Hit the Iron: Why Building Muscle is Central to Weight Loss

So many of us make the mistake that losing weight means cardio, cardio, cardio and nothing more, but this is do detrimental to your results – not to mention your wellbeing. According to personal trainer Ashley Johns, athlete for the first ever Team Bodybuilding.com, ‘Some may not want tone and just may want to follow suit with what the girls in magazines look like, and think all they have to do is tons of cardio and hardly eat.  For the most part, that is just a shape that has been photographed and is insanely distorted to look even more skinny and beautiful.  The women in magazines are genetically made that way and that is why they are models.’ In order to lose weight, it’s absolutely vital for your wellness that you build muscle.


Johns notes the views of friend and personal trainer Travis, who comments, ‘From a Certified fitness trainers perspective it is a treat to see women hitting the iron. Most women have the same goal and I hear it time and time again. They mostly want to lose weight (fat) and tone up. It is a scientifically proven fact that anyone looking to lose fat and tone up will see more benefits when they incorporate a resistance training program along with a good aerobic routine. Basically what this means to women is that they will see a greater increase in body fat reduction by adding weight lifting to their cardio routines. Adding muscle mass to their bodies will increase metabolism and burn more calories, which, in turn, will make not only the cardio but also calorie restricted diets more effective.’


So then, what do you need to do to build muscle and lose weight effectively?


1. Visualise it: Do you have an image of what you want to look like? Johns recommends learning the body parts you love – both on you and on other people. She details, ‘I have found that one of my favourite muscles right now is my delts.  I love way Jessica Biel’s delts look and there are very few women, unless they are competing, who have built delts. You can tell she works for them!’


2. Set your goals: ‘When I first started out, my goal was to lose fat to show the muscles I had hidden beneath,’ Johns recalls. ‘I thought losing body fat would give me those toned arms.  What I didn’t know is that lifting is an integral, if not one of the most important parts, of losing fat and toning up. It’s like a two for one, it gives you that and builds leanness on your body that nothing else will give you.’


3. Get musically motivated: When you’re flagging, you’re going to need a workout playlist. Johns adds, ‘When I get new music, it brightens my week and helps me look forward to going to the gym and working it to the new music I have even more!  It really does wonders.’ While running compilation CDs are packed with top tunes to get you going, it’s really whatever floats your boat that counts.


4. Understand the reality of lifting: You may be worried about looking like a body builder, but really that just won’t happen if you’re a woman. ‘Get the idea out of your head that if you lift too heavy you will bulk up,’ says Johns. ‘Plain and simple, it will be hard for you to bulk up.  It will also be hard for you to tone up because the art of weight lifting is tough, but you fight through that.’

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