From serious fat loss to an increased metabolism, celebrity PT and former Olympian Sarah Lindsay of Roar Fitness, explains why weight training is just. so. important
Weight training can be intimidating.
From the sights of bulky, defined athletes doing 100 reps with ease to regular gym buffs showing off, weight training isn’t as a easy as showing up and running on the treadmill. Even if we wish it was.
That’s why former Olympian and celebrity PT guru Sarah Lindsay is setting the record straight. Because as scary as the strengthening technique can be, it’s essential for not only improving our bodies, but also our daily lives.
the more muscle you have the more calories you can consume without gaining weight or fat
So listen up, and get excited, Sarah’s explaining nine unique benefits of weight training that are sure to make you weight room confident.
#1 Weight training makes everything easier
At its core, weight training is ultimately strength-training, which means getting physically stronger. And it doesn’t matter what type of exercise you choose to do, if you’re weight training, you’re going to be better at it.
Think about it. For those who run, the stronger your legs become from weight training exercises, the easier and faster you’ll be able to go.
Or if high-intensity workouts are your go-to, such as burpees, weightlifting can build your endurance, and get you jumping half a metre off the floor instead of a tiny little bump.
Everything in life is easier when you’re physically stronger. Why? Because you’re using less effort to complete your workouts, everyday activities and more.
#2 Weight training is important for longevity
For all-things longevity, as you get older, being able to get up and out of a chair becomes a luxury. I’ve seen this firsthand with some clients who come to me for personal training.
I have worked with overweight clients that have never moved or exercised prior to their matured age, and I notice just how much they struggle to lift themselves from a seat without assistance.
Weight training can help in preparing for the changes in your body and aesthetics as you naturally age.
Although that might sound like an extreme example, the idea of longevity is important to think about, no matter what decade you’re in. At 40, I don’t want my physical capabilities to be limited by the time I am 65.
Weight training and overloading your muscles can help in preparing for the changes in your body and aesthetics as you naturally age. So without a doubt, whether you’re in your 20s or 50s, we should all prioritize adding weightlifting exercises to build our strength.
#3 Weight training boosts your metabolism
At Roar Fitness, a lot of my clients come to me for body transformations. They just want to change their bodies, and weight training is very time effective, because a lot of the time we only have 12 weeks to make a change.
In their three training sessions a week that I have with them (that’s three hours a week), I prep my clients with a proper weight-loss schedule, which most fitness beginners think means cardio, cardio and well, more cardio.
But believe it not, endlessly running on a treadmill isn’t always the best method for shedding those extra pounds.
The problem with just using cardio to try and lose weight and body fat is that as soon as you stop doing the cardio or as soon as you eat more food, the progress or weight-loss will stop.
This is compared to weight training where building muscle will mean you burn more calories per day, because the more muscle you have the faster your metabolism will become.
Which means you will stay leaner, because if you have more muscle, then along with your metabolism, your calorie requirements also increase. That is until you lose that muscle again — but don’t worry, that takes time.
To put it into perspective, I eat between 3,000 to 3500 calories per day to maintain my physique. I know that sounds like a lot, but that’s my calorie requirement, I’m not going to gain fat very easily because I’m muscular, and that keeps me lean.
So what I am trying to say is, the more muscle you have the more calories you can consume without gaining weight or fat too quickly.
That is why weight training tends to alter your body composition (shape), giving you a higher metabolic rate in the long term, rather than cardio that just sees you drop the number on the scales.
#4 Weight training shouldn’t be scary
Try not to pay attention to anyone who says weight rooms are scary. Everybody belongs in the weight rooms, it’s not just for the big muscley strong guys. Go in the and own the room, you belong there.
In fact, there’s often a friendlier atmosphere in those weight-rooms than people expect, because they are the kind of people who are passionate about health and fitness. Remember everyone in that weight room started somewhere.
The first thing is to get in there and get started. Try not to care what other people think, and soon you really won’t.
I understand though, that the physical unfamiliarity of weight-training can be daunting. If you’ve never picked up a dumbbell before, the last thing you want to do is test one in front of strangers.
What I recommend is using a mirror in your bedroom to practice the moves without any weights. You can Google the exercise and watch tutorials, that way you’ll be ready and confident for when you try it out for real in the gym.
#5 Weight training should be done three times per week
As for your training, practicing three times a week is a good start since this gives you enough time for your muscles to recover between sessions.
The objective isn’t to be sore all the time, but rather to create enough intensity during the workouts so they’re worthwhile.
As you become stronger and your recovery becomes quicker, you can think about adding another session in per week where you can.
#6 Weight-training will not make you ‘bulky’
There are often two reasons that people are fearful of weight- training. First, they’re scared of hurting themselves and doing it wrong. And second, they don’t want to get ‘too muscular’.
So many of my female clients stress to me that they do not want to become muscular.
What people don’t realise is how long it actually takes to build muscle and get ‘muscley’ or ‘bulky’. On the plus side, what building muscle will do, is boost your metabolism, so you can maybe eat 100 or so calories extra a day.
You won’t look like the Hulk overnight just because you have started lifting weights, but it will mean you can treat yourself to a few extra potatoes at dinner time – it’s a win win.
#7 Weight-training programmes work – don’t just wing it
While it might be tempting to just ‘wing it,’ it’s better to follow a programme for maximum results — so listen up beginners.
When starting to weight train you should lift as much weight as you can for the given amount of repetitions. So if you’re supposed to be doing 15 reps, if you can get to 15 reps quite easily and think ‘actually I could do another five,’ then you probably weren’t lifting heavy enough.
But on the other hand, if you can only get to ten reps, and can’t make 13 reps, you are probably lifting too heavy. The weight and the load should be dictated by rep range.
Knowing this though takes experience, which is why it is important for beginners to find a programme or plan so that they know how many reps to do and what weight they are able to manage, then they can progress on their own from there.
#8 Weight-training start small and progress from there
When starting weight training, take it easy because you never know how sore you’ll be after the session.
Once you’ve done a couple of sessions, and you’re not horribly sore, then you should progress to heavier weights and lift as much as you can for the given amount of reps.
Just remember that as soon as your form starts to go, that’s the end of set
When deciding how much to lift, as long as you can hold your form, it should be as much weight as you can. Just remember that as soon as your form starts to go (for example yu start to use your back to lift the weight instead of the muscle you’re lifting), that’s the end of set, don’t push beyond this point or you could injure yourself.
Beginners need to maintain as much form as possible since their weight training history is limited. For example, from experience, I know my limitations very well.
But if you do notice your form starting to slip or you can feel that something isn’t right, especially in your lower back, then you need to stop or you’ll be risking potential injury.
#9 If you want to weight train, learn from the best
Last, but not least, it’s essential to watch credible weightlifters when learning the weight training ropes.
There are a lot of influencers out there who aren’t necessarily pro weight trainers. They will be training in a way that suits their sport and it’s not always the best form for others.
Instead, I recommend finding a strength conditioning coach, as opposed to a fitness influencer. This way, you’ll master the exercise while suiting your own personal wants and needs.