Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Women and Weight Loss: Weight Training Is Your Friend!

Most of you have probably noticed women do this at one time or another. You may even be guilty of doing it yourself. You go to the gym 2-5 days a week, hop on the elliptical, treadmill, stair master, etc., do 30-45 minutes of cardio, and call it a day. A couple weeks go by. Then a month goes by. Next thing you know, several months have passed, and you have dropped little to no weight. Sure, your cardio endurance is probably great at this point, which is wonderful.

But the goal you set out for yourself is weight loss, and it's not happening. Frustration is starting to set in; like most people, you are happy about the health benefits you are receiving for your efforts, but you really want to see results! The reason you are not getting the results you want lies with the fact that you are not also incorporating weight/resistance training into your routine. One of the main reasons you are not weight lifting (and I have heard it hundreds of times), is that you "don't want to be bulky," and you are "afraid of putting on muscle." Well now I am going to tell you why you do not have to worry about getting "bulky," and why your cardio-only routine is not providing the results you desire.

Cardio exercise is so beneficial for your heart, and your overall health. In terms of calorie burning, you are without a doubt going to burn more calories while doing an intense 30-45 minute cardio session, when compared to weight/resistance training, but here is the problem with all cardio, no weights; cardio is a great calorie burner while you are doing it, and for a short time afterwards. 

Lets talk science just for a minute. Muscle is highly metabolic, that is, the more lean muscle and less fat you have, the more energy your body is going to need to maintain that muscle. When you have a high lean muscle to fat ratio, you will be in a better calorie-burning state throughout the day, not just while you are lifting! You definitely want to keep cardio training in your routine, but try adding in 2 days a week of weight training to start with. See how your body responds, and then you can gradually increase your weight training. Not only will you most likely start losing fat, but getting stronger and having better muscle endurance will probably be the first change you notice, and what a bonus that is!

For those women who are concerned with getting bulky, let me repeat what I have touched on before; getting big would largely be a result of eating big, and even then, women do not have sufficient testosterone levels to achieve a lot of growth. Even men have to work pretty hard to put on a lot of muscle, and we have much higher testosterone levels. If you still are not convinced, consider this; pound for pound, muscle takes up less space than fat. If you do happen to gain 5lbs of muscle, and lose 5lbs of fat, your weight will be the same but you will actually look smaller, and more toned!

In the end, the best thing you can do to achieve optimal results is to incorporate a balance of all 3 major components- a clean diet, cardiovascular exercise, and weight/resistance training. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the results you can achieve with this method. Good luck on the journey!