Resistance training (RT) is strength training. It can utilize your own bodyweight but usually it refers to weight training with equipment; machines or weights in any form: dumbbells, barbells, weight room machines. It all might sound intimidating at first but I can assure you it is not!
Article by Bella Trost
RT is the best way to change your body composition and add muscle mass to your frame. Don’t get scared off when you hear the word “muscle”! I know many women think muscle equals a masculine build and looking too big. Don’t worry, becoming “too big” takes a lot of hard work, with lots of sacrifice and long years of extreme training and diet regimes which is probably far from the normal lifestyle that you have! If you add RT to your fitness routine 2-3 times a week, you won’t get bulky and you won’t gain too much muscle (after a certain age it is very hard to gain muscle at all) but you might achieve a toned, tight, lean body while your bone strength improves, too.
With an RT session you can burn a lot of calories, just like with HIIT and there is also an afterburn effect. (However, many sources say this effect is not significant and the more you train, the lesser the afterburn… so, don’t rely on this too much.) If you have the right diet RT can help to effectively get rid of fat and gain muscle mass. As a bonus, it also improves your balance as your core, the body’s centre, gets stronger.
I know for many of us weight training might feel intimidating. A weight room full of guys looks scary. There are so many machines and we have no clue how to use them. The weights look too heavy and if they are too small we feel embarrassed next to people who lift big. We don’t know what kind of exercise we should do or how to start. The good news is there are so many ways to learn.
I remember when I started bodybuilding I got my first training plan online. I literally didn’t know anything about weight workouts. I kept checking on the muscular guys to see how they were using the machines and I spent hours Googling the names of exercises and watching YouTube videos on how to do them. My gym was a budget gym in a rough area of London. The guys wore hoodies and the atmosphere was Macho with a capital M. Everybody was staring at me when I stepped into the weight room. I didn’t care. I put my hoodie on too and I started doing things I saw on YouTube. I picked up some dumbbells then I put them back when I realized I couldn’t lift them above my head. I picked up some smaller weights and had to put them back too. Eventually I found weights I could actually work with. I started to do my first walking lunges with an 8 pound dumbbell in each hand. I noticed some guys laughing at me. It helped. I worked even harder so they would have nothing to laugh about. 6 months later I won my first bikini model competition.
It took time to understand how and how much I have to lift, in what repetition. I wanted to get stronger, so I did. Weight training can be boring but at the same time when you internalize the exercises and you really challenge yourself with every set, it can be very satisfying. And when you see that your butt is getting rounder, your thighs are getting fuller, your abs becoming visible… well that’s priceless!
RT is hard. It takes a lot of concentration and a lot of energy. But when you see your body is changing believe me, you won’t want to stop. I hope this is enough to convince you to start doing weight training! You don’t need to do it too often, 2-3 times a week is enough (unless you want to compete or be on the front page of a fitness magazine). Your muscles need recovery. But if you combine RT with SSC or if you’re a tough girl with HIIT, and you support your training with the right diet, you will see amazing results.
Don’t be too shy to do weight training! Everybody was a beginner one day. You will learn fast how to move around the weight room. Don’t be scared to get bulky! It doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen without a disciplined diet that was built for muscle gain. Do weight training! It is the best way to get a toned and tight body!