Katrina Hodgson, NASM CPT, BS Health Science, has helped thousands reach their goals by designing fitness programs with her workout videos and her website ToneItUp.com. As one of Diet.comís featured personal trainers she hopes to share her passion for fitness and continue to make a positive impact for the Diet.com community.

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Fitness Expert Katrina

by Katrina Hodgson, Diet.com Fitness Expert

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Hey everyone! It's Katrina Hodgson from ToneItUp.com, my website to find my fitness videos, workouts and my own healthy recipes.

I'm excited... Spring is coming soon! To get ready for the warm-weather fashions that flash a bit more flesh, I'm hitting the weights a little harder these days.

Before you ask... NO! Weight training won't turn you into a female bodybuilder anytime soon. What it will do is tone you up and turn you into a calorie-burning machine!

Strength/weight/resistance training is amazing for women! Please read on for my 8 Reasons to Weight Train.

Women simply do not have the hormone levels that men do. Therefore it is much more difficult to create bulging muscles. Women who do have a larger amount of muscle may have had years of heavy explosive training for a sport. A lot of times, too, women have a layer of fat on top of their muscle which prevents them from looking lean. The muscle will give them the appearance of being smooth, but they may have more fat on top to give the look of "bulkiness." Lucky for them, as soon as they lean up a bit they will have nice definition underneath and can still reap the benefits of their muscle tone hidden underneath.

weight training for womenOne Diet.com visitor asked me, "So, does muscle weigh more than fat? And if it does, why would I want it?" I don't want to get too technical or scientific, but a pound is a pound. One pound of muscle is just denser compared to a pound of fat. So don't worry, a pound of muscle will not be as large as fat and will be much smoother and lean looking. And YES we want muscle!

Strength training for women has many benefits - here are my eight favorite!

1. Since muscle requires more calories during the day for your body to maintain it, your metabolism goes into overdrive! Over time, an increase in muscle tone will decrease fat without changing your diet. Planning on eating a little healthier and decreasing your calorie intake? Even better! Strength training can increase your metabolism and help you lose those unwanted pounds!

Example: Gain 7 pounds of muscle and you'll burn about an extra 350 calories a day. That equals jogging for 3.5 miles every day! Over 10 weeks that is a 7-pound fat loss! Just changing your body composition from fat to muscle will naturally rev your metabolism at any age.

2. Ever thought about getting cellulite creams or expensive "cellulite removing massages"? Think again. Whether someone is overweight or not, many women have cellulite. To decrease the appearance of cellulite, build some muscle tone in the area to smooth it over! I cannot tell you a better solution and studies show that fat loss can also reduce the appearance of cellulite!

3. Ever thought about plastic surgery or liposuction in certain areas? Create curves on your body naturally in the right places! Forget breast implants. You can create cleavage that is all yours girl! How about a rounder, smoother butt? My favorite is creating a lower ab area that could even make your low-rise jeans cry.

4. Strength training prevents injuries and helps strengthen bones and ligaments. Imagine getting older and not having to deal with a broken hip after tripping and falling.

5. There's nothing sexier than a woman with flexible long lean muscles. Balancing on 2-inch heels is no longer a death-defying circus act! Hit the weights and strength train your core. It's never too late to start!

6. Increased athletic ability! If you're a woman with active children or friends who like to play outdoors, get with it. Why not enjoy the outdoors and be able to roller blade, play tennis, show up your husband on the golf course, pick up three kids at once and walk into a family picnic. We are athletes every day of our lives, so isn't it time to get into athlete shape?

7. Increased confidence! A confident woman is a strong woman.

8. Extended life span! Who doesn't want to live longer? But more importantly, who doesn't want to be vibrant and energetic in their golden years?

OK, so now that you are ready to get started on weight training, know this: slow and steady wins this race! Your weights should be light enough that you can complete 12-15 repetitions, but also heavy enough to stimulate the muscle fibers into changing shape and becoming stronger. The last 2 repetitions should be difficult to do. It helps to complete one exercise after another with minimal rest so that you can burn more calories and raise your heart rate.

Try incorporating some jump rope or aerobic exercise between strength training exercises to burn optimal amount of calories (circuit training). This will help with slimming and burning the layer of fat on top of that hard-earned muscle!

If you think you are too bulky and have too much muscle, continue weight training but mix up your cardio routine with it, look over your diet and ...    Continue

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