wooo hoo, 4 weeks down I am so proud of you for sticking to it. but now,
folks, no more mindless exercise. Lets "get 'er done"
If you've ditched me, and signed up for (AND attending) aerobics classes -- awesome, great. If you are still having some difficulty figuring out what to do next, read on. You should plan out 4 days of exercise this week and I suggest doing the same 'arrangement' of exercises for the next two weeks (and throw in one day a week of pilates or yoga). In addition to your 'cardio' (ie. walking -- or heck, you can do some running now) you need to add some strength training. Yes, you do, trust me on this. If you have not yet found a video that you like that encorporates strength training, then here are some other ways to work in the strength training.
First of all, arms. I think arms are tricky. you want them firm, slightly defined, but not looking scary like a woman-man. The muscles are small, so, just lifting weights will not burn off the fat - you have to do cardio at the same time. so, here is what I suggest. during your walking routine, add some weights. I suggest
1-3 pounds. you can get them at the dollar store OR you can use bottles of water, family size can's of soup - just make sure each hand is holding the same weight. while you are walking, do bicep curls and tricep pushbacks. Yes, I know, they say that you are not supposed to work opposing muscle groups on the same day -- well, we're not building MR. AMERICA MUSCLES, we're toning and getting sexy. pretty easy stuff, do biceps for one song, then triceps for the next. When doing biceps, make sure you keep your elbows next to your body. There are a lot of different ways to do bicep curls, I don't know if any one way is the correct way or 'better' way, but, pick one that is comfortable for you. The tricep push backs are something you can do while you are standing up and walking. (tricep kick backs are better on your back if you are slightly bent forward) So, here is how you do them. With the weights/bottles in your hands and arms down at your sides, turn your wrists so the palms of your hands are facing behind you. Keep your arms straight (but don't lock your elbows) and pulse your hands/arms back away from your body. Half-way through your walk time, do some jumping jacks. Start with 30 and if you can do more, go for it, then return to alternating your biceps and triceps.
Alright, so you'll do that 2 of the 4 days. On the other 2 days, you will add LUNGES and you will be using your own body weight, so, no need to carry anything extra, right now, you can add weights later. Now, if you know all the variations of lunges, fabulous! - alternate how you do them. If you only know the standard step forward kind or step back kind, do those. Watch your form. Make sure that the knee does not extend beyond the toe. if you can keep the knee and the ankle lined up vertically, that is the best. If you are new to lunges or have problems with your knees, don't go as deep. If you need to use something to keep your balance, that is okay. But, keep working on them until you don't have to have help--you will burn more calories and use more of your muscle (and core) if you are 'balancing' at the same time. You will be using the largest muscle groups in your body, so, you will find an increase in heart rate. that's okay, that's good because you'll do them for an entire song and then walk for two songs and catch your breath. then repeat. This is a great way to increase the muscle mass of your quadraceps in order to support your knees. If you have knee or back problems, you should not be using an elliptical machine. Walking and lunging is much better.
Make sure you are drinking lots of water and add some additional protein to your diet - whether that is a protein drink or protein bar, just increase your amount a little for the days that you do your strength training. You may take in a few more calories on those days, but, you'll also be burning more calories, so, don't worry so much. Keep the rest of your nutrition/food the same. You will notice a slight gain in weight (under 5 pounds)the first week, but, keep drinking the water and make sure you are getting your protein and it will come off again. Remember, the more muscle you have, the more your metabolism has to work to 'feed' the muscle.
When I added the strength training, I did notice some weight gain, but,this time, I was told ahead of time to expect it. I think that if you don't know it's coming, you can get a little discouraged and even 'quit.' If you are starting week 5, you are still in that 'zone' where most people quit. so, don't quit. Know what is coming and be prepared to accept it and work past it. Because -- you can.