5 reasons to lift weights today

7 October 2015 by
First published: 21 April 2015

Strength-training is the secret to a smoking hot body, so get motivated with WHL’s 5 reasons to lift weights today. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in weight-training classes and specialist studios including CrossFit, Speedflex and the women-only StrongHer, which have hundreds of celebrity devotees.

Weight-training evangelists Cameron Diaz, Nicole Scherzinger and Chloe Madeley all maintain their enviable flat stomachs, pert bums and toned legs by strapping on the weight gloves and lifting heavy. Here’s why you should, too.

1. You’ll become a fat-burning machine

Weight-training is amazing for fat-burning both during and after exercise sessions. Just 30 minutes of weight-training burns as many calories as running at a six-minute-per-mile pace for the same amount of time, and as your muscles repair your body continues to burn fat.

‘Lifting weights turns your muscles into fat-burning furnaces.’ Says Andrew Stemler from Crossfit London UK. ‘Incorporating weight-training into your routine has lots of benefits: it protects and strengthens joints, and strengthens your bones. It’s not enough to be cardio fit or yoga flexible – you need to be strong as steel to survive. CrossFit is amazing as it combines cardio with strength and skill. The simple reality is that in a dangerous world, stronger people are harder to kill.’

2. You’ll increase your metabolism

It’s simple: more muscle equals a higher resting metabolism, so building lean muscle turns your body into a calorie-burning powerhouse. After each weight-training session your metabolism can be boosted for up to 36 hours, meaning you’ll burn more calories all day – at work, sitting on the couch and while you’re sleeping. Result! Around the age of 30, the metabolism begins to decline; lifting weights can reverse this and help you keep your metabolism elevated for as long as possible.

Steve Bishop, personal trainer at Speedflex, says, ‘While cardiovascular exercise is a great way of burning the fat, adding a little strength training to your workouts will earn you extra burnt calories every day. At Speedflex we provide a combined cardio and resistance workout through high-intensity interval training – this involves our unique machines alongside various other gym equipment such as medicine balls and kettlebells to provide a full-body functional workout to rev up the metabolism.’

3. You’ll get a banging body

Lifting weights helps you change your body shape and stay lean. Many are scared to lift, especially heavy weights, because they think they’ll end up looking like Arnie; instead, lifting weights will actually help give you definition, which makes you look toned once you lose body fat. Also, strengthening your muscles, particularly your back, shoulders and core, will improve your posture and rid you of any unattractive slouching.

Joe Wicks, Instagram fitspo star and The Body Coach says, ‘Weight-training is really important if you are looking to shape your physique. Aerobic exercise is great for losing weight but if you incorporate weights into your training session you’re not only building muscle but also improving your bone health, flexibility, balance and posture. Lots of women are wary of weight-training but honestly it is the best way to burn fat and get lean. But remember, you body needs the right fuel to burn fat – check out #Leanin15 on my Instagram (@thebodycoach) for loads of recipe ideas that will help you get the best out of your training.’

The Body Coach’s 90-Day ‘Shape Shift and Sustain’ programme is available for £147.

4. You’ll build strength without building bulk

Increasing your strength may not be on top of your agenda, but the boost in strength and endurance you’ll get from weight-training will make performing everyday tasks easier and decrease chances of injury. In fact, moderate training can increase your strength by 30-50 per cent, but unlike men, women won’t bulk out.

Steve says, ‘You would need to eat a huge amount of food to get bigger, as women produce far less of the hormone responsible for muscle growth than men, so bulking up is highly unlikely. A more likely outcome is that, with a continued combination of weights/cardio and a good diet, you would burn more fat, feel stronger and look leaner.’

5. You’ll increase bone density and ward off osteoporosis

A lesser known fact about weight-training is that it will help you build stronger bones, which is particularly important for women as osteoporosis is much more common in women than it is in men.

Weight-training can ward off the chance of suffering debilitating fractures that can be incurred as bone mass decreases with age.