If you punch “weight loss” into the internet search engine of your choice you will discover the many options you have to pursue. I have no problem saying there are probably millions of articles, websites, and business devoted to helping people lose weight. But, is that really what you are in search of?
My guess is that you just think that you want to lose some weight, but in reality it has nothing to do with how much the scale says you weigh, or how many pounds you want to “lose.” It is more likely that you want to look better and feel better physically and emotionally. That doesn’t come from “weight loss” that comes from fat loss and learning about yourself and what you are capable of (hint: you can lift more than that).
In my experience dealing with personal training clients they think that just losing weight in general will get them to where they want to be. If you’re one of the people I have been lucky enough to train you have definitely heard me say “the scale just says a number, it doesn’t define you as a person” or “The scale is just a tool to measure where you were and where you are now.” Guess what, I have to tell them all more than once…repeatedly actually… Our society is so stuck on the term “weight loss” that it is now ingrained into everyone’s head, and health professionals sometimes have a hard time breaking through that thick skull people develop. But it isn’t about the number the scale says, looking good and “fit” comes from fat loss. Fat loss comes from 2 main things, #1 is eating better. Improving your nutrition will go a long ways in helping you find that former athlete or looking good in that 2 piece bikini. But #2 is often overlooked when people are trying to “lose weight” and that is strength training. AKA lifting weights. Yes ladies you need to keep reading this, guys (most guys) have no issue going to the gym and throwing the iron around, but for some reason a lot of ladies shy away from that part of the gym. That is a shame because there are so many benefits of strength training.
Strength training helps your muscle stay fuller, which is what makes you look good while rocking that bikini. “But I don’t want to get huge…” If I had a nickel for every time I heard that… I would be a millionaire already, that’s just in 5 years of personal training. You do not get “huge” just from lifting weights, there is a lot more to it than that. If it was that easy I would look like Mr. Schwarzenegger, and I don’t… It takes a lot of nutrition, rep ranges, rest periods, volume of work, the right hormones, etc in order to get huge. So ladies, don’t worry about getting huge unless you are secretly taking testosterone or steroids.
I’m not saying cardio is a bad thing, it definitely has its place in the fitness world. But, If you aren’t strength training…well, you should be. Doing only cardio will help you lose weight, definitely. But it won’t get you beach ready. It will get you, what we say in the fitness world, “skinny fat.” That isn’t what you want. Yes that means you weigh next to nothing, but it also means you have no muscle. You look thin with your clothes on, but with them off you look…skinny fat, with no definition. Definition brings curves, you want curves (I’m sure that’s a great tag word ladies will love to hear).
If that doesn’t get you lifting, then here are a few more reasons that you should incorporate strength training into your weekly workout plan:
1) It helps you stay leaner. Once you lose the unwanted fat strength training helps you to keep those muscles working for hours after your training session. When you lift weights you are making tiny tears in your muscle fibers, that’s a good thing, and it takes hours/days for them to rebuild. Which means that your body is working hard to recover, and that translates into more calories burned while you are resting, at work, or watching that new season of Orange Is The New Black
2) It keeps your bones strong. Putting heavy stress on your bones (weight training) causes your body to reinforce them with the nutrients you take in. So lifting weights will help to keep your from breaking your hip when you are 90 years old. Your old self, will thank you for that.
3) My favorite one… It makes you stronger. After strength training you will develop the super human strength to carry all of the grocery bags into the house at once. No thanks superman, supermom has this under control! But seriously, strength training will help you to be able to lift up your kids, move boxes without hurting your back, or push your kids really high in the underdog swing move.
4) It helps to prevent other diseases. Heart disease is the leading killer in the Unites States. Lifting weights improves your heart strength. Jump rope for heart should really be turned into pushups for heart. Maybe I’ll start that… That’s just the beginning, Diabetes and glucose levels can be controlled or reduced (depending on which type) with strength training and healthy lifestyle changes. It can also help with arthritis pain, I bet you wouldn’t have guessed that!
and the last one I’ll mention is
5) It can help reduce stress and improve your mood! Strength training can increase your endorphins (happy chemicals in your brain), it has been proven to be an amazing antidepressant tool, and it makes you feel freaking strong (refer to #3) lifting heavy weights! That always makes me feel good about myself!
So I’ll end with this. Don’t go in search of weight loss, go in search of fat loss, through strength training! You’ll be happier, you’ll be stronger, and you’ll be even more amazing!
In the weights I (we?) trust,