I know I focus this blog on getting in shape, rather than losing weight. They’re not always the same thing, but they can absolutely be (it’s an all As are Bs, but not all Bs are As kind of situation). If you’re overweight, part of getting in shape means losing weight; it’s simple, the two go hand-in-hand. I’ve talked a lot about different weight training exercises, but I realized recently that if you don’t think lifting will help you, you ignore that information until you do—and many, many people toil under the misconception that lifting is something best done after slimming down.
Would the Biggest Loser trainers make the contestants lift weights if they thought it wouldn’t help them lose weight (the ENTIRE and ONLY point of the competition)? Think about that one; ALL of the contestant use weights, ALL the time. Do you think Michelle Obama’s arms would look that good if she never did any strength training? (I don’t care what political views you hold, her arms look DAMN good). Hint: “You need to take a two-pronged approach to achieve beautiful arms. You need to activate the muscle with strength-training and do cardio to lower your body fat.”)
So it’s very important to talk about how weight lifting does, actually, help you get in shape (including losing weight). Many people, women especially, have this notion that lifting weights will make them bulk up, thereby negating all of their efforts to drop the pounds; but that isn’t true, at all. Definitely do not eschew the cardio, however—that, without question, burns more calories than lifting; I’m advocating for the combination of the two. It’s really the most effective regimen you can have to get in shape.
Weight training not only helps you lose weight and fat, it does double-duty by toning and strengthening your muscles. That seems like a complete no-brainer, but even if you have a few extra pounds, it makes a big difference in your actual appearance; being skinny is one thing, but being ripped/buff/jacked/cut is another… and that’s really what people should aim for. I mean, is being skinny fat really being skinny? A great fitness blog, Mark’s Daily Apple, tackles that question amazingly.
Side note: women do not physically have enough testosterone to “bulk up,” so be not afraid of the weights!
Not convinced? Let me give you some more, really persuasive, reasons to pick up some dumbbells:
1. Strength training boosts your metabolism by up to 15%, so you burn more calories, even while at rest.
2. According to the CDC (and you’ll know this if you’ve ever looked at an old person), muscle mass diminishes with age; at some point, you use it or lose it. Similarly, if you lose weight without strength training, you will likely lose muscle along with the fat—and that’s almost counter-productive. Strength training helps you maintain and even add to your muscle mass. Get on board before it’s too late!
3. Strength training specifically gives you more energy, improves your mood, and helps you sleep better. And it’s well-known that good sleep is paramount to getting and being in shape.
Still feel intimidated and maybe don’t want to get in the weight room with The Hulks right away? An easy way to ease into weight training is to start with body-weight exercises. Once you’re comfortable, progress up to weights.
Thanks for reading! As a treat, here is Dolvett Quince (a Biggest Loser trainer) and Michelle Obama working out together.