The Benefits of Weight Training

There’s so many different types of exercise out there so how are you meant to know which one is best to shave those inches off your butt? Or how about if you wanted to beef up your back? Or even if you’re in training for a triathlon? 

It’s tricky and to be totally honest, the best answer is…. Mix it up. 

This post is going to be the first in a series of helping you to understand the benefits of different types of exercise and break down some of the mystery surrounding them. 

I’m starting with weight training, my favourite. 

Firstly, let me debunk the biggest myth about weight training. Ladies, if you lift weights you’re NOT GOING TO TURN INTO A MAN. That’s because we women simply don’t produce enough testosterone to grow manly muscles. Yes, we can increase our muscle mass and decrease our body fat to look toned but you’ll never be ripping out of your tops, don’t worry. 

Here are the benefits of lifting heavy things and putting them down again:

1) Increased muscle mass will speed up your metabolism, helping you to burn more calories when at rest because muscle burns more calories than fat. It will also allow you to eat more food without putting on weight. Result

2)  Everyday activities will become easier as your body gets stronger. Just think, you just might be able to carry all of your shopping bags into the house in one trip

3) Bone density is improved by putting heavy loads onto your bones through activities like weight lifting. This is particularly important as you age and you can  actually reverse the early signs of osteopenia or osteoporosis through weight lifting

4) You’ll get lean, that all-encompassing golden fitness goal. While you might not see any difference on the scales, your clothes will feel looser and you will be tighter all over as 1lb of muscle takes up a lot less space than 1lb of fat

5) Your posture will improve, instantly giving the illusion that you’re taller and slimmer. By strengthening your core (including your back) you’ll be able to pull your shoulder-blades down your back, elongating your neck and pulling in your waist

6) Improves motor skills like balance and coordination. If you can clean and jerk like a boss then your everyday life will be a breeze

7) Decreases the risk of injury through strengthening bones, ligaments and tendons. Say goodbye to back pain, twisted ankles and twinges in your knees

8) Weight lifting, like any exercise, releases endorphins which will instantly lift your mood and make everything seem better. Remember this one when you can’t be bothered to go to the gym. 

9) It allows you to focus very specifically on muscles and areas that you want to work. For example, you can work on bulking up your calves or ‘toning’ your upper arms by working on your biceps and triceps. I seem to spend an unnecessary amount of time on my glutes for some reason…

When you start weight lifting it’s a good idea to have a session either with a Personal Trainer or Gym Instructor so that they can show you the proper form and technique on the resistance machines and free weights. Technique is so important when you’re loading your body with heavy things as it can be very easy to do something wrong and not work out the part of your body that you’re trying to target or get injured. 

Get in touch if you have any questions or if you want to start lifting heavy things with me!

Top 10 Gym Fails

Most people join the gym to lose a bit of weight and they think that because they’ve watched a few episodes of The Biggest Loser they know what they’re doing. WRONG. The gym can be a dangerous place is you don’t know what you’re doing. Oh, and chances are you’re going to look ridiculous while you’re doing it…

However, if you get it right (with the help of Personal Trainer like me!) the gym can be a magical place that will help you to hit your short and long-term goals. It can encourage a healthier lifestyle by changing your attitude towards your body. And if you lose a bit of body fat and gain a bit of muscle in the process that can’t be a bad thing!

1)   Not reading instructions

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Most resistance machines will have instructions on the side, look at them. Not only can it be dangerous to use them incorrectly but they also won’t be effective. If there are no instructions, ask someone. Don’t look like a noob…

2)   Going too heavy too quick

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As funny as it can be when someone fails, it’s also really dangerous and you’re just putting yourself at risk of serious injury. Be patient, work up to the heavy weights.

3)   Getting bro’d out

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Just because your bro is pumping iron, doesn’t mean you can or should. Listen to your body, work up to where they are and take it slowly

4)   Not having a good spotter

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When you’re lifting heavy make sure you have someone that knows how to spot you and that you trust. You’re putting your life (and your face) in their hands…

5)   Getting ‘creative’

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Only start making things up if you really know what you’re doing or if an experienced trainer is there. Oh, and NEVER PUT EXERCISE BALLS NEAR TREADMILLS.

6)   Not checking your technique

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Incorrect technique can be dangerous and totally ineffective. And it can make you look like an ass.

7)   Ignoring health and safety

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Lift with your knees, not your back. Wear safe footwear. Use the machines correctly, don’t try to outsmart them.

8)   Showing off

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It will hurt and you will look ridiculous. Also, the type of people that find that impressive might not be the type of people you want in your life.

9)   Not checking the equipment

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 Although the gym will check their equipment every day, it should still be your responsibility to not use a machine or any equipment that doesn’t look right. Use your brain yeah?

10)   Not sharing space

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Everyone pays their gym membership equally so don’t act like you own the place. Share nicely, don’t sit on machines during sets and be nice to newbies, you were one once! 

Run To The Beat 10km Training – Part 1

If you’ve been following this blog since the beginning, you’ll know that I started it with a post about how I was getting back into fitness through running. You might also have noticed that I have a love/hate relationship with running. Which is why I decided to sign up to Run To The Beat 10k to prove to myself that I can run and I can also ‘be a runner’. 

So this is part 1 of my training route to the 10k on September 14th. 

I’m following a 5k to 10k training programme to help me judge my training and pace and it’s working really well! 

Week 1:

Monday – Rest day – totally nailed this one

Tuesday – 20 minute run (moderate) – skipped this and went to a 60 minute Warriors (boxing fitness class)

Wednesday – Rest day – I felt like a run so I did! 2.45km at 06:27 average pace followed by 60 minute boxing class

Thursday – 20 minute run (moderate) – skipped this for a 30 minute cycle and 30 minute PT session

Friday – 20 minute run (easy) – did this on the treadmill at the gym followed by 35 minutes of making up my own circuits

Saturday – Rest day – easy peasy

Sunday – 35 minutes long run – I did 30 minutes at 06:43 pace and then a 30 minute PT session (in the pissing rain…)

Week 2:

Monday – Rest day – which was lucky as I had a tummy bug

Tuesday – 25 minute run moderate – Skipped this to go to 60 minute yoga class which was much kinder on my tummy than a run

Wednesday – Rest day – I did a 21 minute run at a pace of 06:21 and then a 30 minute PT session

Thursday – 30 minute run moderate – life got in the way of this one but I did a 40 minute cycle instead

Friday – 25 minute run easy – did this one on the treadmill in the gym followed by a 30 minute circuit session including TRX, battle ropes and trying not to laugh at the gym posers

Saturday – Rest day – Squeezed in a 30 minute PT session 

Sunday – 40 minute long run – This is tomorrow’s challenge and I’m a little nervous as it’s going to be the longest that I’ll have ever run. Watch this space! 

I’ve also been making sure that I’m eating plenty of food as running on a calorie deficit is just plain miserable. I’ve reintroduced protein shakes in the mornings with salads for lunch and a good sized snack in the afternoons even if I’m not hungry followed by a dinner that includes protein, carbs and good fats.

Even though I might not be sticking to the plan exactly, my running is feeling stronger, my little legs are moving faster than they ever have before and I’m starting to believe that a 10k might actually be in my reach!