June's Goal: Add strength training to your fitness regimen at least two times per week.
Credit: Randy Mayor

By now you’re doing ­cardio at least 30 minutes, three times a week—the 12HH goal from February. Now, add strength training to your fitness regimen at least two times per week.

The benefits of strength training go beyond strength: Lean muscle burns calories more efficiently than fat, even when your body is at rest. But it’s hard to overstate how important strength training can be for reducing the risk, the symptoms, and the progression of chronic conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

Even though you probably know how good strength training can be, you still may not be doing it enough, if at all—because of your super-busy schedule, or because you have little clue how to get started. It’s intimidating to do muscle work: You walk into the gym and stare, intimidated, at the profusion of metal and machines—and decide to just do more cardio.

Don’t be intimidated, says Myatt Murphy, CSCS, author of The Body You Want in the Time You Have. Here, he offers tips and advice to help you get started with strength training and keep you motivated to keep it up. Visit our Strength Training Guide for more ­advice, tips, and workout routines.

What you need to know: Strength training is defined as the use of resistance to build muscle size and strength. Strength-training plans vary by age and fitness level. Do not increase your exercise level without consulting a doctor first.