Often at the end of my clients initial cardio program, they question me if it is really important that they come back to get a weights program, as they are trying to lose weight, not gain weight. For those of you who know me, you will know I’m very passionate about weight training and the importance of incorporating weight training into a weight loss training program. Therefore my answer to this question is always YES! It is equal to, if not more important for their goals! I cannot stress enough, if you are not currently weight training… you need to start!

Let me put it simply for you;

Weight training = increase in muscle mass = more calories your body requires to function

Yes, cardiovascular exercise is a great way to burn a high level of calories at once, but adding in a little resistance training into your program will help to burn extra calories and increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Our BMR is how many calories our body requires to function. This means by adding resistance training into your program, you can burn more calories while you are sleeping or laying on the lounge watching TV.

Research shows that regular resistance training can increase your Basal Metabolic Rate by up to 15%. This means, for someone with a BMR of around 2000 calories per day, they have the potential to burn an extra 300 calories, which is equivalent to a whole Kitkat chunky or around 3 Tim Tams, every day!!!

Fact: For every additional pound of muscle you gain, your body burns around 50 extra calories every day of the week.

We also need to keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat. Don’t be disheartened if at first you seem to be staying at the same weight or gaining slightly. Whilst your weight may be staying the same you will notice that your clothes will start to feel a little looser and you will start to see a healthier, slimmer you.

Myth busters

1. Only men should participate in weights programs, women will look like Arnie


Definitely not! Weights programs are equally as important for women and men. Women produce 16 times less testosterone than males. Testosterone is an anabolic hormone which promotes “protein synthesis” (turning protein from your food into tissue). As a result, muscle fibers become larger and repair faster than the average person’s. When you see extremely muscular women, you have to remember 2 things, 1 it is was not an accident and 2 it did not happen overnight. These women would have a very high training and have most likely been training a few times a day for a few years, together with specific diary and supplement requirements to get to that size.

2. My Muscle will turn to fat if is top training

Incorrect! Muscle and fat are two different entities. When you stop weight training, the muscle will return back to its normal genetic state to suit your lifestyle. The “fat” you may see in its place has come from, change in activity level and diet.

3. The scales say I’m getting fatter

Don’t always trust the scales! We need to also take into consideration:

  • Body fat percentage
  • Muscle Mass
  • Girth Measurements
4. I’m not getting any younger; I should only participate in cardiovascular exercise to avoid injury.

Quite the opposite! Building a little extra lean muscle mass can actually help in reducing your chance of injury. The stronger our muscles, tendons and ligaments the more capable they are of withstanding stress such as a bump or fall.

Weight training can help to reduce bone deterioration and is recognised to increase bone density. Increasing our bone density can help with preventing fractures and even osteoporosis.

Weight training can also help to slow down the effects of Sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is the reduction of muscle mass, strength and function due to the body getting older. After the age of thirty the average adult will lose between 3-5% of their muscle mass per decade. A reduction in muscle mass, strength and function gradually makes it harder to perform day to day tasks, especially as we start to see aches and pain a lot more frequently. Don’t forget that if your muscle mass goes down, your BMR will go down with it. This will in turn increase your chances of weight gain.

We don’t expect you to spend hours lifting weights or for you to lift 100kg above your head. You will be surprised the benefits a weights program of around 15-20 minutes 2-3 times a week can have. I would definitely advise seeing a trainer before starting a weight training program. We all have different needs, goals, health condition, injuries and capabilities; therefore your weights program needs to be specific to you.

To sum up, I am going to leave you with one question to ask yourself… Can you afford not to be doing weight training?


Written by Raquel Sbrana – Personal Training Coordinator