You would be surprised at the number of girls I talk to who think that the key to achieving the body they want is cardio - and hours of it! Whilst cardio is an important tool for weight loss, it is not the only style of training that you should be focusing on. Resistance (weight) training is what gives your muscles shape and tone, perfecting that bikini body look that a lot people strive for. Surprisingly, lifting weights doesn’t mean you want to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger girls, and doing a bit of it wont make you look like him either! Here are 7 reasons you should add resistance training to your workout ASAP;
It Strengthens Your Bones & Muscles
Weight training may increase bone density, reducing the risk of fractures and breaks as you get older. It also helps to strengthen your muscles and improve your balance, which may decrease the chances of falling and fracturing your bones.
It Burns More Calories
Strength-based, plyometric exercises, such as those seen in my Bikini Body Training Guide can help get your heart racing and burn more calories than if you were to walk or run for the same amount of time. This is because they require more energy output (i.e. effort), and therefore a greater number of calories. Some of my favourite calorie-burning exercises include burpees and jump squats, which use several major muscle groups at the same time.
It Helps You Lose More Fat
In addition to burning more calories, resistance training may help your body to burn more fat overall. Score! This is because weight training, particularly when done at a high intensity, not only burns calories while you're exercising but due to its unique nature if also means your body is "running hot" for a short period after. For various reasons including oxygen deficits, metabolic changes and hormones, your body can potentially still burn fat for a period of time while resting, after a high intensity workout. It is important to remember that losing fat may cause noticeable changes in your body (e.g. decrease in size, increase in tone) when looking in the mirror, but the number on the scales may not change. This is because resistance training can increase the amount of lean muscle you have, which is heavier but takes up less space than fat. So simply put, if fat goes down, but muscle goes up, your weight could essentially stay the same.
You Can See Your Personal Growth
Everybody has different fitness goals, and that is perfectly okay! The amazing thing about resistance training and lifting weights in general is that you are able to see how far you’ve come. For example, you may have started weighted lunges with 4kg dumbbells and barely made it through your set, while now you are able to easily get through it with 8kg dumbbells. I love weight training because it helps bring you satisfaction, you can physically see and feel if you have gotten better. Both of these things can encourage you to keep going and continue to improve. Oh, and you feel like a girl boss ;)
You Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack & Diabetes
As we age we naturally lose muscle mass, which makes us weaker and more prone to weight gain. Resistance training can help slow down age-related muscle loss, which means that you are not only looking better, but you are also protecting your health. During exercise, muscle tissue helps to remove additional glucose and triglycerides from your bloodstream, which can help to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. There is also evidence that suggests that resistance training can help improve high blood pressure.
You Become Better At Other Things
Yes, you heard right! When you are stronger, fitter and have more endurance, you will automatically become better at other movement-based activities that you attempt. Whether that be hiking, playing group sports or simply making it up the stairs to work everyday! You may find you become more coordinated and it will become easier to get through your workouts. Let’s not forget the all important trip of carrying groceries from your car to the house - this might also become easier over time!
You Can Do It In A Short Amount Of Time
Cardio sessions, such as LISS, can sometimes take up a good portion of an hour, which can be tricky to squeeze in before work or between commitments. Fortunately, with resistance training, you don't need to spend hours at the gym to see results. Completing a few 30 minute sessions a week, in addition to some light cardio is enough to get your heart racing and improve muscle strength and tone. The fact that it takes less time means that it it will be easier to fit into your schedule if you are running short on time.
I hope you see the benefits of weight training, girls. It can really help take your body to the next level, while also having a number of positive effects on your overall health. Don’t be afraid to lift weights, just keep them light and focus on repetitions rather than weight. Like cardio, keep in mind that resistance training is not the ONLY solution to achieving your health and fitness goals. Instead, focus on creating a balanced exercise program, consisting of resistance training AND cardio, while also leaving time for rehabilitation and rest.
Love Kayla xx