To achieve weight loss, you need to increase the number of calories your body burns all day, every day. It’s not just about what you burn when you workout, it’s about how many calories you burn even when you’re sleeping. Yes, sleeping. Guess what burns a TON of calories?? Yep, muscle… long, lean, beautiful muscle. A solid strength workout is the fastest way to a long, lean body.
This is the BEST kept secret in weight loss, besides KETO. You need to lift weights, heavier than your cute 5lb dumbells. The more muscle you build, the more metabolically healthy you will be.
I’m not one for parsing words here, you need to join a gym. Like today. It’s really hard to lift enough weight with a home dumbbell collection. I don’t care if you like your gym, it doesn’t matter. This is about weight loss. The fastest way possible. There are gyms that cost $10 a month. Find the best one you can afford and make sure it’s close to your house or work.
Go to the gym twice a week and do a full-body strength workout. When you join, they’ll likely offer you a free session with a personal trainer. They’re going to try to sell you personal training. If you can afford it, go for it. If not, this is what you do.
Tell the trainer you want a full-body workout prescription. Even if you have to pay for 1-2 sessions to learn it. You need an exercise for each body part, that includes extra weight, not just your bodyweight or light bands. You should be using free weights if you’re advanced, machines mostly if you’re a beginner. Be bossy here. Let them know you want something you can do on your own, to BUILD muscle. They should give you a weight that makes you really tired after about 8-10 reps.
No. Baby. Weights. You will NOT bulk… trust me, or read this.
If you’re de-conditioned, or lifting for the first time, you may have to start with bodyweight exercises like modified pushups, bodyweight squats, and bands. That said, you MUST progress past that point. Otherwise, you’ll TONE muscle but not BUILD muscle. Building muscle helps you lose weight. If you don’t lose the extra weight you’ll never see the TONED muscles under the fat. Sorry, I tell you the truth, even when it hurts.
CAUTION about CORE (AB) work. One of the most imbalanced areas is our core. You should always train low back and abdominal muscles together. This ensures that the entire ‘core’ musculature is strong, stable, and balanced. This is one area where a personal trainer shines. If you can’t afford personal training, google ‘superman’ exercises for low back and do that whenever you do sit-ups or crunches. Planks are also good at activating both abdominal and low back muscles.
You should strength train your full body, twice a week. Use weights that you can barely lift when you get to 10 or 11 reps. Alternate between upper and lower body exercises if you can. For example, do chest press then leg press. It lets your muscles rest and keeps your heart rate up by requiring the blood to shunt from upper to lower body. Do two sets if time allows, it should take no more than 30 minutes. When the weight gets to easy, increase it.
Get a Personal Trainer
If you can afford it, save a little money and find a good, certified personal trainer. Let them know that your goal is to LEARN to train YOURSELF. If they even blink when you say that…. get a different trainer. Good personal trainers are teachers.
There are some basic movements that all other strength exercises are build from. Once you learn these movements you can apply that learning to just about any strength routine. They won’t feel or look sexy… but, to get to the fun stuff you have to be able to move your body properly in space.
Building muscle requires the ability to move your body in space with control, in the right direction again the force, the right amount of resistance, at the right speed, progression, and frequency.
A package of personal training sessions that will teach you enough to get started is about $500. A personal training certification course is about $450. I chose the latter. While the bodybuilders I knew early in my career helped me learn the movements, most of the knowledge about building training plans I learned on my own.
You don’t have to take the certification test but you can learn a lot by just taking the course and studying the materials. Just make sure it’s a national certification, not some weekend course. I studied for about a year to learn enough to train myself and eventually clients. I have used that learning to train myself ever since.
If I could give you a list of equipment I would. Unfortunately, you really need access to weights that progress over time. You really need to join a gym. If finances are truly an issue, the YMCA offers financial assistance. There’s really no excuse.
A good Strength workout can cause muscles to contract and relax over and over again. This shortens the muscles over time if you don’t stretch when you’re finished. Click here to read more about flexibility and it’s importance in a balanced workout.