More muscle doesn’t make you bulky or ‘big’ – it makes you awesome! And, when you do it the right way, you can fight the aging process with ease by feeling and looking the best you ever have. In fact, just three times a week and at thirty minutes a session, you can tone and tighten your body to a model-like physique. Here’s how to get it done.

If You Aren’t Strength Training, You’re Losing Muscle Mass
Starting at the age of 30, you begin losing between .5-1 percent of your muscle mass every ten years—and if you’re already living a sedentary lifestyle, that rate can increase between 3-5 percent. Otherwise known as sarcopenia, it effects even active people, and is likely to speed up around the age of 65, or later. Some reasons as to why this occurs? It could be a number of factors, including:
• Your body’s new inability to turn protein into energy;
• Not getting enough protein each day to support the needs of your muscle mass;
• Not getting enough calories each day to support the needs of your muscle mass;
• The change and/or imbalance of hormones, such as testosterone.

Other Benefits to Strengthening and Toning
Adding strength training to your weekly workouts can create a more alert body and mind. For example, focusing on three, thirty-minute strength sessions each week can improve your stress levels. It will also help you become more alert at work, achieve a higher attention to detail, and improve your focus, according to a recent study done by Columbia University.

It will raise your heart rate, so as you’re lifting, pressing and pushing your weights, you’re actually changing how your body looks. For example, two people can weigh the exact same weight (let’s say they weigh 140 lbs.), with one just restricting their calories, and doing cardio, while the other eats a higher calorie diet, and focuses on both cardio and strength training—yet, the latter looks 20 lbs. thinner than the other (who doesn’t strength train.)

As a beginner, there are several different types of strength training you can do, including:
• Elastic band training
• Body weight training
• Exercise ball training
• Weight training

If the weight room (or equipment) makes you feel intimidated, hiring a personal trainer for a few introductory sessions is a great way to build the confidence and knowledge you need to succeed. Start off with a comfortable weight, and take it slow and steady. This isn’t a race—this is your health—and a healthy body will improve your mental alertness, strength, and focus.