Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Workout Wednesdays

Today's Workout Wednesday is all about the importance of weights.  As my mum commented on a previous Motivated Monday post, she was told recently by a personal trainer that she needs to do more weight training.  Now my mum is no slouch! She's an active figure skater, an avid pilates fan (stay tuned for posts from her as she enters pilates teacher training in her 60s!), a gym member, a healthy eater and someone who walks around her home city of Vancouver all the time.  When I lived in Vancouver, we often met at the gym where I'd give her tips on weight training and she'd give me tips on body alignment and using the tiny muscles you don't even know you have (thank you pilates training).  But even she admits that without me around, she hasn't been at the gym quite so much (although she's still doing all the other activity).  So why are weights specifically so important, especially for women?

For one, heavy weight training builds lean muscle mass.  Lean muscle mass burns far more calories then fat does so when you increase muscle mass, you increase your metabolic rate even when you're sleeping!  As we get older, our bodies store more fat naturally, especially in women and especially in women in menopause.  We also start seriously losing muscle mass, unless we replace and build it constantly and consistently.

Secondly, strength training helps prevent osteoporosis.  Studies have shown that consistent strength training helps increase bone density and this is especially crucial in menopausal women as their bone density decreases quite dramatically if they don't get enough calcium, vitamin D and if they don't do enough weight bearing activities!  The added benefit of increased strength and balance is also crucial if you do get osteoporosis because the risk of falls, and thus broken bones, will be greatly reduced.

Lastly. strength training just makes you feel good.  It keeps your body toned, tight and athletic, no matter what your age.  Women so often fear bulking up with weights but honestly, flip through a few issues of Oxygen magazine, Muscle and Fitness Hers, FitnessRx and tell me those women are bulky! They are healthy, strong and athletic.  Don't be afraid to lift heavy, you won't get big, you'll get fit!

Getting started can be intimidating.  A great place to start is with a qualified personal trainer you trust.  But personal trainers can be pricey and you really have to do your research because anyone can easily become a personal trainer with nothing more then a certificate printed off the Internet, so here are few great resources to get started:

bodybuilding.com - specifically the Jamie Eason LiveFit 12 week program

Women's Health Perfect Body Diet: The Ultimate Weight Loss and Workout Plan to Drop Stubborn Pounds and Get Fit for Life - phenomenal nutrition and intro to weight lifting book (available at Amazon.com)

Oxygen Magazine - this Robert Kennedy Publishing magazine is pretty much the bible of women's weight and fitness training.  The subscription is pricey but so so worth it!

Muscle and Fitness HERS - another great publication that will motivate and educate

Virtual trainers - there are several personal trainers who offer virtual training.  Basically they get your info, maybe some photos, measurements, goals etc and then create a program for you.  They range in cost and services (some create completely personalized programs, others use various standard programs) but if you can find a good one, you can really get the benefits of personal trainer at a much more attainable cost.

Do you weight train? If you don't, what's stopping you? If you do, what's your favorite muscle to work?

2 comments:

  1. Weight training scares the crap out of me! I look at that side of the gym (when I have a membership) and think... nope! I need to get into it, but for me right now just sticking to cardio everyday will be a challenge :)

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    1. I remember being so intimidated of the weights! I'd be happy to show you some free weight and machine stuff any time you want. It'll change your body and workouts more then anything!

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