Getting in shape takes more than aerobic exercise. While aerobics are an important component to overall fitness, you also need to incorporate muscle building workouts several times a week to achieve a well balanced exercise program.
The benefits of aerobics are well known. When you exercise aerobically you strengthen your heart muscle as well as your entire cardiovascular system. Muscle building workouts fine tune the body and make it better able to function and burn away fat.
There are two types of muscle building workouts that will either allow you to gain muscle mass or tone your existing muscle. The goal of a low rep, high weight muscle building workout is to increase muscle mass, or plump up the muscle to its greatest volume. Lifting heavy weight causes the muscle fibers to swell and you will notice a significant increase in the mass of muscle under your skin. The goal of high rep, low weight muscle building workouts is to tone the muscle and make it stronger without a significant noticeable change in mass. Women often perform toning workouts in order to sculpt their muscles and make them appear more defined and bodybuilders select programs that allow them to increase mass.
When people begin new muscle building workouts they expect results quickly. This is fine if your body is lean to begin with. But if you have a high ratio of body fat to lean muscle, you will have to do aerobic cardiovascular exercises to burn off fat in combination with muscle building workouts to build muscle in order to see the desired results. Eating a low fat diet composed of lean proteins and low carbohydrates is also helpful in building muscle and reducing fat.
One of the benefits of muscle building workouts, aside from larger and more toned muscles, is an increase in your bodys ability to burn fat. Even when you are not exercising, your muscles continue to burn fat more effectively when you perform a regular fitness program that includes muscle building workouts. Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and improves the function of the cardiovascular system which is important in delivering blood to your muscles. But to continuously burn fat you need a combination of both aerobic training and muscle building.
It is a misconception that by working out you are actually building additional muscle tissue. We are born with the highest number of muscle fibers we will ever have and that will never change. What you are trying to change through muscle building workouts is the appearance of the muscle tissue, bulking it up and making the fibers larger and more defined.