Weight lifting is a vital part of weight loss. Building and maintaining muscle helps to boost metabolism and prevent losing muscle mass as your body fat decreases. According to the Centers for Disease Control, weight lifting boosts metabolism by up to 15 percent. It also builds muscle tone, which helps to shape your body and may help your clothes fit better as you lose weight. Check with your doctor before starting a new weight lifting program, especially if you have a history of chronic illness or injury.
Make Up Your Mind
Evaluate your goals and desires as you consider your options. Some programs are geared specifically toward weight loss while others incorporate the additional focus of increasing muscle mass.
Determine the time commitment you are comfortable incorporating into your life. Some programs require two to three days of weight lifting, while others require five to seven. Choosing a program you can realistically complete is important for success.
Decide whether you want to go to the gym or workout in your own home. Weight lifting programs work in both locations as long as you have the equipment necessary to complete each exercise.
Time to Sweat
Get your blood pumping with a warm-up regardless of the program you choose. Hop on the treadmill or elliptical for five to 10 minutes before heading over to the weight machines so your muscles are warm.
Start off easy if you’re not used to lifting weights. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains that one set of 12 to 15 repetitions is beneficial. Start with a weight that is just heavy enough that you can complete one set but are not fatigued before finishing the set.
Allow adequate time for your muscles to rest and recover between workouts. Avoid working the same muscle group two days in a row. Alternating full-body strength-training workouts with cardio workouts between provides rest and burns more calories at the same time.
- Natural News: Why Weight Loss Requires Strength Training, Even in Women and Seniors
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Why Strength Training?
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Starting a Strength Training Program
- ExRx.net: Fat Loss and Weight Training Myths
- Cleveland Clinic: Heart and Vascular Health and Prevention