Many people hold off on weight training until they lose weight. Some also avoid lifting just because they’re not vying for strong thigh or six-pack abs. However, that does not mean that you should shun the weight room. Lifting weights actually will not only help you lose weight, but maintain the loss.

Still not convinced enough? Here are the reasons why you shouldn’t live another day without hitting the weights:

You’ll get into shape faster

A study found that circuit training with weights raises your heart rate 15 beats per minute higher than if you ran at 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. This approach strengthens muscles and provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of aerobic exercise.

You’ll burn more calories

Your muscle mass largely determines your resting metabolic rate—how many calories you burn by just breathing and do your daily activities. Muscle keeps your metabolism revved up; that means that the more muscle you have, the more calories, fat, and glucose you burn which lead to more energy your body expends.

You’ll build more muscle

It’s obvious. When you lose weight, up to 25 percent of the loss may come from muscle, resulting in a slower metabolism. Weight lifting will help preserve or rebuild any muscle you lose by dieting.

You’ll build stronger bones

As you age, you’ll lose some of your bone mass, which increases your likelihood of one day suffering a debilitating fracture. The good news: a study found that 16 weeks of resistance training increased hip bone density and elevated blood levels of osteocalcin (a marker of bone growth) by 19 percent.

You’ll look better

Don’t worry, lifting weight will not bulk you up. Gaining muscle will help you look better as you define and tone your physique. The more your weight comes from muscle, rather than fat, the smaller you’ll be.

You’ll feel good and happier

Building strength helps you feel good about yourself. Researchers found that people who performed three weight workouts a week for six months significantly improved their scores on measures of anger and overall mood.

You’ll boost your flexibility

Researchers have pitted static stretches against strength-training exercises and found that full-range resistance training workouts can improve flexibility just as well as your typical static stretching regimen.

Lifting weight could look intimidating, especially when the weight room in your fitness center is filled with those bulky dudes on ‘beast mode’. You need to start somewhere to enter this fitness regimen. Here are some tips to start lifting weights:

Preparation

Warning: if you have joint issues, consult with your doctor before beginning a weight lifting routine. Taking precautions and focusing on correct form will help avoid injury.

You need to be familiar with the machines if you are exercising at a gym. Most facilities offer a free demonstration by a certified trainer. Ask your trainer to guide you to use those machines and to perform the exercise correctly. If you are using free weights, choose a weight that is comfortable and will allow for correct form. Warm up your muscles with a 5- to 10- minute cardio routine before starting any exercise.

Practice each exercise using a light weight until you are confident with the correct form. Find the weight that suits you by performing eight repetitions of the exercise where the last two repetitions are difficult to complete. If you feel a burning sensation during the final repetitions, it means you have chosen the correct weight.

Perform three sets of eight repetitions of each exercise. To build strength, increase your weight without compromising your form. To build endurance, increase your repetitions, keeping the burning sensation on the last two reps of each set.

More tips:

  • Create a schedule for your weight training so that you are allowing for a muscle recovery time.
  • When beginning your weight lifting routine, write down the exercise name, beginning weight and number of repetitions. Track your progress!

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