Weights critical in keeping shape

This is the final installment in a four-part series on healthy lifestyles.

Lifting weights – it’s not just for meatheads anymore.

"People are often intimidated by lifting weights. They don’t want to get big and bulky and they are afraid they are going to get too big," personal trainer David Jenkins said. "Guess what? You have to get to medium before you’re too big. It doesn’t happen overnight; you’re not going to wake up one morning and all of a sudden be ready to compete in the next Mr. Olympia contest."

Resistance training benefits include strengthening muscles and bones, increasing metabolism to assist in weight loss and increasing muscle endurance.

"Almost everyone walks into the gym with a similar goal -†they want to get leaner and firmer -†(and) lifting weights is how they’re going to get firmer or more toned," Jenkins said.

Weightlifting isn’t only ideal for helping sculpt a body. Having a strong physique also pays off in other arenas.

"Adding lean muscle can really help when trying to lose weight. Maintaining a pound of body fat only burns three calories a day, whereas maintaining a pound of muscle burns 30," Jenkins said. "So if you can add 10 pounds of muscle mass you won’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you will be burning 300 more calories per day, which will make it much easier to lose weight body fat as long as you’re eating right."

When beginning a weight-lifting program, multi-joint movements that use body weight as resistance -†such as squats, walking lunges and push-ups – should be the foundation of any exercise program, UH personal trainer Loren Salas said.

"You have to earn the right to lift iron," Salas said.

Free half-hour personal training consultations are available at the Wellness Center, as well as personal training sessions at a rate of $25 per hour with an entry-level personal trainer.

"When a person starts a resistance training program it is very important that they learn proper form so they don’t injure themselves," Jenkins said. "Using a trainer for a few sessions would be a great way to start."

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