by Frank Francis FT North Andover
I’m going to get this out of the way now so I don’t need to address it later. Male or female, you need to strength train to efficiently lose weight and keep it off.
Sure, you can lose weight by starving yourself and walking for 2 hours a day. But once you step off the treadmill and eat like a normal human being, the pounds you dropped will come back; usually with reinforcements. Cardio doesn’t build muscle. Eating 1000 calories a day doesn’t either. Weight training and proper nutrition adds muscle and burns calories while you are in the act AND when you are done with your workout. How much muscle you have is the ONLY factor you can control when it comes to how fast your metabolism works. You thyroid either works or it doesn’t. Fat-burner pills are over-priced garbage with false claims. 1 lb of lean muscle burns an average of 50 calories a day at rest. Build muscle and you will turn your body into a fat burning furnace. Got it? Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on.
When I tell my male clients that we’re going to be lifting heavy that day, I usually get very little fight against the notion. In other words they don’t put up much resistance…
HAHAHAHA GET IT?
“RESISTANCE?” Gotta love trainer humor! Anyway, as I mentioned in my “big arms” blog, guys like to get in touch with their inner meat-head by lifting big weights. Women on the other hand can be against the concept at first.
I often hear of women having a fear that lifting weights will “bulk them up” or give them shoulders like The Incredible Hulk. Ladies, you need to understand a simple concept. As we all age, your body is either going to add fat or add muscle. Which would you prefer? Would you rather have something that looks nasty and burns 5 calories a day or look healthy and fit with something that burns 10x as much?
Oh and just for the record, PLEASE stop saying you want “long and lean muscles”. That drives me absolutely batty! For starters, muscle tissue is lean anyway! Hence the term: LEAN BODY MASS. Keep in mind, by adding muscle, you will look leaner. Muscle also helps to pull your skin tighter, as long as you keep up with good eating and cardio as well to burn the excess fat.
So here’s what happens. Muscle hypertrophy (growth) occurs when lifting a weight that is challenging for 8-12 reps. When you use light weights, that signals your body that you don’t need to recruit more muscle tissue to work. By using heavier weights, you will recruit more muscle fiber to engage thus burning more calories and getting stronger. You will most likely be a bit sore the next day; remember that feeling? Being sore is a good thing! It means your metabolic rate is elevated as your body recovers from the previous workout.
One of the biggest factors of why anyone builds muscle is testosterone. It is easier for men to add muscle due to how much testosterone we produce. However the average woman produces around 10% the amount of testosterone as her male counterpart. Which means that unless a woman is taking extra testosterone (i.e. steroids) and eating 4,000 calories per day, she will not get enormous muscles. Even when performing compound lifts that can naturally elevate your testosterone (like the squat or deadlift), you can lift safely, add muscle, and not worry about turning into She-Hulk
You WILL develop muscle! Focus on that combined with your cardio and proper nutrition and you will get the tone without the bulk!
In my near 13 years as a trainer, I think it’s safe to say that probably 65% of my personal training clientele has been women. As for more than vast majority of them, when their weights go up, their body weight goes down! Most recently I had a woman in her 50s who squatted 135 lbs. Guess what? She looks and feels GREAT!!!! She walked out of our session that day like she was about to conquer the world! She even Tweeted about it! She was so proud of her accomplishment! It is moments like this that remind me why I love being a trainer!
In closing, ladies, hit the heavier weights and hit ‘em hard! The only thing you have to gain is strength, increasing your muscle tone, and having more rapid body fat loss than a woman who does minimal lifting and excessive cardio. Not to mention how much confidence you will have when you walk out of the gym that day!
When lifting heavier weights learn proper technique first! Always seek proper guidance from an expert so you perform movements safely and correctly.
Personal Trainer & Small Group Fitness Instructor | FT North Andover
With nearly a decade of personal training experience to his credit, Frank brings his passion for health and fitness to North Andover after 4 years at the Concord FT location. Frank’s workouts are always challenging, different and actually fun! By taking traditional “old school” weight-lifting mixed in with the latest in functional core training to give you the best workout of your life. The workouts can consist of bodyweight exercises, plyometrics, and a variety of fitness modalities to achieve maximum results. Frank also has the ability to work with all ages and fitness levels from ages 8 to 88! As a trainer, Frank holds his clients accountable to their goals through consistency with their training sessions, doing the necessary cardio, and proper nutrition by keeping a food journal. He believes that no matter how busy one’s day can be, exercise can (and should) be incorporated. Degrees/Certifications: • Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science from Salem State College • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM): Certified Personal Trainer • Aerobics & Fitness Association of America (AFAA): Certified Personal Trainer • National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA): Certified Personal Trainer