“I can’t do weights as when I stop it will all turn into fat!”
Firstly, why would you stop? Regular training is the key; not random bursts because of an forthcoming event or holiday. Training is about being healthy. All of your life.
But if you had to stop training your muscle still wouldn’t turn into fat. Muscle and fat are two completely different things.
Muscle is your active tissue that enables you to move. Stressing this tissue by moving weights around creates changes in the tissue; microscopic damage and repair. This repair creates thicker, bigger and stronger muscles. This process requires adequate food and rest. If you are strength training you will be using a lot more calories than somebody who does not lift weights.
Without this stress to the muscle, the muscle tissue will start to waste away. And with the dwindling muscle fibres your requirement for lots of calories will also dwindle. However, many people will have got used to their new eating habits and many people will continue to eat as if they were still lifting heavy weights. These surplus calories will now be stored as fat
Many women believe that lifting heavy weights will make them look big and bulky
It is actually hard work to build big bulky muscles. It requires the correct level of training, a strict diet, good genetics, the right hormones, plenty of sleep and loads of dedication! Most men struggle to get this right and they have the benefit of lots of testosterone in their bodies. If you truly think you will end up like a bodybuilder if you do some heavy squats, then consider this – that bodybuilder may train for 2 hours a day; may get up every night at 3am to eat a protein-rich meal; have no cheat meals or alcohol in their diet; adhere to their training regime regardless of social or family events. Are you going to do this?!
Over the 19 years I have trained people I truly wish I had £1 for every time a woman told me she doesn’t want to do much weight training as she only wants to ‘tone’ and not build muscle.
What is this mysterious ‘tone’? Many women just want some shape to their muscles. Shapely muscles not obscured by fat. I think this is what they mean by ‘tone’. So this means lowering your body fat and building muscle. This means strength training!
You can strengthen and build muscle by lifting light weights, but to overload the muscles you would need to do many, many repetitions. This is both time consuming and involves much repetition at the joints (which could in time lead to RSI).
You need to stress the muscles in order to create growth. Stressing this tissue by moving weights around creates changes in the tissue; microscopic damage and repair. This repair creates thicker, bigger and stronger muscles.
Lifting heavy weights will create a slight build in the muscle MUCH quicker, with the added benefit of burning more calories. So you will get a little bit more muscle and less fat. Faster. And as long as you lift with good technique, you are actually less likely to get the aches and strains that you would with the highly repetitive movements involved in lifting light weights, to get the same result
More classes/cardio will help?
When trying to achieve fat loss goals, a common mistake is actually to over-train. This isn’t as dramatically obvious as it first sounds. You may feel tired a lot of the time, you may have aches and strains, but equally you may just not be getting results that you want.
To make a change you need to show your body that you want it to adapt. This means two things; you need to train regularly, and you need to train at a level that is hard to maintain for long. This may be slightly unpleasant. Slightly. You don’t need to push yourself so hard that you vomit at the end of your workout.
Once you get the level of training right, you only need to train around 3-4 times per week. Every week (you can even have a holiday and stay fit, it will be okay!)
So if the intensity isn’t correct, there is no point in adding more and more gym sessions or classes. Doing too much cardio will actually lose you some of that muscle. Do less. Train smarter.
Think about what you do in a week. Do you do 6 classes (some back-to-back) that are great fun but you want to lose weight and tone up (see previous!) but it’s not happening? Or you do the same gym work-out that you had when you started? Or you can chat all the way through your workout without paying any attention to what you are doing? Training like this is really maintenance-level training.
Change what you do. Strength training is the quickest way to build some muscle and lose some fat.
Be lean and toned !