Happy 2014 to you! Even though it’s been so cold and not exactly motivating, how are you doing with sticking to your beginning of the year goals? Notice I didn’t use “resolution” and that was on purpose…goals are specific and have an end point. I hope you are continuing to work towards those goals, especially the health and fitness ones.
One major component of a successful and healthy weight loss is weight training. Nearly every one of my clients has a goal to “get toned.” This is impossible without some sort of weight training. The good news is that it can also help with weight loss!
First let me dispel a few myths. The first one is that lifting weights will NOT make you look like a bodybuilder. To achieve the “bodybuilder” look, it takes a specific type of training program that includes specific nutrition and weight room requirements. Women are particularly fearful of weights, yet they are needed for that toned look they are trying to achieve. So don’t worry about looking like Arnold while you’re losing body fat.
Another myth is actually a misstatement. Muscle does not indeed weigh more than fat. A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat. The difference is density – muscle is much more dense than fat. While a pound of muscle might be the size of a fist, a pound of fat is about three times that size. Muscle takes up less space than fat. Because of this, I encourage my clients to keep one eye on the scale, but focus on how their clothes fit. On a related note, muscle has a higher energy requirement than fat; you can increase your metabolism by building muscle and simply burn more calories sitting still. Not a bad thought, huh.
So hopefully I have convinced you that weight training is pretty awesome, especially when it comes to weight loss. Now, what is the best way to approach it? Here’s what I tell my clients, it’s pretty simple to follow. In order to make your weight training also aerobic (keep your heart rate up to work on the fat burn), try to do supersets. Perform a set of one exercise, do another in an opposing muscle group. Add a quick cardio burst such as jumping jacks, sit-ups or lunges and then repeat the entire set. A good rule of thumb when you’re looking for opposing muscles is if you work the front, work the back. Example: bicep curls superset with pushups and then jump rope for one minute. Need help with exercises? Think back to your PE days, check out YouTube and/or consult with a certified personal trainer.
Don’t forget that clean eating and cardio are also critical to reaching your goal appearance! Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes. See you at the gym!