September 14, 2009 at 10:16 am , by jbrown
Before 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.
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