‘Start doing regular strength training using heavy-ish weights, be it dumbbells, barbells or your own body, as this will literally transform you from the inside out,’ says my personal trainer, Dan Roberts. Weight training is incredibly beneficial for the overall health of our bodies. It strengthens connective tissue, bones and muscles, reducing your chance of injury while training. It increases bone mineral density, thus keeping osteoporosis at bay, strengthens the heart and in turn, improves blood pressure.
Aesthetically speaking, strength training firms and tones your body, leaving you looking fit but not thin. ‘The common misconception that using weights while you train will bulk up muscles is what’s stopping women the world over from training in a way that will truly benefit them in the long-term,’ says Roberts.
I’ve always used weights while training. In fact, I prefer strength training to cardio, and have found after periods of no exercise, my strength doesn’t diminish nearly as much as my endurance levels. And since the more muscle you have the faster your metabolism is, I’m keen to stick with strength training for good.
Roberts recommends starting with ‘your body as the weight. Try a mini-circuit of deep squats, press-ups and one-legged deadlifts (with a straight back, lean forward and down while lifting one leg in the air), as these are fundamental compound strength exercises. Do 12 slow reps of each exercise and take 20 seconds’ rest between exercises for a total of 20 minutes each time you exercise.’
Overall, strength training will leave you far fitter than cardio workouts. However, don’t ditch cardio completely – it should remain a component of your training regime. The aim is to have a balanced approach to training, and including weights in your programme will do just that.
For more information go to danrobertstraining.com