At the end of the 5th session of strength training, I expected the weighing scales to show some deflection. Even before my weight began to show any change, my coach kept assuring me that I was doing great. After years of training and seeing other people go through the same frustrating when-am-going-to-see-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel phase, so to speak, only she could see that.
This is another something that is frustratingly similar to anyone who has begun to exercise. We forget that it took years to add those layers of adipose cells in the subcutaneous tissue around our belly and other unmentionable places, but somehow expect it to magically disappear within weeks of starting an exercise program. Quite unrealistic, if I say so myself. Like those articles that say ‘Sexy arms in six weeks’ or ‘fabulous abs’ in the same amount of time or thereabouts, that don’t work. I have realized that the universal truth ‘there are no shortcuts’ applies to weight loss more than anywhere else. Really, people.
A word about strength training that will encourage you folks who are reading, to begin with it, if you have not already – It is THE most effective way to burn calories from stored fat. But not everybody is open to the idea of weight training. My coach observed that women shy away from lifting more than the 4 kilo dumbbells at the gym but will carry handbags that weigh almost as much when hopping one mall to another! When she educated me that weight training would increase my resting metabolic rate and my muscles will continue to burn calories (“after burn”) up to about 48 hours or more after weight training, I was all for it. Who in the right mind would say no to excess calorie burn without effort!
I began with lighter weights in the beginning and it was quickly stepped up to make sure that my muscles fatigued twice a week. In a short time, my body was primed for strength endurance training. In two months since I began, I used the Bosu ball and soon the Kettle bell. In six months, I had stepped up the weights and my coach had begun to include circuit training and even introduced some TRX and Battling ropes as well.
At the beginning, my body struggled to adapt to weight training twice a week. I was using different equipment each time and it challenged my body in ways that it had never been challenged before. I resorted to popping anti-inflammatory tablets to help me manage the pain from sore muscles. When I complained to my coach that every sinew in my body was screaming in pain she smiled and said, ‘That is the good pain. Tells you that you are working the right muscle groups’.
If you have never weight trained before, know that the discomfort that you experience while you are lifting weights will be nothing compared to what you will experience from sore muscles the next day . The payoff is a toned body if you keep at it without giving up. After a while, my body got used to it. I still feel sore the next day when I step up the weight load or challenge a set of muscles that have not been worked before. But hey, I know it is a ‘good pain’ now.
Weight training with my coach has taught me a few important lessons:
a) You should always engage the whole body and not target one muscle group when you lift weights.
b) Correcting your weight lifting form is important before you step up the number of reps or sets.
c) You never tire yourself with cardio activities before you weight train.
My next post will talk about the challenges and setbacks I have had since my journey began. Until then!