Why Weight Training for Weight Loss?
Many people have the misconception that weight loss is all about watching what you eat and cardio, while weight training is for bulking up. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Toning the muscles boosts the metabolism, something that cardio exercise doesn’t tend to do. In addition, weight training adds more definition to the muscles, making it easier to look in shape than just losing the fat alone. So, even for weight loss, weight training is a vital component.
Now, there is a reason why most people don’t stick with a weight training routine. You can train too often and over train, or train too little and not get any results. You can burn yourself out, or even worse, injure yourself if you are not careful. So, here are a few tips to help you succeed with your weight loss:
Split the Body into Different Muscle Groups – While cardiovascular exercise can be done frequently, when it comes to weight resistance, it’s a much different story. After training a specific muscle group, that muscle group needs at least 72 hours to recover from a workout. So, to avoid overworking any particular muscle group, split the body into at least two or three groups of muscles to train on separate days. This will allow the muscles to have adequate time to recover before working them again.
Start Out with Machines – If you are unfamiliar with weight training exercises, ideally the best bet is to work with a professional to help teach you proper form. However, if you are unable to work with one, the next best thing is to start out with machine exercises. While not quite as beneficial as free-weights, machine exercises are a far safer alternative. Most machines give you a basic diagram showing you the proper settings and form on the machines, helping you to get used to a movement which works that particular muscle. This dramatically decreases your chances of injuries due to poor form. As you become more familiar with the machines you can gradually progress to pulley and cable machines along with free weights.
Go Heavy, But Not Too Heavy – You don’t want to select a weight where you are doing the movement (repetitions) for minutes at a time without needing a break. Conversely, you don’t want to lift such heavy weight where you can’t do at least 6-8 repetitions of the movement. The typical range for weight resistance exercises is 8-15 repetitions, with 6-8 being more for strength and 10-15 being more for muscle toning. Repetitions should be done in a fluid motion, with no stopping at the top or bottom of the movement. Once you have done all your repetitions, you should take about a one-minute break before beginning the exercise again. Each particular exercise should be done approximately 2-4 times before moving onto the next exercise. Keep exercises for the same body part grouped together, as once you have the blood pumping into that muscle, you want to keep it there for optimal toning.