When I was working part-time at Gold’s gym outside of my full-time gig, myself and the other trainers would sit and watch women spend day after day clocking hour after hour on cardio equipment. We’d see them running or “ellipitcaling” for hours and even going longer, but not really seeing a change in their bodies. It never failed for one of them to eventually stroll over and ask a few questions about how to trim the fat from their thighs, or the little problem area under the arms or maybe how to tighten up the buttocks. We would give the same answer every time. You need more iron in your diet. No not the kind in food and diet…the kind that goes in your hands.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, only 21% of women strength train two or more times a week. Why is that important? Because when you skip the weight room, you lose out on the ultimate fat burner. Just those two sessions a week can reduce overall body fat by about 3 percentage points in just 10 weeks, even if you don’t cut a single calorie from your diet. Translation: that could mean as much as 3 inches total off your waist and hips. Are dumbbells and a training session with me sounding more convincing yet?
For most this won’t make sense right away, but we know cardio does burn more calories than strength training over the same 30 minutes, however lifting weights and strength training slashes more overall. Let me put it this way…A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who completed an hour-long strength-training workout burned an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours afterward than they did when they had not lifted weights. Do the math…with 3 sessions a week that adds up to 15,600 calories a year or what I like to say about 4 to 4 ½ pounds of fat without having to move an additional muscle. Still not convinced to pick up some weights?
Well, increasing that after burn is as easy as upping the weight on your bar. The journal Medical & Science in Sport & Exercise says that women burned nearly twice as many calories in the two hours after their workout when they lifted 85% of their max load for eight reps than when they did more reps (i.e. 12-15 reps) at a lower weight around 45% of their max.
Whatever, let’s keep going. Muscle accounts for about 1/3 of the average woman’s weight, so weight training and building muscle has a profound effect on a woman’s metabolism specifically because muscle, unlike fat, is metabolically active. Basically that means muscle chews up calories even when you’re not in the gym. Replace 10 pounds of fat with 10 pounds of lean muscle and you’ll burn and additional 25-50 calories a day without even trying.
Here is what I recommend. Begin with a three weight-training sessions each week. You can feel free to e-mail me for a quick get started plan or check out one of my plans here on the site for something that can ease you into the routine. Aim for total-body workouts that target your arms, abs, legs and back and go for dynamic moves that will call on several muscle groups at a time. Remember to fuel your workouts properly and plan out adequate rest and recovery. If you need any help or suggestions I am but a click and an e-mail away.