I’ve talked a lot about my fitness journey here on the blog and I’ve got to say, the one common theme has been this: lifting weights has played the most crucial role in my fat loss. But before we get into that, let’s talk about a few of the most common hesitations when it comes to lifting weights:
MYTH: I’ll only bulk up if I lift weights.
MYTH: I won’t lose fat if I lift weights.
MYTH: I’ll look masculine if I lift weights.
Spoiler. Those are all false. I’ll also admit that I was totally one of the many women that thought the exact same thing. Until I didn’t.
When I first started my own fitness journey, I was doing about 45 minutes of weight training five days a week with about 10-15 minutes of cardio each of those days. I lost 30 pounds. At the time, I was terrified to lift weights and, not just lift, lift heavy. I was convinced that I was totally going to bulk up, lose curves and somehow gain weight in a “bad” way. I was very wrong.
I’m here to tell you that weight training is not bad. It is very, very, very good when done correctly.
All of my coaching clients do at least three days of weight training every week (going up to five or six) depending on their goals and activity level. I personally do five days of weight training every week with minimal cardio. I love to lift and I love to see my muscles working and I love getting stronger. As the same time, I’m able to “tone up” and lost fat and keep my curves — all because of weights. You can do the same.
If you’re looking to start incorporating weight training into your fitness routine or if you already are but want to get the most out of it, here are some of my go-to tips.
Tips for Weight Training
Tip No. 1 Spread the Love
Don’t try to tackle everything in one day. I like to break up my workouts by body part so I can put the focus on the different muscle groups. My current workout split is:
Monday: Quads & Glutes | Tuesday: Back & Shoulders | Wednesday: Biceps, Triceps | Thursday: Glutes & Hamstrings | Friday: Chest & Abs
Not only does this allow me to work on a full range of muscles throughout the week but I can give these different muscles time to recover in between workouts which is crucial.
Tip No. 2 Don’t Be Afraid to Go Heavy (safely)
Start at a weight that is comfortable but still challenging. By the end of each set, you should be near fatigue. For example: if you’re able to get through ten squats without any challenge, you should add on weight in increments of 5-10 pounds until you notice a change. After two to three weeks at that weight, you should be able to increase by five pounds or increase the number of reps to create an additional challenge.
Now, to be fair, the rate at which you progress weight or frequency over time will vary depending on your goals but don’t be afraid to lift a little heavy. Strong muscles lead to fat loss and also have a ton of other amazing benefits to your overall health, bone support and more.
Tip No. 3 Protect the Bod
This is a no brainer. Stretch. Before and after every single workout. Break out the foam roller if you’re really feeling the pain. Work out the lactic acid building up in those muscles of yours.
And the only thing a little more important than stretching in my book? Rest days. I can’t stress the importance of a rest day enough. I have to beg some of my clients to actually take a day or two off every week. It’s a common misconception that we need to work out seven days a week for hours on end to lose fat or reach our goals. You don’t. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t. Your body needs time to recover and build and change. Giving your body a complete rest day – as in NO physical activity – is only going to help you. If you like to stay active and keep your body moving, aim for five work out days per week with one active recovery day like yoga or lightweight pilates or swimming. And then on the seventh day, you rest.