Take the lift

Looking to lose body fat fast? Lifting weights, not cardio, is the surest way for any woman to get a lean, toned physique says fitness expert Kelly Tyers

First, let’s get one thing cleared up. Lifting heavy weights will not make you look like a man. Simple. What lifting heavy weights will do is give you a lean, toned physique and speed your metabolism up – meaning your body is more efficient at burning fat. In terms of those ladies out there who want fat loss (I’m steering away from the term ‘weight loss’ here and I’ll explain why later) cardio is not always the greatest option. Pounding away on the treadmill for hours will of course get you on your way to losing some of those wobbly bits, but you will always hit a bit of a wall in regards to losing fat through cardio.

EASY AS YOU LIKE

And there are a couple of key reasons why – 1: It can get boring leading to demotivation. 2: Your body can get used to this kind of training very quickly. Don’t get me wrong here, I love cardio but I have noticed a change in my body a lot more by doing weight training. As with all training, it depends on your goals. If you’re planning on doing the half marathon, then long terms of cardio is necessary. If you’re looking to get rid of fat, then two hours of cardio isn’t necessary. Some women may gain a little more muscle than others by using weights as a result of naturally having a slightly higher level of testosterone in their body, but they still won’t get ‘bulky’. Testosterone is the hormone needed for muscles to grow in size and levels are normally seven or eight times higher in men. Weight training can be as easy or complicated as you like. Trainers in a gym will be able to provide a programme designed to your goals, but the simplest advice I can give you as a starting point is to use compound exercises. These are where you use more than one muscle group at one time – for example, rather than a bicep curl go for an exercise that uses your biceps and your back at the same time. This way, you will target your full body more quickly. It’s only when you want to get really specific that you will need to start breaking your sessions down into upper body/lower body work-out days. The other benefit of weight training is that it’s a lot more variable, so avoiding the risk of boredom setting in. Each session you can do something different, whether that be the exercises themselves or the order in which you do them.

KEEPING CHECK

If it’s fat loss you’re after, weights are the way – but it’s important you don’t focus on your ‘weight’. Most of you have probably heard that muscle weighs more than fat, which is totally true. But muscle takes up less space than fat, so rather than checking your weight get your body fat percentage checked. This will tell you how much of your overall weight is fat, muscle, bones, etc, and also give you a breakdown of your hydration level, metabolic age and your internal (visceral) fat which if high, can be very dangerous. In summary, weights will make you feel stronger, give you a lean and toned body, more variance in your training, improve your confidence and put you on the track to your desired body.

Kelly Tyers is fitness manager at theclubandspa in The Cube