How To Lose Weight By Lifting Weights
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Weight training is, increasingly, becoming a woman’s world. Girls in gyms across the country are sacking off the stereotypes and hitting the bar – and if you’re setting yourself a weight loss goal this year, you might want to consider joining them.
“There was once a fear that lifting heavy would ‘bulk’ us up,” admits personal trainer Kate Pearson, Coach at Inside Out Fitness and Nutrition Coaching in Glasgow. “But more women are realising that lifting lots of kilograms can actually help you shift pounds.”
“If weight loss is your aim, the quickest way to achieve that is not by jogging mindlessly for an hour on the treadmill or taking a beasting in a spin class (although both of these are great forms of exercise and lots of fun). Lifting heavy weights is actually the best way to burn lots of calories.”
“But it’s not during the activity that the magic happens, it’s after,” she adds. “We call this the after-burn effect. Whilst running burns lots of calories, that process stops when you stop. Lifting weights, however, can help you burn higher calories for up to 72 hours afterwords!”
Calorie burn isn’t the only benefit of lifting weights, either – in addition to making you fitter and stronger overall, strength training can help to have a positive impact on your bone density, reducing your chances of developing osteoporosis, and some research even suggests that it could lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Want to incorporate weights in a way that helps shift the numbers on the scales? Here are five ways to get the results you’re looking for in the most efficient way:
1. Invest in guidance
Personal training = £££, but a little bit of tuition can greatly reduce your chance of doing yourself more harm than good – and frankly, that makes the upfront spend worthwhile. At the very least, Kate recommends asking someone to show you a few key moves and how to use the weights machines initially. “It’s vital you get the technique right – at best you won’t make any gains, at worst you could seriously injure yourself,” she explains. If you’re really not up for a one-on-one sesh, you could consider joining a class instead – increasing numbers of gyms are offering lessons in lifting, in order to teach you to use weights safely.
2. Lift heavy
“Bicep curling 2kg a few times is not going to do anything for you – sorry!” Kate says. Turns out you need to be doing what the pros call “lifting to failure” – if you get to your third set of 10 repetitions, you need to be only making 7 or 8 at the most. If you’re finding it easy, it’s a sign that you need to add more weight. Hey, nobody said this was going to be easy…
3. Use your time wisely
Most of us don’t have time to spend hours on a workout everyday, but with weight training, that’s not necessary; you just need to identify the moves will get you to where you want to be, and make them your priority. “If you don’t have much time, focus on big compound moves that use lots of muscles,” Kate suggests. “Deadlifts, squats, and pull ups are all great for working on big, important muscle groups.”
4. Eat enough protein
Protein is essential for building muscle, so eating a diet that’s rich in lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, nuts and pulses should be a big part of your training plan – Kate recommends that you aim for 2-3 good quality portions of lean protein every day. The beauty of good-quality protein is that it helps you to stay fuller for longer, so you’re less likely to setback your progress with a 4pm sugar fix – after all, as the old adage goes, you can’t out-train a bad diet.
5. Be in a calorie deficit
“Sadly, the quickest and easiest way to lose weight is still to eat less than you burn,” Kate advises. “It used to be said that you couldn’t build muscle in a calorie deficit, but increasing research shows that’s not the case. You can still reduce your calorie intake and make some great gains in calorie-consuming muscle at the same time.” The NHS states that the average woman can lose weight at a steady rate eating around 1400 calories a day, but this will depend on your starting weight, height and activity levels, amongst other things – seek the advice of your doctor if you’re unsure what’s right for you.