So you’re happy with your weight, but want to tighten those wobbly bits without losing kilos?

Fitness for firming - Women's Health & Fitness

Weight management

The science behind weight loss and maintaining your current weight can be quiet confusing. So here it is in a nutshell:

If you consume the same amount of kilojoules (kj or energy) each day as you burn, then you will maintain your current weight. If you want to lose a few kilos you need to consume less kilojoules than you burn. It is as simple as that!

What is energy?

You need energy to live – you need it to move, from walking to running and everything in between. The higher intensity and the longer you exercise for, the more energy you will burn.

Your body also needs energy for digestion, muscle growth and repair as well as to pump blood to vital organs. Energy comes from the food we eat, our body breaks down carbohydrates, sugars and fats and turns them into energy. When energy is not immediately required, it is stored in our body as fat.

How much energy do I need?

To workout exactly how much energy you need each day can be quite confusing. You need to take into account many factors including your age, sex, body size and the amount of exercise you do each day. On average, a woman needs about 6000 to 8000 kjs a day, less if she wants  to lose weight, possibly more if she does a lot of physical activity. However, this can differ between each woman.

Where should I get my energy from?

Different types of food provide a different amount of energy. Carbohydrates and proteins provide about 17 kjs per gram, while fat gives you 38 kjs per gram. This is why people who want to lose weight stick to a low- fat diet.

How do I tone up?

Resistance or weight-training is one of the most effective ways to develop stronger, leaner and more defined muscles. Weight- training also helps speed up your metabolism through muscle growth, while strengthening bone mass.

Any form of exercise will tone your muscles to some extent, some more than others. While weight-training is one of the top ways to tone up you can also achieve results through other types of exercise, such as yoga, Pilates and even cardio training.

How do I avoid getting bulky?

It is a lot harder for women to increase muscle size through weight-training than men, simply because they don’t have enough muscle building hormones in their body. However, there are a few things you can do to promote firm and lean muscles.

• Use light weights for longer.

• Do 15 to 20 reps of each exercise two or three times.

• Don’t forget the importance
of stretching.

• Stretching improves flexibility, and promotes longer, leaner muscles. It also prevents injury and soreness the next day.

Mix it up:

Do a variety of exercises to tone your whole body, rather than constantly focusing on just a few major muscles.

Do I still need cardio exercise if I don’t want to lose weight?

Yes. Cardio training is important for your health, it helps prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure and increases fitness levels. It is possible to do cardio training and strength training at the same time, through circuits, intervals and high-intensity weight-training. Cardio can also help reduce the amount of fat on your body, which can cover muscles making you look less toned.