By Josh Willis (Fitness Instructor & PT)
Want to find out about the REAL benefits of weight lifting?
I’m going to go through the benefits of weight training for woman and explain that what you are currently doing in the gym may not be benefiting you as much as you think.
As you know, diet plays a huge part in achieving your goals, but in this article I’m going to focus more on what you do in the gym! I’ll attempt to change your perception of the free weights area from an ‘intimidating’ place to your favourite area in the gym.
I’m going to take a guess and say that your two main goals are to lose weight and ‘tone up’ to get that ‘beach body’ look? To achieve these goals, you’re obviously going to have to spend about 80% of your time in the gym doing cardio, then rep out as many sit ups as possible and use light weights to ‘tone’ those arms. Right? Wrong! What if I told you that you can achieve these goals without spending hour after hour on a treadmill or cross trainer?
What if I also told you that you can accelerate fat loss in a quicker way than cardio? I’m going to argue that steady pace endurance exercise, which is what most people refer to as ‘cardio’ or ‘aerobics’ is over rated as a tool for fat loss and explain why weight training should be included in your sessions!
If you compare the number of calories burned straight after steady state cardio with the number burned straight after weight training, steady state wins comfortably. So, I get it. You want to lose weight, so a long session on the treadmill sounds like your best bet. It probably seems like you’d spend most of your time resting than you do actually exercising. There’s more to it than that! Let’s consider the after burn.
You may have burned more calories immediately after by doing a long cardio session, but what about 12 hours later? Strength training will burn a higher amount of calories for many hours after you leave the gym meaning a greater number burned overall by performing weight training sessions. Your RMR (Resting Metabolic rate) will also increase by using weights. Your RMR is the rate at which you burn calories at rest. What more could you want than to burn more calories than you used to even by just sitting down?!
You’ve now learned how that using weights is a great way to accelerate fat loss. So how do we measure this? I’m sure when measuring weight; most of you will go by the total number that the scales give you. You need to take your attention away from this number and start to focus on decreasing your fat percentage and increasing your muscle mass because, as you now know, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn! Muscle is an active tissue, whereas fat is just sitting there being fat! Let’s start lifting some weights to achieve this!
Taking this all in? I hope so, as I haven’t finished yet! I’ve gone through some reasons as to why weight training is beneficial for weight loss. Now for some information about the other goal of yours, ‘toning’. People generally use this term to refer to making your muscles tighter and more visible. The truth is, you can’t directly tone a muscle however you can have a ‘toned’ look. This is by adding muscle and reducing fat meaning you’ll be more defined, leaner and keep curves! I hear it a lot – ‘I want to tone up, not get muscular’. Hopefully you’ve now realised that having that ‘beach body’ appearance requires bigger, stronger muscles! A muscle fibre in a woman is no different from a muscle fibre in a man so is trained in exactly the same way.
Use weights. Lift heavy. You won’t look back!