KATIE BULMER-COOKE: Lose weight with weights

Bent over row
Bent over row
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This week it’s been brilliant meeting new people in the shop and chatting about their fitness goals and the new types of exercise they want to try.

After talking to about 20 customers, it really dawned on me that fitness has become quite elitist.

There are lots of people who want to get fit, be healthier and more active, but the jargon or the ‘go-hard or go-home’ approach has simply put them off.

It’s the small details that people need, the stuff that can seem so obvious when you’ve been exercising all your life, like what should you wear for which class? What will happen during the class? Which trainers do I need?

There is a real hunger for more information on health and fitness at an accessible level, and if we (I mean us trainers and fitness instructors) don’t start communicating in a way that works for potential class members or personal training clients, then for me we aren’t doing our jobs properly and we certainly aren’t facilitating change for people.

One of the frequent conversations I’ve had in the shop is about lifting weights.

The world has finally realised that lifting weights and resistance training doesn’t make you big and bulky, and in fact it plays a key role in weight loss and improving muscle tone.

Lifting weights has also become rather cool and ‘the thing to do’, but for many it can still seem a little scary and a step too far outside of the comfort zone.

So with that in mind, here are my top 4 tips to starting to lift weights.

1. Start by adding weights to exercises you already feel comfortable with.

For example, if you are already incorporating squats into your workout, then keep doing so but try using dumbbells too.

Simply hold one dumbbell in each hand, with you arms straight down by your sides and perform the squat as normal…with the same great technique you always have.

2. Choose quality over quantity.

It can be very tempting to want to reach for a heavy weight, especially if those training around you are lifting big dumbbells and barbells…no one wants to feel left out right?

Instead, opt for a light weight to start off with just while you are learning the correct technique and form for new exercises.

3. If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you!

Once you’ve got to grips with the technique of some new free weight exercises then it’s time to start challenging yourself and upping the weight you lift.

If you’re performing a Bent Over Row, for example, and doing a set of 12 repetitions, you should choose a weight that feels like a real challenge (but allows you to maintain good form) for the last 3-4 reps.

4. To get the biggest bang for your buck, choose big, compound exercises.

These are movements that utilise more than one joint, for example, exercises such as squats, rows, shoulder press, lunge and chest press.

These will help you to increase your heart rate, giving you a solid cardio workout AND improving muscle tone at the same time...winner!

Give it a go and don’t be put off by those around you who may look like pros…they all had to start with the basics too.

Give something new a try, lets get our bodies moving team Sunderland and lets stop being at the wrong end of the obesity and inactivity leader board!