Elevate Your Health With Weight Training


We've tried cycling and we've tried kickboxing. Hopefully, they were able to help you revamp your workout. However, if they just weren't the right fit, don't panic. There is still time to try something new. It's time to put those muscles to the test with weight training.

Weight training is exactly as it sounds - using weights to improve strength. Although it helps to build muscle, studies show that strength-based exercises can help fight obesity. The research, done by the University of Edinburgh, found that the contraction of muscles coupled with strengthening muscles can reduce body fat percentage, increase muscle mass and boost metabolism and energy.

In short, it’s possible to lose weight from lifting weights.

“As you're weight training you’re losing fat, you’re gaining lean muscle tissue, which is a lot denser than fat so it’s going to take up less space in the body for the same amount of weight,” explains Michelle Stratton of FFC Union Station. Michelle breaks down more of the benefits of weight lifting here:

Before going to the gym, think about the goal. Looking to increase endurance, or is the focus more on being able to lift heavier weights? This will decide the number of reps to execute and the weight to select. Opposite what many believe, research shows that increased muscle does not necessarily correlate with an increase in strength. What does this mean? The next time there is a buff bod at the gym, just think, it’s scientifically possible that you might actually be stronger. 

Ready to start lifting? It's time to learn the available equipment. There is the barbell, the long metal bar with adjustable weights. Smaller in size but not necessarily weight, there are also dumbbells, some which come with a fixed weight and others that have weight plates that can be switched out. When switching them out, make sure the plates are secure and fastened properly to avoid them slipping out of place when using them. Weights can come in light two pounders and vary up to more than your body weight.

It's not how much is lifted, but how it's lifted. Proper technique is important for multiple reasons. 100 reps are great, but without an effective technique, you're not maximizing the full potential. Adopt proper form to avoid injury, but don't let the thought of severe injury hold you back. The biggest thing to remember is to use your legs when lifting, whether a weight at the gym or a suitcase while traveling. Leg power will help take the stress off of your back. Bend with the knees and breathe. Posture is also important at all times of the day in all activities, but especially during working out and lifting weights. Lifting wrong can lead to problems with your back, neck, shoulder and other issues. Check out some tips on technique from Brenda Turner of LeanSecrets.

Now that you have the technique downpat, it's time to lift, and lifting more is better, right? Wrong. "Don't overdo it. More is not necessarily better," said Erin, a former U.S. Junior Olympic-certified swim coach, and personal trainer. “You need to rest your muscles in order for them to grow.”

Did you know that you can keep moving while recovering? During an active recovery, the body doesn't stop moving but instead works a different part. Try going from a tricep workout to a bicep workout. You're still moving, but resting at the same time. This doesn't mean go for an hour straight, but something to consider adding into your workout routine when you feel the burn.

According to the American Council on Exercise, there are two types of soreness, one immediate, and the other taking time to develop. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) sets in about 24 to 48 hours after an intense workout session.

The council recommends ice, massage, stretching and even nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to treat DOMS. Soreness and injury can sometimes be disguised as each other, so consult a professional if you have any questions. If you experience discomfort, modify your routine. If injury persists, see a doctor.

With every good weight lifting session comes responsibility. Using shared equipment comes with adopting a proper hygiene routine. Make sure to wipe down any weights before and after use. After is common sense - to wipe away your own sweat so the next person doesn't have to, but for those who did not get that memo, a quick wipe before using can save you from a germy experience. Common gym courtesy involves not dropping weights and stacking them back when you finish with them.

It’s time to kiss the weak you goodbye and add some muscle toning. Like with cycling and kickboxing and really any workout, weight lifting especially must be done in moderation. It’s a slow and steady race. Don’t try to impress anyone by lifting more than you can handle and if you need help, don’t be ashamed to ask. Showing up is half the battle, and impressive.