I have always been a fan of exercise. It makes me feel good, clears my head and helps keep my weight in check. I’ve been pretty much set in my routine for a while, taking a mix of HIIT and sculpting classes and going for a run outside when the weather is good, which has worked out well with my schedule. But, I always like trying something new and shake up my workout routine especially if it means seeing quick results.
A good friend asked me to join her in a workout session with her personal trainer in town who had her on a strength training program that sounded interesting and right up my alley, plus it was easy to fit in with my schedule. I was skeptical about working out with a personal trainer — the last time I did that was right before my wedding — and wanted to be lean and toned, not bulk up like a body builder. Plus, I was perfectly happy in my weekly workout classes, even though I felt I could kick up my routine a bit.
In the spring, I started adding in a half hour session one to two times a week with Chris Geagon, a personal trainer based in Barrington, Rhode Island, to get stronger, leaner and add more definition, and also see if strength training was something that I needed or not. After the first few sessions, I got hooked and noticed a change in my body right away. I was starting to see my muscles, and felt leaner and stronger. In our half-hour sessions, Geagon focuses on the full body to help increase muscular strength, posture, and tone with a mix of machines and free weights. He is strict about enforcing a clean diet, which he says is vital to weight loss and looking and feeling your best (and something we argue about).
I still do my HIIT workouts twice a week, which I think is a great combination with the training sessions, and fit in a run when I can, but I really like the results I am seeing with strength training. Here I sit down with Chris on why it is good to start lifting weights:
1. What are some advantages of lifting weights?
When you lift weights you lose body fat, gain strength without bulk, improve posture, help with back and joint pain (an issue as we get older), reduces stress and help burn fat faster.
2. How is strength training different from cardio?
I think most people equate sweating as burning the most fat and losing weight and it has nothing to do with it. Starting in your late 30s and early 40s, your metabolism begins to slow down (ugh). Strength training increases your resting metabolic rate therefore you boost your metabolism at rest.
3. People think that if you strength train you add bulk, but that is not true.
If you want to get lean, you have to decrease the fat around the muscle so you can bring visibility to the muscular system (more definition to the muscles). If you strength train and don’t burn that fat layer, water and blood fill your muscle tissue, which can make you look bulky. Someone going for good muscular strength and lifting one to two days a week is not that drastic (half-hour sessions) and will not bulk up.
4. Let’s talk about that “burn” you get when strength training.
The muscle burn is a good thing — you want that burn when strength training. If your muscles are not burning, you are not working hard enough and it will take much longer to see any beneficial results. The burn during exercise is bringing the muscles to 100 percent contractility, the more tearing of the muscle will promote a boost in repair and strength to the body. When you increase the muscle fiber recruitment and you decrease fat off the body you get that toned physique that everyone wants.
5. You talk about diet being such an important part of strength training, even though we disagree on some of it.
If you want to see results, you need to lose the fat layer and the only way to do that is by changing your diet. Cheat days are OK, but you really need to focus on eating clean, unprocessed foods and foods that do not spike the insulin —no rice, potatoes, chips, pasta (all the good stuff). Cutting out alcohol also helps and I recommend to my clients looking to lose weight and see fast major to cut out alcohol for 90 days.
For more information on strength training and if it’s for you contact Chris here