Yep it’s true – lifting weights is the best way to reshape your body! If you’re on a mission to trim and tone, then you need to get some resistance work in your routine!
All too often people shy away from the weights area of the gym for fear of bulking up / not burning many calories / not knowing what to do / feeling embarrassed or a combination of all 4. So let me address these 1 by 1.
This is a common misconception amongst females, who believe that the second they lift a barbell or a dumbbell, they’ll start looking like a scary bodybuilder. This just isn’t true ladies! Building lean muscle is essential for a strong and healthy body into our older years and prevents our bodies from becoming soft and flabby. Women have much, much less testosterone than men and as such it would be extremely difficult to end up looking like Arnie unless on a strict bodybuilding routine and diet and likely taking steroids as well. Yes men have an easier job of building visible muscle growth but again to look like a bodybuilder, you need to train and eat like one too and the average person just looking to drop some excess weight and shape up will not need to train and eat in that manner. Building lean muscle tissue creates the tight and toned shape that we all desire and this can only be achieved by essentially damaging the muscle fibres through resistance work, so that they grow back bigger and stronger.
Not burning many calories
This is a common fear of those who like their cardio and whose workouts are often dictated by the ‘calories used’ display on the cardio machines. Unfortunately this can often cause an unhealthy mindset with the person not wanting to get off the machine until they’ve reached a certain calorie value. As explained above though, lifting weights builds up more muscle – and muscle uses up more energy than fat meaning that a person with a higher proportion of lean muscle mass than someone with less, will automatically burn more calories throughout the day, even when at rest, as their metabolic rate will be naturally higher. Muscle is also denser than fat meaning that whilst a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle, the muscle takes up less space. And yep you’ve guessed it – this means a tighter bodyshape and a smaller waist. And who doesn’t want that?!
Not knowing what to do
No-one knows what to do when they’re first starting out!! A new way of training will naturally present more questions – should I use free weights or machines? How much weight? How many reps? And so on. If you’re in a gym then ask a qualified Instructor to show you some exercises and put together a basic routine for you, or if you’re working out at home you can book a one off session with a Personal Trainer just to help you get the basics in place. Whilst there is a wealth of information on the internet I would recommend that if you’re completely new, you ask a qualified professional first who can check your technique and ensure you’re not putting yourself in danger of injury. You don’t need to get fancy in the early stages – just build on the basics. And don’t forget that resistance training isn’t solely about lifting dumbbells and barbell – bodyweight, kettlebells, resistance bands and suspension training – amongst others – can all be just as effective.
Honestly, this is such a common issue for those in a gym! But after a few sessions to build your confidence, you really won’t give it a second thought. If you look around, most people have got their headphones stuck in and everyone is too busy concentrating on what they’re doing, to be having a nosey at what you’re up to! Think about it – how often are you there really focussing on someone else’s workout or laughing at what they’re doing, or staring at them, horrified by how pink or sweaty they are? Never!! And trust me – no one else is going to do it to you either.
So there you have it. As a Trainer these are the most common reasons I hear as to why people don’t include resistance work in their training but these soon fall the wayside once people get started, get more confident and feel the benefits. If any of the above apply to you, get in touch and let me help you.