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Weights Work Wonders!

May 13th, 2009 No Comments

Weights Work Wonders! — Nutritionista  

“I love how I feel after cardio and I just don’t get the same feeling after weight training.” 

That’s a comment I hear a lot, from both friends and readers. Not too long ago, I was in the same boat.

Here are a few other reasons why weight training is a must:

  • It prevents your body from replacing lost muscle mass with fat as you age.
  • Muscle burns more calories than fat when you’re at rest. Meaning, the more muscle you build, the more calories you’ll burn just by BEING.
  • It builds healthy bones, encourages better posture, and increases endurance.
  • You get a metabolic spike after you weight train that causes you to burn more calories even AFTER you stop moving completely.
  • Women who weight train don’t get bulky unless that’s their goal (and they have to try VERY hard).
  • Weight training DOES burn calories! You burn about 8-10 calories per minute while pumping iron. (Running or biking burns about 10-12 calories per minute.)
  • It’s good for weight loss. I’m speaking from experience!

Now where to start? I like this beginner strength training plan from Fitness magazine (though it only includes one exercise per muscle group). I also created a three day/week weight training plan that’s good for people who don’t want to be in the gym for hours. If you don’t belong to a gym, you can check out my Weight Training without the Gym routine. Once you get started, here are some tips for getting the most out of your weight training workout:

  • Go in with a plan. Whether you use a workout plan of mine, one you create with a trainer, or one you find elsewhere, be sure you’re thorough and comprehensive when you weight train. Don’t train haphazardly because it doesn’t work.
  • ALWAYS warm-up. Any light cardio works for at least 10 minutes.
  • Don’t tease your muscles. Do more than one exercise for each muscle group! Chad Tackett, a certified personal trainer from Global Health & Fitness, says the biggest mistake he sees people make is only doing one exercise for a muscle group and then moving on. It’s like doing warm-up for cardio and not doing the actual cardio workout.
  • Challenge yourself. If you’re making it through all your reps without a struggle, you need to increase the weight. The last two to three reps in a set should be challenging! If you’re challenging yourself adequately, you should feel the same way after a weight training workout that you do after cardio.
  • Switch it up! Vary your weight training to include free weight, machine, and cable exercises. Do “up-and-down-the-rack” training where you do a certain number of reps at a very heavy weight and then decrease the weight for the next set (or vice versa). Do sets where you take 10 seconds to complete one rep. Whatever you do, don’t let your body get too used to anything!
  • Record your progress. Seeing your progress in numbers is motivating and ensures that you’re increasing the difficulty of your workouts.
  • Don’t train the same muscle two days in a row. This well-known piece of advice is crucial for preventing injuries. Muscles need time to recover.
  • Cool down and stretch. You can stretch after working a muscle group or after you finish your workout. Light cardio for five or 10 minutes after weight training helps prevent soreness.