Burn fat more efficiently
Did you know you can burn an extra 35 calories a day for every pound of muscle you gain? That is because unlike fat, muscle is metabolically active – it needs to consume calories just to survive. This means while cardio and weight lifting are equally great for burning calories, lifting is uniquely great for burning fat. Weight training increases lean muscle mass while helping you lose pure fat, creating a healthy, strong body with lean, attractive proportions. So even if your only goal is to lose weight, lifting can help you achieve optimum results; quicker, because as your muscle mass increases so does your ability to burn fat, even when you’re not working out!
Working out doesn’t just tone our bodies; it shapes up our minds too. There’s no doubt about it, exercise just makes you feel good. The therapeutic qualities of weight lifting are well documented. A study carried out by the University of Sydney found that 60% of patients diagnosed with clinical depression experienced a significant improvement in their condition after introducing regular lifting into their lives. Similar studies have shown that regular lifters benefit from a happier general mood and get angry less frequently.
Of course, while making you feel great about yourself, weight lifting does wonderful things for your physical health too. A research group at the University of Florida found that participants who weight trained three times a week were significantly less vulnerable to the cell damage that causes cancer than people who did no weight training. And weight lifting is equally beneficial to heart health. As your muscles grow stronger, any daily task that involves physical lifting now becomes easier, reducing strain on the heart, lowering blood pressure and reducing your risk of cardiac arrest.
Regular weight lifting increases muscular strength, boosts stamina and improves balance. It strengthens the bones and connective tissue which can protect you from injury in every day life and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. So, whatever your age or lifestyle you’ll notice the benefits – whether it’s in your performance in sport, a new found energy for gardening or even just lifting heavy bags of shopping!
Weight lifting tips for beginners
Warm up and cool down
Do 5-10 minutes of jogging or walking to get your heart pumping and be sure to include plenty of arm movement to ‘warm up’ your upper body too. Stretching exercise after weight training will help prevent muscle soreness.
If you are new to weight training, it is important to start slowly. Although you may only be able to lift light weights to begin with, that’s fine. You will progress surprisingly quickly once your muscles, tendons and ligaments adjust. However, it is important that the weight is just heavy enough to stimulate muscle growth. Generally, if you can easily lift the weight more than 16-20 times in one rep, you should be using a heavier weight. Choose a weight you can only lift comfortably 16 times. Begin with one set for each exercise. When you feel confident with this, increase your sets to two and then three. After 6-8 weeks of consistent weight training, you can increase you weight and reduce your reps back down to 8-12.
Technique is very important when lifting for you can do more harm than good, if you are lifting incorrectly. A great way to learn how to do an exercise is to jump on the internet and Google the exercise; most times you will even find a video of how to do that exercise correctly.
There is a lot of conflicting advice about the best breathing technique to use during lifting. For beginners, the most important thing to remember is simply –breathe! Breathing freely throughout your exercise routine supplies a steady stream of oxygen to the muscles and aids a healthy, safe workout session.
Avoid sudden, jerky movements and keep your movements as controlled, smooth and flowing as possible to prevent muscle strain.
While it is important to exercise every muscle group each week to prevent muscle imbalances and reduce the risk of injury, it is equally important to give each specific muscle group one full day’s rest between workouts. Your muscles need this cooling off period to recover and develop the strength you are training for. You might choose to concentrate on a single muscle group on a particular day, or choose to work all the major muscle groups in one session several times a week.
No matter what your age, gender, current level of fitness or health goals, there’s a weight training program for you. So, what are you waiting for? Call us today and take the fist step to a fitter, stronger and healthier you!