Hate lifting weights? Some alternatives

I'm a bit of cardio-holic. When I go to the gym, my time is usually spent on the elliptical trainer, treadmill or bike. That other half of the gym, the one with the weight training area, goes neglected. It's not that I'm afraid of weights, don't know how to use them or don't know their benefits -- it's that they're, well, boring. This is something I thought I was largely alone in until I read a post by regular reader Crabby McSlacker. She dislikes lifting weights too. Do you too? For this week's feature I'm going to suggest some things that will give you the benefits of weights but without the drawbacks.

Hate lifting weights? Some alternatives

For some people, it's the atmosphere of the weight-room that turns them off. Being surrounded by buff, body-builder types and having to share the machines can be intimidating and even annoying. If your beef is with the atmosphere, maybe you should do your weight training at home? I'm not suggesting that you purchase and expensive home gym or anything, but some of the most effective exercises require nothing more than your own body weight for resistance. Think push-ups, crunches, lunges and other calisthenics. If your own weight isn't enough, you can pick up a couple of free weights for relatively cheap. I got a set at Costco for less than $30.

For people like me, who think weight lifting is just plain dull, a group class might be the way to go. I started attending a series of classes at my local gym called 'Ripped', based on the renowned workout developed by a woman called Jari Love. The class is an hour long and involves numerous continuous sets and reps using free weight, all to heart-thumping music. The class is tough the time goes quickly, and by the next day, my muscles have that sore feeling that's a sure indication that you had a great workout. You might not have Ripped at your gym, but it's fairly similar to circuit training, so check your gym's schedule for a list of classes. Ripped is also available on DVD if you want to work out at home.

There are some other activities that will leave you toned without having to lift weights constantly. Taking up a martial art is a great idea because while the actual sparring part is sure to give you definition, the training part can't hurt either. I've done a bit of kickboxing and the classes always involved some calisthenics, like push-ups and sit-ups, as well as some cardio, giving a well-rounded workout. Another thing that I've found has helped me tone up is power yoga. Moving through a sun salutation is a great workout for the arms, balance poses like tree are tough on the legs and boat poses make for killer abs. You won't get big and bulky with yoga, but most yogis don't want to anyway.

The important thing about working out, though, is just to get out there and enjoy it. If you don't like it you won't do it -- you'll let excuses rationalize their way into your life and you'll end up sitting on the couch instead of doing something good for you. So find something that you enjoy, that fits into your lifestyle and that basically just works for you.

Mohammed khalf
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writer and blogger, founder of Go motivations .

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