"Should I strength train/lift weights?"
"I just want to loose weight. Won't weight training make me bulk up?'".
I have learned a lot over the last 10 weeks of my lifting program of choice, StrongLifts, and I'd like to share some tips to getting started with lifting. I believe that Weight Training is an essential component for ANY athlete, regardless of your goal.
Tips for adding weight training to your schedule:
Youtube has some awesome videos if you are looking for guidance on how to do certain exercises. When I started StrongLifts, I didn't know what a Deadlift or an Overhead Press looked like. BAM! Looked it up on Youtube. Practice the movements at home in front of the mirror, and you'll be ready to go when you get to the gym! Don't be afraid to practice the movements with no weight until you get it right- good form is SO important.
One of the toughest parts of learning to lift was actually entering The Weight Room. Its usual inhabitants are hulky muscle men- Can you really fit in next to them? The answer, of course, is HELL Yes! First of all, as long as you're being safe, don't be shy about staking out a weight bench and taking your time figuring things out. We're not talking about monopolize the bench for hours, but know that your 20 (or 30 or 50) lb bench press is just as important as their 140 lb ones! Secondly, most hulky muscle men are pretty friendly, if you greet them as weight-lifting equals. Nothing to be afraid of!
It's hard to escape the Cardio Trap, and I know it well- "If I stop doing cardio, I won't loose the weight I'd like to. Maybe I should wait until I hit my 'goal weight' before I start lifting".Weight training doesn't burn as many calories during the actual workout, but has a much greater afterburn than cardio exercise. If you're nervous about dropping cutting out cardio, or you love running, etc., phase in weight training little by little.
Maybe start with 2 days/week for 30 minutes, and over time, you can transition out some of that cardio! I started by doing 30 mins of cardio 5 x/week and 30 mins weights 2 x/week. Now, for the past 10 weeks, I've been doing 30-60 mins of running 3 x/week and 60 mins weights 3 x/week! I haven't bulked up or turned into a she-hulk, I promise! And my bodyfat % has decreased by nearly 5% in 2 months! Not too shabby, weightlifting. Not too shabby at all. :)
Like any other fitness routine, weight training will give you the most results when you engage in it regularly. Whether you're starting out with 1 or 2 half-hour sessions a week, or going for 3-4 hour-long sessions per week, figure out when you'll get that weight training in, and what your routine will be. Even if your focus isn't building muscle, there's no reason NOT to make yourself a lifting program, or find one and follow it (New Rules of Lifting for Women or StrongLifts are two popular ones).
I feel that as a lady lifter, it's my role to spread the good word- the Lifting Gospel, if you will! Adding a strength building component to my workouts has had a lot of benefits for me, and I want to let other folks know that you don't have to shy away from weights and that strength training has lots of healthy benefits:
- Increased strength
- Feeling like a badass
- Stronger running
- Fat loss and muscle gains
- Repping for strong ladies everywhere!
If so, how are you liking it?
If not, what's holding you up?