Whether your goal is fat loss, stronger curves or a healthier you, weight training is a priority. More lean muscle means you have a faster metabolism. Lifting weights and sprinting are the only methods that trigger muscle growth. Therefore if you wish to have that firm, lean look to your abs, glutes, and legs, giving you the ‘toned’ or athletic look then you need to get to grips with weight training.
The biggest obstacle to you performing these lifts is not knowing how to perform them correctly or safely, most probably. Weight training is a skill, therefore you need to learn it. Learning the big lifts are well worth doing, as they are so much more effective then single joint, or machine based exercises at producing visible bod composition improvements.
There are a few problems with ‘traditional cardio’ in order to lose fat. Firstly it takes twice as long to burn the same amount of calories as a sprint session. Secondly it doesn’t produce lean muscle mass and will not cause much of an after burn whereas sprint training may leave your metabolic rate raised for up to 24-48 hours after. Thirdly, long cardio can lead to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which leads to a poor body composition. Whereas sprint training elevate hormones that increase muscle and burn fat.
At rest women burn more glucose, from carbs for energy than men, who burn more fat, but during exercise they burn more fat than men.
Therefore you must workout to improve your body’s ability to use fat for energy.
Women appear to get better fat loss results from sprint interval training with slightly longer work bouts, compared to men, who work better with shorter bouts.
Therefore women should try longer, more moderate intervals than men such as 1 to 2 minute intervals at 80-90% of max effort with a 2:1 or 3:1 work-to-rest ratio.
Due to the metabolic differences, trained women recover faster even when strength training than men. However, in untrained women the opposite is the case.
Long term stress is especially bad for women’s body’s because it can throw hormones out of balance. The mega dose of physical stress from very low calories intake and long duration aerobic training increase cortisol. The effect is hormonal imbalances that inhibit fat loss and make you feel awful.
Most people who lift weights do not lift heavier enough loads to produce any changes in body composition or strength.
Women are most at risk of wasting their time because there is a considerable bias to them lifting anything heavier than the lowest weight possible.
Research showed that when moderately trained women were allowed to pick their own weights, they use loads that were 30% lower than the lightest weight needed to produce any benefit – their weights were too light to build muscle, strength or bone. Plus they didn’t require the use of much energy so minimal calories were burned.
If you lift heavy, your body will respond by getting leaner and more athletic.
The simplest way to figure out what weight to use is to let the reps dictate the load.
If you are training for fat loss, you’ll generally be training in the 10-15 rep range for between 3 and 10 sets – This will lead to a big metabolic disturbance. So if you stick with the 12-15 rep range and you hold 10kg Dumbbells to perform Lunges, but you find you get to 15 reps and you could actually do 16 reps or more, the weight is too light and needs to be increased. Likewise if you can only do 8 reps, the weight is too heavy.
Many people make the mistake of believing they can eat whatever they want if they work out.
Other common problem is that women trying to lose fat have a tendency to favour low calories, low fat packaged and refined foods in the desire to decrease fat intake and count calories. This often leads to constant hunger and lack of nutrients.
Eat REAL food. With the right diet, you don’t even need to workout to reduce body fat, it will obviously just accelerate the results.
Have a clear set out plan of what you are going to do in the gym. This keeps you focussed on your goals and makes sure you don’t time waste and keeps you on track with progressions and adaptations. Write down your weights, distances, speeds, reps, sets etc.