I speak to a lot of women about what they do at the gym. Typical answers include 20 mins on the crosstrainer, 10 mins on the treadmill, 10 mins on the stepper, a few bicep curls and a few sit ups. If I'm honest, this was me a few years ago in my past life (I worked in marketing before becoming a personal trainer). I thought cardio was the way forward to get rid of fat. I thought lifting a few light weights here and there and using the machines that worked my inner and outer thighs would do the trick. Not only was this unfruitful, boring and to be honest quite soul destroying, I now know this was not the optimal way to spend my time in the gym.
Cardio can be beneficial, if done correctly and combined with weight training. However, the mere mention of weight training often makes women recoil at the thought - picturing body builders such as Jodie Marsh, buff german shot-putters and all-round manly women. I'll give credit though to these women in that to look that muscley takes a lot of dedication and specialised training. It is exceptionally hard for women to build a lot of muscle as they only have a fraction of the testosterone men do and must maintain a strict, regimented and supplemented diet to acheive this look.
Building muscle helps create that toned look so many women are after - you can get rid of your fat (cardio can help this) but you still need to have some muscle underneath for people to see! Compound movements which work multiple muscles will help to burn fat whilst building muscle. Weight training helps you to lose fat by burning more calories... and it's not necessarily the calories burned during the workout that count. Here's why...
You will burn more calories day to day - weight training increases your metabolism (how many calories you burn at rest), as muscle needs more fuel to function than fat, therefore muscle uses more calories on a day to day basis.
You will burn more calories post workout - weight training helps you to burn more calories even after your workout has finished due to 'Excess post exercise oxygen consumption' (EPOC) - simply put, this refers to the additional energy that your body requires in order to return to normality after an intense workout.
Knowing what I do, I still do some cardio, though this is generally done in the form of interval training, using sprints for example (another topic for another time). If done correctly, you can have a cardio work out whilst using weights - it is surprising how out of breath you can get with weights alone! I now love lifting weights. I find it more interesting and enjoy getting stronger and seeing visible results in my muscle definition. It empowers me and gives me a real sense of achievement. Furthermore, it's actually quite practical when a shopping spree goes a bit wild and there's multiple bags to carry!
If you want to find out more about how weights can help you achieve your goals, give me a call or drop me an email for a complimentary consultation.