You can lose that weight but we have a few steps. First, before doing anything, put in the time to build a foundation. A foundation, simply put, is stamina. The only way to gain stamina, is creating and dedicating to a daily exercise routine. Walking is a great way to build a physical foundation.
Now let’s jump ahead, one year, you’ve been putting in the walking miles and the fitness and weight control goals you’ve set, are all working great but you feel there is more. It might be time to add some strength training.
Scale won’t budge? Add strength training to your routine, and watch the pounds drop off.
My friend Jaime is possibly the most un-athletic friend I have. So when she told me she had signed up for a half-marathon, I laughed. Out loud. Then checked the calendar to see if it was April Fool’s Day. It was February.
She was serious, and she wanted advice from me on how to train. When I recovered, I suggested she begin with a novice run/walk program where she slowly upped her distance until she could run for a few miles at a time without walking. I also suggested she add in two days of strength training on her off-running days.
About a month into her training program, she was up to five miles on her long runs and doing great—or so I thought. “I haven’t lost a pound,” she said to me on the phone one day. “How can I be running so much and be the exact same weight?”
“Have you been lifting weights?” I asked her.
“No,” she admitted.
“Lift weights!” I said. “You’ll see the difference, I swear.”
She didn’t believe me. We had the same conversation once a week for the next three weeks, and I couldn’t seem to convince her. And then I went to the Health & Fitness Summit in Atlanta—a conference for health and fitness professionals to learn the latest research in the industry.
I attended one lecture by a professor who was discussing the importance of strength training in weight loss. “You can run 10 miles a day, but if you don’t strength train, you will gain six to seven pounds of fat every decade,” he said. I shouted “told you so!” in my head and wished I had a digital voice recorder to replay that statement for Jaime.
He went on to explain that strength training builds muscle, and one pound of muscle burns 30 calories per hour when the body is at rest, while one pound of fat only burns five or six calories. When you lift weights, you’re adding muscle and burning more calories at rest, which equals—you guessed it—weight loss.
I called Jaime and told her the news. If she didn’t believe me, she surely would believe a scientist.
“But I don’t know what I’m doing,” was her response.
It was the underlying reason she had so resisted my prodding all along—she was intimidated by the iron.
“Go to a class!” I said.
I think it’s a common feeling for working-out beginners; the big, scary weight machines being used by big, scary muscle men look complex.
You don’t have to ever use a weight machine in order to reap the benefits of lifting weights. A pair of five-pound free weights is really all you need to do a full-body strength-training workout. Sign up for one personal training lesson or take a body-sculpt class at a gym to learn the proper way to lift weights, and you’ll be good to go.
Jaime finally heeded my advice and began taking a weight class at her gym. I saw her the other night for dinner. She was up to nine miles in her training and looked amazing. “You look fantastic!” I told her.
“My jeans have never fit this great,” she said. “I think it’s the weight class.”
I smiled—and fought back the urge to say “I told you so.”
I love this story because Jaime, put in the time first to build stamina, then build in a program of strength training to complement the cardio. Try it, but don’t skip the walking step to build a foundation. Remember, step by step, set those goals small and build it from there.
MikeZ_walking, exercise for the rest of us. walking, exercise for the rest of life.