Lift Weight To Lose Weight
This is a friendly “it’s the beginning of 2014″ reminder. If you are a person who needs to lose weight, besides paying careful attention to the foods you are eating, you should also try to incorporate some kind of strength training into your routine.
Actually, the title of this post should be “Lift Weight To Get Lean” because depending on how much weight you have to lose (if it’s only like ten or fifteen pounds), if you lift weight, you may in fact, gain weight (because muscle weighs more than fat).
Make no mistake however, strength training will not leave you disappointed. It will give you a shape you never knew was possible. It can make a rear end where there wasn’t much of one to begin with. It can add curves to shoulders, legs, and arms. It can lift your chest, tighten your core. Sadly however, most people are focused on the number on the scale, not the overall composition of their bodies. I needed to get the attention of THOSE people, and have them read this – hence my choice of title.
Whether it’s doing ten pushups every morning, taking part in some kind of “squat” challenge, going to an interval class at the gym, carrying a bag of kitty litter up and down the stairs a few times, moving rocks in your garden, or all of the above, building lean muscle is one of the best ways to shed the pounds.
A lot of people try to lose weight by doing cardio. Jogging, biking, walking, swimming, it’s all great, but if you are doing those things and you aren’t getting the results you want, don’t be afraid to shake it up a little. Substituting two or three days per week with strength training is exactly what you need.
Before I continue, I should make something clear. Strength training doesn’t necessarily mean lifting actual weights. It can involve a lot of different body-weight training techniques. It can involve plyometrics or power movements. It can – as I said earlier – be as simple as moving rocks around in your garden. It’s about moving your body against resistance, and you can implement that in a variety of ways.
So get off that treadmill, forget about the elliptical machine, and add more to your workouts than just jogging. If you are not sure how to start, I’ve included a few good links at the bottom of this post. Also remember, you could get a video and do the exercises at home. Lots of videos these days are targeted toward people who have very little time and/or equipment. There’s good stuff out there.
If you already belong to a gym, why not hire a trainer to get you started? Many people think that this is too expensive, and that it means forever. Not true. While hiring a trainer for one session is pretty much a waste of time and money, hiring someone for maybe one session a week for six weeks is quite reasonable. After that, a follow-up every few months could work. We don’t all need to be Jennifer Aniston and work out with a trainer five days a week for the rest of our lives.
One thing I would warn against – don’t plan to learn from someone you think knows what they are doing in this regard. I’ve seen a lot – and I mean a LOT – of people out there who have been exercising and lifting weights for years, and they still have bad form. They STILL do some weird stuff. Trust your well-being to a professional. It’s hard to judge what’s what when you don’t know anything. Be careful. Strength training can offer great results, but if you do it wrong, you can also hurt yourself. It’s not as simple as going for a walk in the park.
Now, if you are still questioning what I’m telling you, think about this – have you ever seen a fat body builder? Sure, they may be “too muscular” for your liking, but lean and proportionate is the name of their game. Also remember that those big muscles aren’t something you are likely to get. It takes years – quite literally – for a person to look like that. It often takes ingesting “supplements” as well, if you know what I’m saying.
Eating healthy and exercising regularly – even lifting heavy weights or doing strenuous activity – is not, let me repeat NOT, going to turn you into The Rock, especially if you are a woman. For females, it is extremely hard for us to build big muscles, no matter what we do. Bodybuilders, both male and female, spend like four or five hours in the gym every day. Unless you plan to do that, you have nothing to worry about.
Bottom line: lean muscle burns more energy than fat. What’s the best way to get lean muscle? Strength training. Thus, if you want to lose weight, you should do it.