Lift weights to lose weight

When I say lift weights I’m not talking heavy barbells and pumping iron Popeye-style, but resistance training. We’ve been doing it at Fit for a Princess since the start – we are mocked for our pink dynabands, I’ve even heard someone say ‘Ha, check out those girlie elastic bands, can’t imagine they’ll do much good!’, but they work, as do hand weights and using your own body weight. It’s something that women should do more of and here’s why:

Janey Holliday working out

Janey working out with weights

1. Pound for pound muscle is smaller than fat, therefore it should be in our interest to lose fat and increase muscle mass. You can’t increase muscle mass from cardio alone, a combination of the two is necessary for optimum short and long term results.

2. Muscle is metabolically active, whereas fat just sits there. In fact, for every pound of increased muscle you gain, you’ll need an extra 50 calories a day to service the tissue. If you lost 5lbs of fat and gained 5lbs of muscle, you’d weigh the same, be smaller AND need an extra 250 calories a day to essentially do nothing – another reason to get rid of the scales. This is often where women get a second wind of weight loss a few months into a fitness program because if they eat the same but need 250 calories more a day, in two weeks, they’ll have dropped an additional pound of fat without doing anything!

3. Resistance training helps ward off osteoporosis. Simply put, strength training makes us stronger all over. On that note, you may want to avoid eating too much dairy which research has now proved actually causes it – get your calcium from non-acidic sources and exercise, read the up-to-date advice on this here. Our bones, like our muscles, get stronger when used. Exercise shouldn’t just be about aesthetics, but about living longer too.

4. Women look great with shape and definition. It doesn’t mean being skinny, but being slimmer, stronger with tighter muscles and better muscle definition. This can make women look a dress size smaller, feel confident in a swimsuit and reduce cellulite and saggy skin, even though they might weigh the same on the scales or more sometimes.

5. Whatever age you are, resistance training is beneficial, but none more so than for new mums. Women’s metabolisms are 15-25% lower after they’ve given birth and fat cells are sluggish after practically hibernating. Gentle resistance training – upper body work with bands and small weights, squats, side leg raises, rear leg raises, bum squeezes and ab pull ins for example, will all help get their body stronger quicker and increase metabolism.

Body composition is key, check out this picture doing the rounds on Facebook about the different women all weighting 150lbs, I’m not saying we should be like the girl on the right, but I’m sure you can understand why I’m sharing this with you.

Janey x

PS You won’t bulk out either… it’s practically impossible for women to do that.. combine with cardio and be patient with the results, changing body composition is a process and can take time. But remember, the time will pass anyway!

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