this means is that as you increase your muscle mass, your body burns more calories all day every day no matter what you are doing.
So if you can burn more calories by building muscle, you are probably wondering how you can build muscle. The answer is weight resistance training. You don’t need a bunch of expensive fancy equipment to do weight resistance training. The weight of your body will be enough resistance to build muscle and increase your fitness level. Below are many exercises you can do that need no equipment at all.
Before you begin your workout, it is important to stretch your muscles, especially the muscle groups you are going to work out that day. Begin by standing and reaching for your toes to stretch the back of your legs. Then kneel with one foot on the ground in front of you. Tuck your pelvis under to feel the stretch in your deep hip muscles. If you are able, bend the knee that is on the ground further and try to grab your foot to stretch your thighs. If you are unable to do this, you can do a similar stretch either standing or lying on one side. Next, gently pull one arm across your body and then the other. Finally, clasp your arms behind your back and lift them as high as possible.
After you stretch, you can begin your workout. There are innumerable variations of exercises, but here are a few. With all exercises, do as many repetitions as you can, rest, and then try again. For your legs, stand with your feet close together and raise your heels off the ground to strengthen your calves. For your quads, step your feet hip distance apart and bend your knees as deep as possible keeping your abdominals engaged. For your hamstrings, lay on your belly, raise your legs off the floor and flutter them as if you were kicking to swim.
To strengthen your abdominals you can do the traditional crunches. Try to get your shoulder blades off the floor as you lift your head. For your lower abs, stay on your back and lift your legs so that they form a 90 degree angle with your back. Cross your feet, and then pull you abdominal muscles in and lift your butt off the floor. To strengthen your back, simply flip over on to your belly and do a reverse crunch, lifting your head and shoulders off the floor. It might help to have your arms out to the side or reaching behind you instead of behind your head.
To strengthen your arms, the easiest way to build muscle in your shoulders and arms at the same time is to hold a plank position. Incidentally, this position also strengthens your abdominals and back. Place your forearms on the floor and clasp your hands. Step your feet back so your weight is on your toes and your body is making one straight line. In order to maintain this line, you will need to engage your abdominal muscles, and actively push your forearms into the floor.
After your workout, it is important to stretch your muscles out again. You can repeat the stretches described at the beginning of this article or any others that stretch the muscle groups you just finished using.
If you follow the above routine, you can build muscle in a easy way that doesn’t take much time and needs no equipment. As you grow stronger you can expand your routine to include many more exercises, but starting with these simple steps will put you well on your way to meeting your fitness goals.