In the last blog I established that there is no fear of ladies becoming excessively muscular with weightlifting.  Now it is time to address the next problem with ladies lifting weights.  Ladies, traditionally, tend to lift weights that are incapable of causing positive benefits.  Ladies regularly perform exercises with weights that are far too light.  If the muscle is not given a stimulus that is beyond that which it normally encounters, then it has no stimulus for improvement/change.  It is also important to note that studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between the health benefits that you receive with weightlifting and the intensity with which the weightlifting is performed.  In other words, the more strenuous the exercise, the more benefits that you will receive.  A good rule of thumb for weightlifting is to choose a weight that causes you to become excessively fatigued by the 12th repetition.  Once you can perform 12 repetitions during a particular exercise, without difficulty, it is time to increase the weight.

Cardiovascular Exercise: many ladies utilize this is their entire exercise platform.  This can lead to trouble for two particular reasons.  For one reason, excessive cardiovascular exercise can lead to burn out and the cessation of an exercise program.  Spending an entire hour, or more, on a piece of cardiovascular exercise equipment can be painfully boring.  This lack of excitement will usually result in the participant stopping the exercise program.  Obviously, exercise is only beneficial as long as you perform it on a regular basis.  Exercising hard for one month and then quitting will do little to nothing to improve your health in the long term.

It is only necessary to perform a cardiovascular activity for 20 minutes, three days a week, keeping your heart rate and your target heart rate zone, in order to achieve a cardiovascular training effect.  In other words, for your heart to receive a healthy benefit from exercise this is the minimum that you must perform.  20 minutes is typically the amount of time that I recommend people spend performing cardiovascular activity.  The main reason for this recommendation is to help people to avoid burnout.  It is important to understand that the difference in the amount of calories burned between a 20 minute exercise session and a 60 minute exercise session (of moderate intensity exercise) is probably equal to that of 400 calories per exercise session.  While 400 calories may seem like a significant amount of calories, the significance quickly diminishes when you figure that it's going to cost you 40 minutes of extra time on a piece of cardiovascular training equipment.  The odds are that the burnout is going to outweigh the extra caloric expenditure.

In addition to burnout, excessive cardiovascular exercise can lead to muscular atrophy/shrinkage.  Although it seems counterintuitive, when you do excessive amounts of cardiovascular exercise your body will typically shed excess muscle.  The reason for this relates to the body being exceptionally efficient.  The body knows that it is highly inefficient to carry around extra weight when performing long-duration endurance activities.  Muscle is a very heavy, dense tissue that burns up to 35 calories, per day, at rest.  Why carry excess weight that utilizes extra energy?  Losing this extra muscle will slow your body's metabolism and reduce your overall strength.

Exercise is hard.  You certainly don't want to waste the time and the energy it takes to exercise by engaging in an inefficient program.  The key is to exercise smarter, but not necessarily, longer and harder.  Incorporate the above information into your exercise program and you can be assured that your body will be much happier.