When lifting weights, you might think of clinking iron weights and piling up the #wins. But even if society seems to want you to believe that lifting is a “male” practice, it is not! Weight training is a great way for people of any gender to strengthen bone health and improve body mechanics.
If you’re looking to lose weight, lifting is also a top option. Here’s how to incorporate weight lifting into your exercise routine to help you achieve your goals (and how to do it safely).
Lifting weights can be intimidating if you’re new to fitness. But don’t worry, Fam. We know how to do it.
1. Choose the right lifting style for your goals
Compound lifts train several muscle groups at the same time. These workouts burn more calories in less time than isolation exercises.
Some examples of compound exercises are:
While you can get more bang for your buck with compound exercises, isolation exercises are also very beneficial. They’re great when you want to focus on a specific muscle (like your pecs or biceps). Isolation exercises are also helpful in rehabilitation after injuries.
Here are some examples:
- Calf raises
- Bicep curls
- lateral lifting
- Leg extension
- Hamstring curls
2. Always choose quality over quantity
Focus more on what you want to accomplish in your routine than how long each workout lasts. You can get better results with shorter, more intense workouts than with longer, but inferior, workouts.
The right shape is also super important. If you rush an exercise or exceed your limits, your form can become sloppy. This increases your risk of injury and can even decrease your exercise results.
3. Set realistic goals and don’t give up
People who set themselves weight loss goals might have better long-term success, according to a 2016 study. Just remember, you won’t be going from 0 to Xena Warrior Princess overnight. And that’s fine!
“Start slowly and don’t give up,” says bodybuilder Alexis Donner. “It takes time, hard work and persistence to achieve fat loss / muscle building goals.”
The most important thing is to set realistic goals. This can help you stay motivated throughout your exercise program. And if you make a mistake, don’t be too strict with yourself.
“If you mess up your diet or exercise one day, just hit the track the next day,” says Donner. “Don’t give up right away.”
4. Add cardio to your strengthening routine
Studies suggest that long-term weight loss results may be better when you combine cardio and weight training. Cardio can help you hit the calorie deficit you need to lose weight. You burn more calories in a single workout than if you did strength training alone.
By the way, you need to burn 500 to 1,000 more calories than you eat each day to lose 1 to 2 pounds in a week.
5. Strengthen your body with a healthy, balanced diet
Studies suggest that consuming protein (the macronutrient that works as a building block for muscles) can help you gain bigger muscle gains and improve physical performance. But carbohydrates and healthy fats are also essential sources of energy.
Here are some delicious protein picks to add to your weight training diet:
- Nuts (such as peanuts, almonds, or cashews)
- Fish (like salmon, tuna, or tilapia)
- Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, or yogurt)
You don’t have to be a 24/7 gym to take advantage of weightlifting.
“Strength training can be broken down into training specific muscle groups so that the whole body doesn’t hurt at once,” says Donner.
Here is an example routine for beginners:
Donner suggests that beginners start with a 30- to 35-minute workout. Try to choose weights that allow you to do 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise. Take short breaks of 30 to 40 seconds between sets. She also recommends doing 25 minutes of cardio 4 times a week.
Remember, these are general guidelines. It is a good idea to consult a certified personal trainer who can offer a customized plan for your goals and needs.
Here are some more weight loss tips to help you achieve your goals:
- Drink more water. H2O reduces the risk of dehydration and can help prevent muscle fatigue.
- Cut out refined carbohydrates. Stick to complex carbohydrates like vegetables, quinoa, barley, legumes, and whole grains. They keep you feeling full and full for much longer than simple carbohydrates (like white bread, white pasta, white rice, cookies, and cakes).
- Practice mindful eating. This is not a diet plan. Rather, it is a healthy diet that can change the way you think about food. It can help you recognize your body’s hunger signals and make meals more enjoyable.
- Be nice to yourself. Studies show that the internalized stigma surrounding weight is linked to poorer weight loss outcomes. But remember, results take time. Try to be patient with the process and treat yourself with kindness. You deserve it ❤️.
Weight lifting is a great way to strengthen and tone your body. It can also help you lose weight, especially when combined with a healthy diet and cardio program.
However, always speak to your doctor before making any major changes to your diet or fitness program, especially if you have any health issues that may be affected.