Is that one strength session a week actually helping?
So by now, we all know that resistance training is the best way to build muscle, shape our bodies and reap all those metabolism boosting benefits. But the fact still remains, amping up for a weights session can be a lot harder than just hitting the treadmill and zoning out to some ‘Yonce. If you’re only getting one resistance workout done each week, surely that’s better than nothing, right?
We spoke to personal trainer and co-founder of Flow Athletic Ben Lucas, about how many times we should be hitting the weights, and how to get ourselves motivated if the whole lifting heavy things routine isn’t our fave way to sweat.
How much weight training should we be doing, really?
“This really depends on the individual, as well as on the individual’s goals,” says Lucas. “For somebody new to training who wants to reduce their body fat percentage, I would suggest that they should start by doing more cardio with only 1-2 heavy resistance sessions per week.”
Lucas explains that although resistance training burns kJs, certain types of cardio may be more suitable in the beginning phases of training as it can help us to build up a sweat without having to focus too much on form or skill. However, for those of us who are seasoned exercisers or gym goers, resistance training holds more importance.
“For the majority of the population, I would suggest that they should be doing some form of weight or resistance training 3-4 days per week,” says Lucas. “This does not mean that you have to hang out in the squat rack 4 days per week doing 8 reps over and over again. That will get boring, fast. Instead, you can mix it up with weighted circuit training, body weight HIIT or a strength class.”
“So while certainly everyone is different, I would suggest that for the majority, we should be adding more resistance sessions than just the one each week,” says Lucas.
What’s your advice for those of us who struggle to enjoy a weights sesh?
“I would suggest adding cardio into your strength workouts, doing a hybrid workout (half cardio and half strength in your designated training time) or even setting up a circuit with light weights on some days, so you are still enjoying cardio, but you are also getting the benefits of weight training,” tips Lucas.
Lucas suggests starting with 15 minutes of interval training on the treadmill or bike, followed by a circuit consisting of 5-7 exercises performed consecutively, followed by a 400-metre sprint at the end of each set. Training like this means you still get to enjoy a face paced workout, but you are still getting the benefits of resistance training.
“If you wanted to do a heavier workout day, perhaps after you finish your 3-6 sets of each exercise, you add in a cardio exercise such as 1 minute of burpees or running or a stationary bike sprint before moving onto the next exercise,” he says.
While resistance training is certainly beneficial, training in a way you enjoy is always going to see you get the best long-term results. There’s no point in forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do. So make your resistance training work for you. If you love being outdoors, or you prefer to use your body weight instead of barbells, do just that! Make training enjoyable and you’ll never struggle to motivate yourself.
Ben Lucas is the owner of Sydney’s premier luxe fitness and yoga studio Flow Athletic. He has been in the industry for 12 years and was formerly an NRL player for the Sharks. Ben is also an ultra- endurance runner, completing 35 ultra endurance events in just 5 years.