You probably think that a woman who lifts weights is probably a she-hulk who is bursting out of her shirt with scary shiny rippling muscles and is busting open doors with her pinky toe and benching 150lb weights while napping. Yikes!
If that were the case, I would have immediately packed my bags and moved far far away from any dumb-bell or bench press. Or hid under my bed forever and ever.
Because you’re right, seeing weight lifting like that is damn scary, especially if you are just looking to tone and lose weight.
And I am happy to say that lifting weights means something completely different than the stereotype. In fact, women who lift weights will experience 40% more fat-loss, than women who just do cardio alone. And guess what? they will lose the same amount of weight too.
Here are some good reasons why adding weight lifting to your gym workout routine will benefit you in the long run.
Lifting Weights Helps Keep the Weight Off
Like many, I thought if I wanted to lose weight and burn fat, I can just simply hop on the treadmill and run for 50+ minutes as well as eat a good diet. Unfortunately, life is not that simple.
While that does work for losing weight, you probably are not setting yourself up to maintain the weight effectively in the long term.
A study was conducted that actually revealed women who did cardio and lifted weights while maintaining a good diet not only lost the same amount of weight, but they also lost more fat overall than their other female counterparts who simply dieted or just did cardio and dieted.
And there was another study that was conducted revealing women who just did cardiovascular activity had weight loss that was 75% fat and 25% muscle loss.
Now muscle loss will show a lower number on the scale for sure, but it doesn’t look too great physique wise (no muscle definition or real toning) and it will be easier to gain the flab back because you lost fat-burning muscle potential, thereby negating all your hard work.
On the other hand, weight lifting does not cause muscle loss; instead lifting will help you burn more fat and strengthen your muscles to help keep the fat off, because you are protecting the muscles that are natural fat-burning machines.
See what I mean? The more muscle you have in your body, the higher capability your body has to burn fat.
More Calorie-burning Potential
Here is a cool relationship between weight lifting and your muscles; when you work the major muscle groups when lifting, the calorie burning does not stop there. In fact, studies show that people who worked out 3 major muscle groups while lifting maintained a raised metabolism that lasted 39 hours after the workout!
So basically, muscle eats your calories even when you’re not active. So ideally, if you replace 10lbs of fat with 10lbs of muscle, you have the ability to burn an extra 25 to 50 calories a day whilst just sitting on the couch!
Workout out SMARTER, not longer
I used to believe I had to be on the treadmill for 1 hour to burn the calories I wanted to burn. And every time I thought about the huge chunk of time the gym/exercising was taking from my day, I would dread the trip…eventually leading me to not show up for 40 days.
Fortunately enough, a workout that involves weight lifting can be shorter, but extremely effective in getting you to the same weight loss goal.
A study revealed that people who did circuit training with weights raised their heart rate by 15 beats per minute, which is higher than running at 60 or 70 percent of your max heart rate. This approach gives you the same cardiovascular benefits as aerobic exercise, in a shorter amount of time.
Look really good naked
This to me is always the biggest test, whether I feel comfortable looking at my own bare bodied self in the mirror and not feel grossed out.
Like I mentioned before, adding a weight lifting element to your workouts not only help you lose more fat, but you gain more muscle, which takes about 1/3 of the space that fat does. That means you are looking leaner with beautiful muscle definition (not bulky, mind you!), just toned!
So what can you do to add more weights into your exercise regimen?
Start your weight training sessions three times a week, and if you want to get a good calorie burn, aim for total-body workouts that target your arms, legs, core, and back…like squats, which use both the front and back of your legs, and bench presses, which work your core and upper body.
I have alternated my workouts in the past to do upper body one day (bench presses, shoulder presses, tricep extensions, etc.), and switch to lower body (deadlifts, squats, leg curls, etc.) the next day.
If you are starting out, I would recommend doing 10-12 reps with weights heavy enough to fatigue your muscles so that by your last rep, you can’t do another one without breaking good form. If you’re not sure, start with lighter weights and work your way up until you figure out the right weight for you.
To build some more muscle, some doctors recommend alternating with lighter weights doing 12-15 reps as well as super-heavy weights for 3-5 reps.
Whatever you choose to do, always remember to keep good lifting form; it guarantees your safety when lifting so you do not incur any injuries while working out. So treat your body right!
One really amazing program I have started using is the Master’s Hammer &Chisel, a fitness program that combines the effectiveness of weight lifting with aerobic exercise to help burn fat, develop more muscle mass (no bulking here I promise!), tone your muscles, and lose weight without spending hours at the gym.
This program has been developed by two world class trainers, Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese (creator of the 21-day Fix woot woot!) who specialize in both strength, toning, and endurance training. They have developed a 60-day workout plan that teaches you proper lifting form, helps you sculpt your body with targeted workouts to work all the right areas of your body, and lets you have some fun in the process.
A big focus about this fitness program are the 3 body transformation phases-Strength, Stabilization, and Power (SSP) training. Most workouts you do at the gym may not always incorporate all three phases; Master’s Hammer & Chisel puts all these phases together into a comprehensive rotation of hardcore strength training that helps rapidly build, refine, and sculpt every inch of your body.
These at-home workouts are specifically designed to effectively give you a full-body strength training and cardio in just 30-40 minutes without ever having to step outside to a gym, thereby giving you the freedom to grunt and yell during your reps without scaring everybody.
Plus, these workouts come with a 30-day supply of Shakeology and a detailed nutrition plan with the world famous 21-Day Fix containers to help guide you on the right types of food to feed your muscles for fast proper recovery, to give you the proper portion control techniques, and to prepare you for your next workout without feeling completely sore or zapped of energy.
I dabbled with weight-lifting in my younger days, and I definitely have not forgotten how much of a pain it was to go: I spent at least 1.5 hours in the gym everyday; I hated those long lines to get to an available set of dumb-bells or weight machines; I hated having to clean unwashed machines that other gym users never bothered to take care of, and I especially hated that when I would finally get to use the machines, I would try to avoid all the glares from everyone waiting to use my machine.
Basically, the whole “going-to-the-gym” experience kind of sucked. So of course, I had a bad taste in my mouth about the whole “weight-lifting” thing..in fact, I had a bad taste in my mouth about fitness in general. It wasn’t until I experienced some early emerging health problems with alopecia that I realized a well-balanced diet with the right portions combined with exercise was really the only natural way to stop my hair from falling out.
Interested in doing Hammer and Chisel? Let’s do it together and join my challenge group 🙂
So, I knew it was important to choose an exercise that I would be excited about and want to do everyday. With the Master’s Hammer & Chisel program, I was pretty nervous; so, I started a Hammer and Chisel challenge group on Facebook, so that my friends and I can jump into this program together, share the pain and gains, keep each other accountable to our own health goals, and follow good clean eating practices as outlined in the nutrition guide.
All in all, I really do enjoy the Master’s Hammer & Chisel program because of the slow-but-steady burn and rep-style training with dumb-bells. It’s not as scary as it looks, but it is tough; and even as a coach, I need all the encouragement and accountability I can get, especially with my fellow challengers within the challenge group.
Ready to rock with your Hammer and Chisel Program? Apply to my next challenge group!
What do you girls think about weight-lifting? Please comment and share!