Losing weight is not easy is it?
Arggghh nothing lost this week *sad face.
But, if you’re
skipping the weight room in favour of more cardio sessions, you could
be short changing yourself and making your weight loss journey harder
than it needs to be.
I know it sounds a
bit wrong, lift weights to lose weight, we’ve been conditioned to
think long cardio workouts are the way to go, but please, before you
write off strength training, have a read of this…
But before we get
onto the juicy bit, how to lose weight with strength training, I want
to dispel, or at least try and dispel a myth that just doesn’t want
to go away.
will not make you look bulky.
Weight training will
not make you look like a man.
Weight lifting, even
with heavy weights, will not make you look like a body builder.
will help you to lose weight. It will help your body look defined or
‘toned’. It will help you look athletic.
Listen, no-one ever
became a body builder by accident. It takes months, if not years of
You have to make the
decision to become a body builder and every aspect of your life has
to be aligned towards those goals.
Your workouts, daily
workouts, have to be structured and periodised towards building
muscle and then fat loss.
Your diet has to be
well planned and your calorie intake has to be monitored and tracked
very closely. You’d need to be in a calorie surplus while you’re
in the muscle building phase, and a calorie deficit while you’re in
the fat loss phase.
chocolate or other deviation from these will mess with your ultimate
It really is tough.
You won’t look like a body builder unless you want to look like a
And if you’re
still not convinced, men have about 20% more testosterone than we do,
and testosterone is vital for building muscle.
Please stop worrying
about looking manly.
It’s not going to happen with a couple strength workouts a few.
Ok, so how exactly
does strength training help with weight loss?
Well, there are a
The whole idea of
strength training is that you build muscle. No, you’re not going to
build the amount of muscle men can, or will, but you will still build
But muscle is
nothing to be afraid of.
In fact it’s more
muscle you want because muscle is firm. Fat isn’t. Fat is wobbly
and dimply. It’s the stuff you want rid of.
But more than it’s
appearance, muscle burns more calories than fat does. In fact fat
tissue burns two thirds fewer calories than muscle tissue does.
One pound of muscle
burns about 6 calories when it’s resting compared to a pound of fat
which burns 2 calories. And that’s at rest. I mean when you’re
doing nothing. Sitting in front of the telly watching the latest
You’ll be burning
two thirds more calories.
The fancy way of
saying that is ‘your basal metabolic rate with increase’. Just in
case you come across that phrase elsewhere and have no idea what it
So, yes more muscle
is what we want.
Not just for the appearance of it, but for it’s calorie burning properties.
We’ve been trained
to believe that aerobic activity is where it’s at when it comes to
burning body fat.
And to some extent,
that is true.
Fat burns best in
the presence of oxygen. Aerobic exercise.
The problem is,
aerobic exercise takes so long. And most of us, especially us busy
mamas, don’t have that kind of time.
But, the evidence
these days is not so much about oxygen versus without oxygen, it’s
about the long term effects of the different types of exercise.
And study, after
study, after study shows that anaerobic exercise is the most
effective way, in the longer term, of losing fat.
That’s because it
takes longer for your body to return to ‘normal’.
And whilst it’s
trying to return to normal, it’s still burning calories.
In fact studies have
shown that, after an anaerobic workout session, your body can carry
on burning calories for about 24 hours after your workout has
finished. It’s known as the afterburn effect.
Don’t get me wrong, aerobic workouts, and by that I mean your typical cardio session, are still important, and if they’re what you enjoy doing they should definitely be your priority, but for burning that body fat, anaerobic is the way to go.
Most of the
exercises you do with typical strength training routines are, what
they call, compound exercises.
This means they use
more than one group of muscles.
And the more muscles
you use, the more muscles will be growing and the more calories
you’ll be burning. Meaning more weight lost.
But compound lifts
aren’t just a great way to lose more weight. They’re the best
exercises generally because they mirror real life so much.
A deadlift, think
picking up heavy bags of shopping off the floor.
A squat, squatting
down to talk your kids or picking up something from the floor.
A lunge, walking up
They all use
multiple groups of muscles, just like you would in real life.
The whole purpose of
strength training is to increase muscular strength. Make you stronger
and being stronger is awesome.
There’s a whole
satisfaction in being strong and capable.
I’m the one my
husband turns to when his 279 kilo motorbike falls over and he needs
help lifting it up. Not his male friends. Me.
And that’s the
point, the stronger you are, the more you can do. Not just heavy
stuff, but everyday stuff. Running around after your kids won’t
tire you out as much.
You’ll be able to
join them for their games.
And the more you do,
the higher the calorie burn.
Strength training is awesome.
I know this is the
bit you weren’t looking forward to, but I’m going to have to say
it….strength training on it’s own won’t make you lose weight.
There is no exercise
on the planet that will create weight loss on it’s own.
They all have to be
paired with a healthy diet.
Before you freak
out, notice I said healthy diet? Healthy diets don’t have to be
restrictive or boring. You have to make sure you’re eating a range
of healthy fats and carbohydrates and enough protein. But you don’t
have to succumb to chicken and broccoli for the rest of your life.
It really doesn’t.
Make sure you’re
eating a range of fruit and vegetables. Prioritise wholewheat and
wholegrain carbs over sugar and pastries. Eat plenty of lean protein.
But, and this is the
important thing, don’t completely stop eating anything.
carbs, it’s just not good for you, or your favourite chocolate
treat. Have everything in moderation.
Yes, even a glass of
wine or a slice of chocolate cake.
As well as being a personal trainer, I am also a certified nutrition coach, so if you would like help creating the perfect diet for you, or you just want a bit of advice then do get in touch. I always love it when people say hello.
Ok, so you’re
onboard with strength training, how do you put it into a plan that
will help you achieve your weight loss goals?
everything in life, it’s all about balance.
workouts should be a part of your workout routine, but not the only
thing in it. Especially if you enjoy doing something specific, like
running, or dancing, or boxing. To name a few examples.
If strength training
is what you love, like me, then by all means make it the focus. But
don’t forget you will need a bit of cardio thrown in.
interval training works really well with strength workouts. They’re
both amazing for fat loss.
Depending on how
long you have to workout each week, and how your time can be
structure will determine how and when you do your workouts.
If you can manage
three, hour long training sessions a week, then do the strength
session first with a HIIT workout to finish.
If you can’t
manage an hour, but you can workout every day, then strength on one
day, HIIT the next then rest.
Scheduling your rest
days are just as important as scheduling your workouts.
Have a least one
complete day of rest every week. And as much active recovery as you
can throw in.
Active recovery can
be a gentle walk, some stretching and mobility work, or a bit of
Remember, it’s all about balance.
I hope I’ve put
your mind at rest when it comes to strength training. It’s not
going to make you look manly. And I hope you see how powerful it can
be in getting you to your weight loss goals.
Lean body mass will
not only increase the number of calories you burn, it will make you
look fitter, more toned.
But above all of
that it’s bloody good fun. And an amazing feeling knowing you’re
probably stronger than any of the guys who are in the same room as you.
If you want help
putting together a strength training program then please do get in
touch, I’d be happy to help. I can make sure your
But if you just want
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