Two Common Questions with Weight-Loss Training
Seeing and working with people who are making positive health changes in their lives is one of the most exciting aspects of being a trainer and coach. My charter is to help those with the desire to improve by helping them reach their goals in a safe, healthy, and efficient manner. But even if I’m not in the gym with you, I want to make sure you train the right way, free of inaccurate data false perceptions. This is why I’d like to tackle a couple of very basic questions surrounding exercise that could be preventing you from making the most of your exercise time.
One of the common questions that come to mind is whether it’s ok to lift weights as part of a weight loss plan. The answer is absolutely, “YES.” It’s a common misconception that weight training will add unsightly muscles, particularly in females. While it’s true that weight training will add muscle, rest assured that it won’t lead to noticeable bulk…unless you lift and eat in very specific ways. Think about it this way – body builders (both male and female) follow very strict dietary and weight training regimens. Unless your training is similar, don’t expect to see the same type of muscle gains.
Another point to consider is that we all have muscle, but it’s usually covered by excess fat. If weight loss is your goal, and you are able to reach that goal, muscle will show. However it will appear as more of the ‘toned’ look that so many people strive for.
There are two more reasons to incorporate weight training in your weight-loss regimen. First, resistance training makes us all more capable human beings and reduces the risk of injury. Even bodyweight training is a very effective form of resistance training. Secondly, weight training helps tremendously with weight loss. In addition to calories burned through cardiovascular activity, muscle burns fat calories all the time…even while you sleep! Therefore, to lose more fat, increase your muscle mass.
Another question I often get is this, “Do I need to incorporate different forms of cardio (elliptical, stairs, etc.), or should I focus on running since it burns the most calories?” Running is a great way to burn calories, but other forms of cardio can have benefits as well. Popular fitness methods such as P90X and Crossfit base their workouts on the theme of variety, and typically get results based on exercise intensity.
Variety is an important part of any exercise routine. If one form of exercise is used exclusively, the body becomes very efficient at that exercise mode and eventually burns fewer calories per session. Keeping the body guessing with different forms of exercise makes the body more versatile and makes for better weight loss results.
It’s fine to include different types of cardiovascular activity in your exercise routine. If you have time, energy, and a place to run, go for it! If the weather is bad and you prefer not to use a treadmill that day, hop on the stair climber or the elliptical. Are your legs a bit tired from previous workouts? Try the row machine. The point is to exercise…period. Even the lowest calorie-burning cardio machine is better than no exercise at all.
Remember, variety is an important part of your exercise goals, including the goal of weight loss. Variety includes different forms of cardio as well as resistance or weight training, and a varied routine keeps things enjoyable! If you’re not quite ready for the weights, bodyweight exercises absolutely fit the bill when it comes to resistance training. Be sure to incorporate resistance training, cardiovascular exercise, and sound diet choices to reach your weight loss goals.