The secret to shrinking your body is strength training. Many women shy away from lifting weights because they are afraid that they will bulk up and they’ve bought into the myth that cardio is the key to weight loss. The fact is, for most women, bulking up is virtually impossible. And though cardio is essential for good heart health, strength training delivers a whole lot more bang for your exercise effort.
What strength training does is boost your metabolism, reduce your body fat, and sculpt your body shape, making you look smaller, firmer, and sexier. Yup. If you want to shrink your body, your best bet is to lift more.
If I lift heavy weights I’ll look like a dude!
No. No you won’t. And here’s why. Just like you lose weight by running a calorie deficit, you gain weight, even muscle weight, by eating a calorie excess and engaging in consistent, long-term heavy weight training. To build massive muscles you would need to eat huge quantities and train hard, often for years. Body builders don’t magically attain their competition bodies. They work at it through diet and exercise, consistently, for a very long time.
So cast aside the myth that lifting three days a week will make you bulk. Cleaning up your diet and adding weights to your exercise program won’t make you look like the Hulk. Lifting will do exactly the opposite of making you look like a man. Lifting increases your lean muscle mass, helping you tone your whole body, blast off fat, and shape the body you want. Strength training will let you take what nature gave you and make it even better.
How does weight training burn more calories?
Weight training boosts your metabolism by continuing to use energy to repair muscle fibers after you finish your work out. Researchers have found that a full body workout that uses three large muscle groups can raise your metabolism as much as 48 hours after you finish working out. That means you’ll burn more calories just sitting on the couch.
With a cardio workout you earn the calorie burning benefits while you are at the gym and for an hour or less after you finish. Your metabolism goes back to its usual rate more quickly than it does with strength training so while you burn more during the actual workout you end up burning less overall. Building muscle equals a bigger burn.
Lose fat not muscle.
When you are trying to lose weight, what you really want to do is lose fat. To do that, you absolutely have to run a calorie deficit. And a calorie deficit is actually an energy deficit. When your body runs out of food energy it turns to what it has stored. The trick is to get your body to burn fat stores and not muscle stores and you do that by maintaining or increasing your strength as you lose weight.
What do you need to do to increase your strength? That’s right. Lift more.
Studies consistently show that people who combine resistance training and reduce their caloric intake lose more fat than those who limit themselves to aerobic exercise. That’s because they are building muscle while they are burning calories. That tells your body it should work on your fat stores instead. My philosophy is simple: move more and eat better. They BOTH need to happen together.
Shape that booty!
One of the best shrinking tools you get from lifting weights is the ability to sculpt your body. We all have “problem areas” or “favorite parts” of our bodies that we would either like to re-shape or accentuate. There is no such thing as ‘spot training’ but you can use Strength Training to off-set your problem areas.
Want to lose the bat wings and have fantastic arms? There’s an exercise for that. Dislike your “pear shape?” You can build your upper body and choose exercises that strengthen and elongate the muscles in your hips and thighs to help create a more balanced shape. Lifting weights allows you to train for the body you want. If you have excess skin, no amount of Strength Training or fat loss will take it away. However; if fat is covering that gorgeous muscle, you can do something about it. Usually my clients need to lose body fat in order to see the work they are accomplishing with Strength Training.
Many of us spend hours on cardio machines trying to get rid of the offending flab but the real key to the perfect booty is building a muscle base in conjunction with improving eating habits. Squats and deadlifts will lift and tone your derrière in a way that no amount of time on the stair climber can. Shoulder presses and pull-ups will create definition in your arms and back that has you reaching for your sleeveless tops. Muscle makes the figure.
Anyone who has tried to lose weight probably already knows that fat takes up more space than muscle. Fat is fluffy. So while a pound weighs sixteen ounces regardless of whether it’s made of fat or muscle, muscles are 18% more dense than fat so they take up less space. That means that two 120lb women standing side by side can be totally different sizes. The one who lifts is smaller. This is one reason I tell my clients never to give power to the number on the scale.
We all want to be our most fit. We want firm, healthy bodies that make us feel smaller, stronger and sexier. Who doesn’t like to slip into their skinny jeans?
The best way to achieve that goal is to lift those weights. Don’t overthink it. If the weight machines make you nervous, start with squats, push ups, and lunges. Add some dumb bells. Try HTF Virtual and watch the demonstration videos. As your body confidence grows you’ll feel more comfortable trying new things. There is nothing wrong with getting your strength training started at home in the basement with two milk jugs and some resistance bands!
Just get started and keep going. The more you lift, the more you’ll shrink.
Weights are the WINNING way to lose!