Lift Weight Lose Fat: Why Women Need to Strength Train – By Allison Moyer <—Click link to article*
It happens ALL THE TIME. Around the facility I work at I am known at the triathlete and “Running Guru” and it’s pretty obvious with my “Run Oregon” socks and compression sleeves on while I stand at the fitness department desk. People, especially women both young and not so young, will come up to me and say “I want to increase my strength”, or “I’m a recreational runner and I want to incorporate some strength training into my exercise”. And I say “Great let me show you a few things”. I take them through my favorite core exercises involving plank and bridge variations, both static and dynamic (with and without movement), and usually some single leg bodyweight deadlift type movements that also have some variations which is always challenging and a little fun as they wobble and learn to balance and they feel how challenging it is.
Then I walk them over to the weights and start demonstrating a basic deadlift and power clean with a barbell and their face and body language changes. As if we just turned down a dark alley they thought they would never enter. This “scary tool” is a simple straight bar with a couple tiny weights or wood circles that get the bar off the ground just enough so you can sneak your toes under it. They look around to see who is watching and start shallow breathing. Finally it blurts out of their lips:
- I don’t want to lift. I want to tone up.
- I don’t want to lift because I don’t want to be bulky.
- I don’t want to look like a bodybuilder.
- I just want to feel better when I run.
- I’d just like to be more athletic.
The truth is I believed some of these popular misconceptions in the past myself. I thought all my running and cycling up hills was all the strength training I really needed. Core strength was the focus and the rest was built up through different degrees of resistance in my cardio heavy training. While studying exercise science I was introduced to all of these weight training moves I neglected for so long. I now feel stronger, more athletic, more confident, more injury resistant, and haven’t felt this well balanced in my entire life! Kettlebells are my favorite tool to help people gain lean muscle and functional strength and they are versatile through different stages of training (stability, strength, power, speed).
The “I don’t want to lift because I don’t want to be bulky” comment is a widely accepted mentality that is ruining the health of women all over the world! Those women body builders look that way BY INTENT. Their look is achieved through very extreme measures, usually including hormone therapy (steroids) along with strength and conditioning programs designed to make you look as muscular as possible with no desire to actually improve physical performance. They are usually not actually worried about becoming stronger, or better conditioned, or even remaining healthy. They are a totally different monster that you will not magically transform into unless you really adopt very specific body building methods that 98% of people wouldn’t even enjoy if they tried it.
Cardio does have it’s benefits and depending on your goals it may or may not be appropriate for people with lower levels of stability. If you are trying to lose weight the whole calories in calories out approach is a very small percentage of your fitness equation. The biggest percentage being eating clean healthy unprocessed FOOD. Eat the right kinds of carbs, lean proteins, and healthy FATS! Learn to support your activity without promoting the storage of body fat. Your workout should include challenging weights, high intensity movements, even short hard sprints. Reduce or eliminate refined sugars completely. Eenjoy life outside of that shitty sweat stinking gym and look like a healthy, beautiful, athletic Human.
Muscle weighs more than fat! Losing fat and gaining muscle can be confusing. You can lose inches on your waist and gain a few numbers when you step on the scale. Don’t get hung up on the numbers. Get hung up on how you look and feel. Studies have demonstrated that after a weight training workout, the metabolism can be boosted for up to or longer than 36 hours post workout, meaning rather than burning say 60 calories an hour while sitting ans watching tv you’re burning 70. While you may think, “Big deal- 10 extra calories”, when you multiply this by 36 hours, 3,500 calories, you can see what a huge difference that makes in your daily calorie expenditure over that day and a half. When you figure out that on a monthly rate, it becomes even clearer how regular participation in a weight lifting session will really increase your calorie burning and thus fat burning capacity. Stay consistent with your training and reap the rewards! Small consistent efforts are more beneficial that one long hard workout every several days. One client of mine works in the medical field and there is a scale in every room so she ends up weighing herself all the time. Now instead of getting on the scale she does 20-40 seconds of core activation and a few squat jumps. It’s a whole new world full of accomplishment and activity instead of disappointment and despair. Guess how she is feeling!?!?!
With cardio training, you might get an extra 40-80 calories burned after a moderate paced session, and this will depend upon the exact intensity and duration of the workout. And boy does that cardio make you HUNGRY! How many calories and what quality of food are you going to eat after that session that will contribute to your health and support a positive outcome from the calories in calories out approach?
Are you seeing how this works? It sounds cheesy but I love the saying “Exercise makes you look good in your clothes. Working out makes you look good naked”. And everyone that knows me has heard me say “Excuses make you weaker, challenges make you stronger”. And that is why the Smith Haus Training motto is:
“Eat clean, strengthen your core, challenge your strength”.