If you are serious about getting fit and ditching the flab, stop pottering about with feeble weights or kid yourself that boot camp is the elixir to your body woes.
by Catherine Mann
My little town is largely inhabited by retirees, evidenced by the presence of almost more mobility scooters than cars, and shops selling very sensible shoes and clip-on earrings. But recently, I’ve noticed a more youthful bunch of women participating in running distances and very low resistance, high repetition boot camps that favour cardiovascular over strength training. Sadly, this is not the way to go, girls!
If you genuinely want to lose weight you have to build muscle, says fitness expert, Donal Carr, from the Place of Chi. Speaking at an online conference this year, Carr said that to build muscle, you must weight train – and not the type of weight training where you pick up those girly-pink dumbbells or something no heavier than your water bottle and wave them around in the air. No – it involves a very specific program suited to your body and your starting strength and one that allows you a safe passage from a beginner’s body to one which is flexible, stable, strong and balanced from the inside out. To read more, click here
Apart from stabilising all your joints and preventing injuries in your daily activities, weight training provides lean muscle. Muscle is an expensive demanding beast. Why? Because it needs food! Muscles are high maintenance. So instead of food gathering around your waist, tops of thighs and underarms, the muscles you are growing will use it. Your food, therefore, feeds the beast and not the areas where you are prone to gain weight.
Here’s the thing: female hormone expert and Chief Medical Officer at Body Logic, Dr. Jen Lander, says that if you push your body insanely with cardio stuff and a highly revved up lifestyle, your body produces cortisol, a stress hormone. In her book “The Five Hidden Energy Robbers Stealing Your Spark”, Dr Lander says that cortisol production in long term supply causes weight gain and leads to debilitating fatigue. It also interferes with your hormonal balance by preventing the production of other vital hormones, which serve to revitalise, retain youthfulness and keep you full of spark. A short burst of cortisol is essential to get us going. But too much sees the benefits of exercise disappear along with any desired weight loss.
If you feel your body and brain (and spirit!) is exhausted from the depleting energy sapping rigours of excessive cardio and boot camp work-outs, a few weeks doing ‘work-ins” might be required to rebuild your energy resources and prepare you for the beneficial lunges, squats and dead lifts.
So, where to from here? Well, to refer back to the esteemed Donal Carr, he says you need to STOP what you are doing. Then, he suggests embarking on some gentle exercise like Tai Chi, Feldenkrais, yoga, core activation to give your body time to settle down. After that, you need to embark on a serious weight training regime which stresses more weight and less repetition.
A progressive weight training program provided by a holistic health practitioner – and I found Paul Chek’s approach, and CHEK practitioners here in Australia, life changing – will see you not only reach but also maintain your weight loss goals.
A lengthy run or a weight training session will raise your metabolism — the fat burning machine — but soon after the cardio session, your metabolism drops to its initial base level. However, after weight training, the raised metabolism will continue firing at a high level for up to 48 hours! Burning fat while you continue your day sounds pretty good to me!
Weight training builds and repairs your hormone system, creates vitality and a metabolism that generates lean body mass. Teamed with adequate rest, a colourful, organic diet and an approach that prioritises health as opposed to appearance, this will deliver delightful results.
Worth a shot, don’t you think?
Catherine Mann (50) is a fitness instructor, Check practitioner and all-round health enthusiast.