Lift to Lose – Strength Training
If you had asked someone in the industry or read a book or an article a few years ago about weight loss, most of them would have been based around long and boring cardio training sessions.
Running on the treadmill or outside for hours at a time.
Sitting on the stationary bike until your butt hurt.
Rowing your way across the Pacific on the rower.
(Which all have their place but who’s got time for that?)
You might have been lucky and got someone willing to be adventurous and mix a couple of these together.
The brave and daring may well have suggested in a quiet whisper that you could lift some weights to help with the process.
Lifting light weights for 15-20 or more reps over 3-4 sets would have been the principles of these adventurous souls, along with their war cries of ‘entering the tone zone’
That was daring enough and as far as it would go.
NEVER would there have been even the suggestion of lifting HEAVY, that was just the realm of bodybuilders and meatheads.
Lucky for you those days are MOSTLY in the past. We say mostly because there are still dark corners of the world where this belief is held sacred and will be defended with their lives.
It has been studied inside out and back to front and there is a massive growing movement that is proving you don’t need to suffer the boredom of lifting those feathers for the ridiculous reps and you CAN have some fun with lifting heavy with lower reps, better concentration and FEELING BETTER. And did we mention you actually lose MORE FAT than doing the lighter work.
Let’s start by clarifying the ‘lifting heavy’ and what we mean here. We are talking about weights that you can lift for between 4-10 reps per set.
Then resting between 90-120 seconds before going again for the next set.
Aiming for 3-5 sets per exercise.
Now, let’s cover exercise selection. You’re going to get more bang for your buck by choosing exercises that use your larger muscle groups and multiple muscle groups at the same time.
So, think things like deadlifts, squats, bench press, shoulder press, clean & press, bent over rows, pull-ups and dips these will all have a massive increase on your calorie burn.
Limit exercises like bicep curls, tri-cep extensions, calf raises, lateral raises etc as these only work single small muscle groups and don’t cause much of a calorie burn for you.
Before we progress any further let’s dispel a myth/worry/concern that a lot of people have about lifting weights in general when they want to lose fat, let alone lifting HEAVY!
‘I don’t want to get all muscly and bulky’ is a common one from men and women and another one from women is ‘I don’t want to look like a man’
First let’s point out that getting all ‘muscly and bulky’ is a lot more difficult than it might be perceived as – that goes as doubly difficult for women (it’s to do with testosterone levels).
If you ever ask someone who has either achieved a bulky build or someone who is in the gym working towards that kind of goal they will tell you how much work goes into it – and a lot of it to do with the diet they are eating and being in a constant calorie surplus. Whereas if you’re looking to lose fat you’re going to be eating in a general calorie deficit….aren’t you 😉
So, getting ‘bulky and muscly’ is partly the training and mostly the diet.
As well as that, to get that bulk and boulder look that a lot of people want to avoid does include things like spending whole sessions working on single muscle groups – exactly the kind of thing we suggested you avoided earlier in the article.
Now you can put that worry to the side.
Lifting heavy isn’t going to make you look like a bodybuilder and isn’t going to make women look like men – unless you dedicate your life and time to that exact pursuit (and a spray tan).
In that case what does lifting heavy do for you?
It helps to increase your metabolism by increasing your lean muscle mass – think a nice toned look rather than a bodybuilder show.
Your metabolism is the rate that your body burns through the calories that you eat and how much it stores as fat for later use.
The higher your metabolism is, the more calories you burn, the fast and more efficiently you work through the fat stores that your body is currently holding on to.
Having a good structure of lean and strong muscle around your body helps you perform general day to day life better. From carrying the shopping home, to playing with the kids and everything in between.
It also helps to prevent injury by making your body and joints more stable and better supported.
Lifting heavy has now been proven as an essential part of a training regime when trying to lose fat. One of the reasons for this is when the body isn’t getting enough fuel from the food you’re eating for what it feels it needs it starts to break down parts of your body to make up the difference.
This is the basic principle of how you lose weight when you’re on that diet BUT, and this is a big but here – the body is smart and doesn’t want to work any harder than is needed. The easiest way for it to create that energy it needs is to start breaking down muscle tissue because that takes less work that breaking down the fat stores.
This means if you’re not training heavy and activating these muscles and MAKING the body use fuel to repair them then a much higher percentage of the weight you lose is going to be lean muscle, not the fat stores that you’re trying to get rid of.
Lifting weights, lifting heavy should be a staple part of your fat loss training plan.
What if I’m not confident lifting weights?
Don’t ever feel like you can’t ask for help or guidance!
All the members of staff at Elyte Fitness are more than happy to offer help and advice about weight training.
We want to make sure that you get the results you want! If you are not sure about how to do an exercise or would like us to just have a look at your form, we are here to help.
A great introduction to training using weights is to take part in one of our Strength training sessions. These are controlled environments where you can be confident in introducing weights into your training.
Which will both speed up your progress as well as making you feel stronger and more confident
For all of us, using weights in our own sessions, even light ones, make the sessions far more enjoyable than just running on a treadmill or rowing on a rowing machine.