Ask the Trainer: Weight Training For Women

September 14, 2009 at 10:16 am , by

DSC_0322Before I get to this week’s question, I want to thank Bob Harper from the The Biggest Loser for stopping by LHJ HQ on Friday. (That’s me and Sally Lee, editor-in-chief of LHJ, with him at the right. Fortunately, we managed to contain our giddiness for the photo…we weren’t quite as successful for the rest of his visit.) He came with the Grain Foods Foundation to discuss the importance of getting six servings of grains a day. We chatted about how psyched we are that the carbs-are-evil thing is finally fading away. They’re your body’s major source of energy and they help you keep your weight in check—just two of their many perks. Click here to enter to win a training session with Bob—trust me, he’s just as nice and inspiring in real life as he is on The Biggest Loser (the new season starts tomorrow, woo-hoo!).

Now, for the question: By now I’ve a heard a million times that I need to incorporate weight training into my workouts. But I have so many questions: Are the weight machines as good as free weights? How many reps do I need to do to see results? Does weight training really help you to lose weight?

I’m going to work backward and give a big yes to the last question. The more muscle you have, the better, because your muscles burn calories even when you’re at rest. But if you don’t see the results of a weight routine on the scale, don’t panic. If you lose, say, 4 pounds of fat and gain 4 pounds of muscle, you’ll be thinner even though your weight didn’t change because a pound of muscle takes up less space in your body than a pound of fat does.

Since it sounds like you’re new to strength training, start by doing one set of each exercise, and use a weight that allows you to complete eight to 12 reps. As for machines vs. free weights, both will help you build muscle; however, you may want to start out using machines because they control the movement for you, helping you maintain good form and avoid injury.

9 Responses to “Ask the Trainer: Weight Training For Women”

  1. Hooray, I’m so excited for the new season of Biggest Loser! I find that show so inspiring. I love a reality competition where people actually root for each other! I cry too much while watching, though. Such a sap.

    As for the weights-versus-machines debate, I find that machines are useful when I want to get a good weight-training workout in but don’t want to think too much about it. They’re self-explanatory and I don’t have to fight for space in front of the mirror! They’re often a little less intimidating, too, since explanations for use are on the machines themselves.


  2. Weight lifting truly does help with weight loss and maintaining weight loss. It is also true that one should not be alarmed if you do not see an immediate drop on the scale – this is because you have added muscle which weighs more than fat! Another weight lifting perk (aside from the defining lines) is that you actually burn fat while you sleep. Burn baby burn.


  3. The Link is not working!!! :o (
    Click here to enter to win a training session with Bob—trust me, he’s just as nice and inspiring in real life as he is on The Biggest Loser (the new season starts tomorrow, woo-hoo!).


  4. Hi, I would like to win, I am joining a biggest loser contest here a my job and this would surely be a way for me to at least be in the running. I need to lose at least 60 or 70 pounds. Thanks Jack


  5. Hi, the link to enter the contest isn’t working..is there another way to enter? Thanks!


  6. I need to lose 60 or 70 pounds, will you help me. I will be 50 October 10th, I am tired all the time and feel really bad. I have no clothes that fit right and no money to buy more. I have tried a lot of different diets but have failed. Help me please. Thank you


  7. Hi this link isn’t workig help would love this contest. I need your help


  8. With the link that you pull up that comes up as not working, just delete one of the http://
    and it’ll work. It just comes up with http://http:// I think….


  9. I would love to win the biggest loser contest. I have had a very stressful year. My 17 year old stepson was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in August and I was overweight and unhealthy before his diagnosis. I need help getting started so that we BOTH can be healthy when all this is behind us.





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