Within a year of losing weight, 80% of people put it back on. That is a crazy statistic.
All that hard work for nothing.
Yet most people go about losing weight completely the wrong way – treadmill, 10k runs, and hour upon hour of constant cardio with a punishing, restrictive diet.
This is a huge mistake for many reasons, but the one I’m going to focus on today is the fact that there is no strength training (aka lifting weights)
All the clients I’ve had who lost weight and kept it off started with a structured weight training programme which they have stuck to TO THIS DAY! (0:50 for the reference)
Let me say it here – lifting weights is VITAL to to losing fat and, most importantly, keeping it off!
You will not look great on the beach or in a t-shirt without some form of lifting, because like they say, ”a skinny guy with abs don’t count’!
There are a whole number of ways pumping iron helps to guard against fat loss, but improving your metabolism and increasing sensitivity to insulin are two of the major ones.
In short, lifting fine-tunes your body to become a walking fat burning machine.
When you see two people who’ve lost weight, you can usually tell the difference between those who merely do cardio and those who lift AND do cardio.
The latter usually look much healthier and stronger, and yes, don’t have to work as hard to maintain the fat loss.
They’re less liekly to have to adhere to punishing diets, meal replacement powders or pointless detoxes.
Lifting turns on specific genes and that change that person’s physiology – they are a different organism now.
So now that we’ve established that, let’s talk about lifting weights.
Some people love lifting. These guys are gym junkies, always in the gym, can’t wait for the next session.
These people usually see progress quickly (chicken and egg situation – did their love for lifting cause the quick progress, or did the quick progress make them love the gym?)
On the flip side, some people HATE lifting weights and find it extremely boring. These people tend to be cardio addicts, and love anything that makes them sweat and their muscles burn.
These people tend to not have an idea what they’re doing in the gym and usually see little to no progress.
Then you have the people in the middle who neither love nor hate weight training, and can fluctuate either way depending on their mood.
People in this camp usually prefer the thrill of playing and competing in dynamic sports over the somewhat static nature of the gym.
I’m firmly in the last camp. I am not in love with lifting for sure, but I know the very the very powerful benefits it has on mood, physique, and athleticism.
Without lifting, I’d shrink into Flat Stanley and have the physique of Paula Radcliffe. It also makes me much better at any sport I play.
So what do you do if weights are boring?
You definitely don’t want to axe them completely.
Here are some tips for you that I use with myself and my clients.
1 . Change the routine somehow every 6-8 weeks
You absolutely need consistency when it comes to lifting, but at the same time, variety is important in keeping your muscles reacting to training and your enthusiasm high.
You can do this in a subtle way i.e. keeping your main lifts the same (deadlift, bench press, military press etc) and changing the supporting exercises, i.e. instead of split squats, do Zercher lunges (see below).
Or you could go even more extreme, changing the routine and split completely (again while keeping some consistency in terms of main lifts).
For example, if you usually do a body part split 5x a week, change to a full-body split 3x a week.
This is where I come in, so contact here if you want a bespoke online programme or if you are looking for a personal trainer in Acton.
2 . Do less
Cut the amount of time you’re spending lifting to the bare minimum (2-3 times a week).
Try another sport completely for a while – i.e. sprinting, jiu jitsu, football, boxing (all stuff I do).
If my clients get bored, I cut their lifting time in half and do more bodyweight, boxing or cardio type work with them.
This will give you time to develop some new skills while still maintaining the benefits of lifting weight.
Again – you don’t want to drop weights completely. Strength is quite easy to maintain, so 2-3 times a week will usually stop you losing too much strength and muscle.
3 . Add some athletic or strongman movements
You’ll be surprised how adding in some new athletic exercises can rejuvenate your workout.
Including some medicine ball throws, sprints, farmers carries, and light plyometric exercises into your routine can get you out of the ‘3 sets of 10’ rut.
Plus it’ll make you a better athlete and challenge your brain.
4 . Go with a friend or hire a coach
Having someone with you can make the world of difference.
The right person can help you enjoy something that can be a downright slog otherwise (just make sure you’re not working out with an annoying wanker!).
Someone to help load equipment, change plates, and spot you will make your lifting session shorter and safer too.
Plus it’s another opportunity to socialise (something that will lift your mood in and of itself).
5 . Change your training environment.
Sometimes, just training somewhere different is enough to make you want to lift again.
If you’re working out in a different gym with cool equipment, decent people, and great music, you may just want to try out some new weights or machines that day.
This is a game changer.
Hope that helps!
Until next time