As with every new challenge, it was a learning experience. I hadn't lifted anything over 10 pounds since I was in college. I struggled, I mean really struggled, to lift 5 and 8 pound weights in the beginning but it quickly got better. Now I use 10-15 pound weights for upper body circuit training and 15-25 pounds for lower body training. Practice produces progress!
Having said all that, you still may be thinking "but yeah, what were your results?" "Can I really incorporate strength training and still lose weight?" You may have heard the myth that muscle weighs more than fat – it is in fact a myth, a pound of muscle is...a pound. It can’t weigh any more than that because a pound is a pound. But I digress, I’ll save that topic for another post :).
Here are my results (and this was achieved AFTER reaching my goal weight, If you still have a significant amount of fat to lose, you stand to achieve even BETTER results):
What I Lost
- 3 inches in my waist
- 2.5 inches in my hips
- 3 inches in my abductors
- 1.5 inches across my chest
- 10 pounds
- 7 percentage points of body fat
What I Gained
- A flatter stomach
- Tighter thighs
- Stronger arms
- An appreciation for lifting heavy weights
- An understanding of how the female body responds to heavy weights (you won't bulk up)
- A better understanding of what to eat to get lean (lots of protein)
Okay, now that you understand that resistance training doesn’t have to hamper your results, are you ready to get started?
Here is your formula for success:
- Train each major muscle group (i.e., the muscle groups of the chest, shoulders, upper and lower back, abdomen, hips, and legs) 2-3 days a week with at least 48 hours separating the exercise training sessions for the same muscle group.
- Focus on multi-joint (complex) exercises affecting more than one muscle group (ex. chest press) as they burn more calories than single joint movements and increase your resting metabolic rate.
- To be effective, the training program should consist of 8 to 10 different exercises targeting the major muscle groups.
- One or more sets of each exercise with 10-15 repititions of moderate intensity (5-6 on a 10 point scale) is a good starting point. You’ll get better over time.
- Don’t kick cardio to the curb! You still need 3-5 days of cardio exercise to maximize fat loss.