Should you lift weights when trying to lose weight?
What mental images do you conjure up when you think of weight training?
Dark, noisy, warehouse buildings full of grunting muscled men that all look like extras from the film ‘300’?
Or perhaps vast, mirrored studios surrounded by lycra clad 20-year old bikini models, all following along to a group workout in perfect sync?
Whatever your preconceptions, the goal of this article is to get you thinking a little bit more about the benefits of training with weights & the important role it can play in a successful weight loss plan.
Is weight loss really your only goal?
I’m going to go out on a limb & assume something. If you’re reading this & you are trying to lose weight, I would hazard a guess that one of the reasons you want to lose weight is to improve the way you feel your body looks. To change your figure so your clothes fit a little better, or maybe to feel slightly more confident when going out.
If I’m right in my assumption, then really your goal is not solely one of weight loss
-although monitoring your weight can be a useful thing to do & is something I track with a lot of my Personal Training clients-
but more one of positive changes to your shape.
How much would you care about your weight if you looked exactly the way you wanted to?
Probably not that much, right?
This is the difference between losing weight & changing your physique.
Weight loss 101
When you lose weight over a prolonged period of time, simply put it can come from two places: body fat or muscle mass.
Muscle mass, although sometimes thought of as quite a scary thing
-visions of turning into Arnold Schwarzenegger suddenly pop up in your head-
is what provides your body with shape & definition. Those toned arms & shoulders you want rely on a healthy level of body fat but also a healthy amount of muscle mass.
If your weight loss plan, places no focus toward building or maintaining your muscle then you risk losing some of it as your weight comes down.
You lose what you don’t use!
If this happens, then yes you will still lose weight & yes you will still get physically smaller, but you won’t end up with the toned & shaped figure that you actually wanted.
You’ve only achieved part of your goal.
How do I make sure the weight I do lose comes from body fat?
Two of the best ways to direct your weight loss towards body fat & away from muscle are to
(1) Eat a diet with adequate protein rich foods (a topic for another day)
(2) Regularly exercise your muscles
Training with weights will not only burn some extra calories helping to speed up the weight loss process, but importantly protect your muscle mass helping you to achieve & maintain the shaped & defined physique you wanted.
But what if I get too bulky?
Building large amounts of muscle takes years of hard work & very deliberate changes to diet.
It will not happen overnight & it will not happen accidentally.
No one has ever gone to bed looking like Holly Willoughby & woken up suddenly resembling ‘The Rock’.
It will not happen.
If you don’t believe me, check out some of my recent client results. They all followed plans that included regular weight training.
So where do I start?
It has never been easier to start training with weights. Gone are the days where weight training was confined to basement gyms. Commercial gym facilities now place a lot of focus toward making it accessible to all & weight training equipment is becoming more & more user friendly. Why not pop into your local gym to see whats on offer?
Check locally for any fitness classes that may be available to you. I myself run a Saturday morning Gym Bootcamp that’s always open to new attendees. A lot of group fitness takes place in town & community halls- find out what’s going on in your area.
Or if you prefer to exercise from home, get online & have a look at all of the home exercise equipment that’s out there. A pair of weights or a kettlebell is all you need to get going.
Whatever form your weight training takes, the important bit is simply to get started.
I wish you the best of luck & if there’s anything I can help with please don’t hesitate to get in touch
October 23, 2019