Forget crazy diets and detoxes. If you really want to change your body shape and size, try weightlifting—an activity known to help you build muscle and bone strength while also boosting your body’s metabolism. In addition to helping you to burn calories faster, stressing our muscle by lifting wights can help you to release hormones such as growth hormone and feel-food brian chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins.
it not only helps you to burn calories faster, but it also causes your body to release hormones such as growth hormone and feel-good brain chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins.
Many of my women clients tell me that they really dislike going to fitness centers, and they’d rather do almost any other type of exercise. This is often because they don’t want to subject themselves to the sounds, smells and hectic atmosphere of a typical gym.
You can, however, approach the gym in a new and different way. I call it the Zen of weightlifting. It involves turning your workout into a meditative, Zen-like experience. Here are some basic steps to get started:
Tune out the environment by listening to your own soundtrack.
Use a good headset with noise-cancelling features to block a gym’s unpleasant, pounding music. Instead, listen to your own favorite music or sounds of nature.
Bring a large beach towel with you.
Some gyms provide small towels, but a large one can make all the difference. It allows you to completely cover the exercise machines, which may be littered with sweat.
Go to the gym when it’s not busy.
Whenever possible, avoid the early morning and late afternoon rush hours, when everyone goes to the gym, and you often have to wait to use machines. Most fitness centers are less crowded in the late mornings and early afternoons.
Before starting any lifting, be sure your body is in a good position to lift.
You want the machine to fit your body size, and for many exercises you want to engage your core — the muscles in your abdomen and pelvis. If you tighten and engage these muscles, you get more out of many exercises. With your core engaged, you’re also better able to maintain good body alignment, which can prevent injuries.
Start slowly with your weightlifting.
When getting started, choose light weights and aim to do many repetitions. After warming up, repeat repetitions until you begin to feel a slight “burn” in your muscles. Then stop, get off the machine you’re working on and stretch out the muscles you’ve just worked out. You can spend as much time doing this as you need, but consider stretching for at least three to five minutes. It may look like you’re doing yoga next to your exercise machine, but that’s okay; you’re there to get stronger, but also to increase the function of your muscles by boosting your flexibility.
Continue your workout by repeating this cycle two to three times. When it begins to feel like the weight you’re lifting is too light and too easy to lift, and you have to do too many repetitions in order to feel the muscle burn, then increase the weight gradually.
Focus inwardly on what you’re doing.
This is the crux of the Zen part. Concentrate on feeling your muscles engage and strain, and bring your attention into your body, not only while you’re working out, but also when you’re stretching. Keep awareness on your bodily motions, and let your usual daily concerns fade into the background. Ignore the scenes on the televisions in your gym, and let the rest of the world fade away while all of your conscious energy is focused on being in the moment with your body.
After a Zen-like workout, you’ll leave the gym feeling stronger, more flexible, re-energized, and mentally like you’ve been on a vacation. With the Zen of weighlifting, your workouts will not only support a trimmer waistline, but also increase your quality of life.