One of the biggest battles I fight with all my female clients is the war over “getting too bulky.” I understand what these ladies are talking about. Before I became a trainer I always had trainers and my biggest concern was getting too “bulky.” Women are constantly arguing with me that they want to do low weights with high repetitions because all they are interested in doing is toning. The other question I am constantly asked is “What do you do for cardio?” Most people’s jaws drop to the floor when I reply “I never do cardio!” People find it hard to understand how I stay slim if I am not slogging it out on the treadmill everyday. The answer my dears…. I lift!
There are many reasons why lifting heavy weights is key for weight loss. Losing fat involves raising your metabolism. A pound of muscle burns 10-20 calories a day while a pound of fat burns only 5. That means that any growth in your muscle tissue is going to help you burn more calories all day long. Increasing your metabolic rate helps you burn more calories even when you are resting. Muscle takes up less space than fat so the more muscle you have the slimmer you look because muscle is more dense and compact than fat. Studies in recent years have shown that lifting heavy weights is excellent for improving joint mobility, bone density body composition and relieving anxiety and stress.
Women are always worried that they are going to end up looking like a female bodybuilder if they lift heavy weights. I am constantly having to remind them that these women are eating in a certain way and most probably taking hormones and steroids to achieve that type of aesthetic. It is simply not that easy for women to achieve that type of look because we do not have enough testosterone in our bodies to support that level of muscle gain. Even men have to drink protein shakes and vast amounts of protein to achieve muscle gains.
Ladies if you want to look stronger but still look toned and slim then my advice is to lift heavier weights with fewer repetitions because this boosts your metabolism. You should be able to perform about 8 repetitions at about 85% of your capability with your muscle feeling tired but not exhausted at the end. Doing this makes your muscle more dense but not bigger which is a good thing for women.
Also in my experience lifting weights quickly has worked very effectively as cardio. The myth especially amongst women is that cardio like running on the treadmill is the ultimate fat burner, but the effects stop the second you hop off that treadmill. Lifting heavy weights can count as cardio. The idea that you have to separate the two is an old school notion. If you lift heavy weights faster you will get stronger and get breathless at the same time. You will elevate your heart rate and as a result sweat profusely. Done correctly you will be sweating as much as if you did a session on the treadmill. Sometimes when I do a weighted circuit session I look as though I have taken a shower with my clothes on so I know that training in this way can give you far better results than just doing cardio.
I think it is important to remember, lifting heavy weights is not something you should walk into blindly if you are someone who feels they are unsure about resistance training. It’s important as a beginner that you build your strength up gradually over a period of weeks to ensure you don’t injure yourself. When I first decided I wanted to step off the treadmill and really see my body change I enlisted the help of a trainer who was able to guide me and show me proper technique and form. If you have never worked with weights then I would suggest finding a trainer who can show you how to perform exercises properly. It is extremely easy to injure yourself by performing exercises with poor form.
I am such a believer that weight training is key for weight management that at my company Kinetic we offer weight loss camps that are geared around resistance training. We see people shrink over a period of 12 weeks by setting out a program that incorporates resistance training, boxing and plyometrics alongside a balanced diet that we provide to ensure you stay on track. This is a really great way to kick start your fitness regime as you get visual results in the 12 week period which encourages you to then continue on the path you have started.
If you are interested in participating in our next camp which launches on May 6Th2019 then contact us at Kinetic for more information and advice on how to get started on achieving a better version of yourself.
Photography By: Chanaka Hettiarachchi