So, you’ve been going to the gym for months. You took a spinning class, ran on a treadmill, got really sore from an hour of aerobics and had lots of fun kick-boxing. You’ve sweated, worked really hard but have little to show for it. Meanwhile, you’ve been staring at some fit women lifting weights with trainers. “It’s not for me,” you say. “I don’t want to bulk up, I just want to loose a few pounds and tone my body.”
Bodybuilders have known this for years: those who only do cardio will never achieve the results they want. It is very important to incorporate weight training into your exercise routine. Something interesting happens to your body when you lift weights: it increases your lean body mass. Low calorie diets and aerobic training without weight lifting can actually make you lose muscle, and make you fatter! Because if you lose lean body mass, your metabolism slows down, and this makes it easier to gain fat. If you increase your lean body mass, you increase your metabolic rate. And the faster your metabolism is, the more fat you’ll burn all day long – even while you’re sleeping! Now you know why bodybuilders, who have very high muscle to fat ratios, can stay lean year round without doing much aerobic work.
Here are a few tips:
Ignore the scale!
Not all weight is created equal. The problem is that most women look at a scale as an indicator of how fit they are. They do not seem to understand that weight training builds muscle and that muscle weighs more than fat. Weight is really a poor indicator of progress. You can lose fat around your belly and your clothes will feel and fit looser, but you might actually weigh more because you are building muscle and burning fat.
Take pictures to monitor progress!
Invest in a small digital camera and take photos to see if your exercise routine is working for you. Also, take body fat measurements and make sure a knowledgeable trainer evaluates where you are at.
The more you train with weights the more muscle you will gain, and more muscle equals higher metabolic rate and faster fat burning. Did you know that muscle burns fat even when you sit at your computer? Far too many people use their scale as an indicator of progress when in fact they have no idea if it’s fat, water or muscle they are losing.
Don’t forget about nutrition!
Lifting weights without proper nutrition won’t make your body hard. Increase the amount of fresh veggies and whole grains, avoid any processed foods and sugar, and eat only lean protein.
Just remember, if you want a lean toned body, stop sweating in the aerobics studio and pick up some dumbbells.
Jason Kozma is a professional Brentwood Personal Trainer in Southern California. Jason and his High Performance Training Team are helping residents all over Southern California lose weight and get in the best shape of their lives. Find out more by visiting Personal Trainer Los Angeles