Podcast Episode #024: Should You Lift Weights to Lose Weight?
Endless hours of cardio.
If you take a peak inside a gym, you're likely to see this being played out every day. People are looking to lose weight and the "best" way they know how to accomplish this is by ramping up their time spent doing cardiovascular exercise.
But, is this really the "best" way to lose weight?
Make Your Body Work Podcast: Episode #024
- Learn more about Trudie at BodyEnvy.ca
- Find Trudie's Exercise Videos on Youtube
- How to Measure Your Fitness Results [it's not all about the scale!]
- What's the Best Form of Exercise For Burning Fat?
- How to Find a Really Good Personal Trainer
- A 28-Day Strength Training Program You Can Do At Home
Should You Lift Weights to Lose Weight? [Full Text]
I want to start off this episode by just saying that if you’re looking for past episodes, you can now do so very easily. All you need to do is type in the URL “makeyourbodywork.com” and then forward slash, and then the number of the episode. For example, this is episode 24, so if you just type in “makeyourbodywork.com/24” that will take you right to the episode.
This is important because most shows, there’s helpful resources and sometimes some downloads and links to other websites and articles that are very relevant for that specific topic, and I wanted to be able to make those very available to you. Again, makeyourbodywork.com/24, and you can check the show notes for this episode.
Without further ado, let’s dive in. I’ve got a great question today from Janet. Janet says,
“I’ve been exercising pretty regularly for about 3 months now. I try to get to the gym at least 3 times per week. Sometimes, a little more. Sometimes, a little less, and I try and push myself. Mostly, I job, but I’ve done a few cycling classes too. Those are tough.” I agree, Janet. They are tough. “And I just haven’t seen much of a change yet. I’ve lost maybe 2 pounds and really need to lose another 18. Feeling a little discouraged. Any advice?”
Janet, I love that you wrote in and gave us some specifics about what your workouts look like. First of all, I just want to applaud your efforts in getting into the gym 3 times per week, especially going from not exercising very much at all to 3 times per week. That’s awesome. We have to start somewhere and 3 times per week is really fantastic, so be proud of yourself even for doing that. Today, we want to talk about the effectiveness of the certain types of exercise that you can choose.
I know from your email, you mentioned that you’re really basing your exercise on cardio. I want to bring in a guest who is an expert to answer this question, and maybe you have a perspective to learn how changing up the type of exercise that you’re doing might help speed up those results, and then hopefully get rid of that discouragement that you’re feeling because I don’t want you to be frustrated. I don’t want you to give up. I don’t want you to feel discouraged. I want you to be empowered, and I want you to know that what you’re doing is definitely going to lead to the results that you’re looking for.
I’m really excited to introduce today’s guest. Her name is Trudie German, and she’s a personal trainer. She … not only is a personal trainer, but she has done very well for herself as a figure competitor. Figure competitions, generally, people that … super fit, have some good muscle definition, and just have obviously worked very hard to get their body to a point where it looks really good. Trudie, she’s an expert. Let’s meet Trudie, and we’ll hear some amazing advice from her.
Trudie, thanks so much for joining us today.
Trudie: Thank you for having me. It’s my pleasure.
Dave: Yeah. I’m really excited to get you on the show. I know we connected on LinkedIn, and I was taking a look at some of the stuff you’ve done online, some of your videos, and there’s 2 things that really impressed me. Number one was your energy. You are so energetic. Number two, you are in great shape. Wow. Listeners in there, go to bodyenvy.ca, and you can take a look at Trudie. She knows what she’s doing.
Trudie: Thank you.
Meet Trudie German
Dave: I don’t know if you could start maybe just by telling us a little bit about your history. How did you get into the fitness world, and what do you do right now?
Trudie: I got into the fitness world because when I was a teenager, I watched “What’s Love Got to Do with it” with Angela Bassett, and I loved her arms, and all I wanted was her arms.
What's your reason? Deep down inside, why do you want to get in better shape?
I started working out with simply for vanity to be honest with you. Some people probably started because they had an athletic background. I’m not athletic. I just loved how working out made you look. I love to see muscles on females, but still look feminine, and there’s just something about being able to life heavy weights and still look sexy and lean, and the adrenaline I get from it, so yeah.
Dave: I appreciate your honesty because I’m sure you go through this as well, but most of the clients that I meet when I start asking them, “Why are you here? What do you need help with?” Very few people are willing to admit, “I want to look sexier. I want to … It’s for vanity.” Did you find that as well very few people want to admit that?
Trudie: They are scared of admitting it. When I meet with clients, I tell them, “Be honest. It’s about you because if you are not honest, you can’t get the results. You can’t lie and expect the results to work.” Some people start training, they were probably overweight and they wanted to lose weight, or as I said, for me, it was simply vanity. I learned more important things about why training is important later, but I started simply because I wanted hot biceps.
Dave: It’s funny that you say that. I was on another podcast yesterday as the guest and was asked how did I get into the industry, and it’s the exact same reason. I had someone comment on my skinny arms when I was a teenager, and it destroyed me, and I thought, “Okay. No one is ever going to say that to me again.” Would you say though like when we talk that vanity, it almost seems like a bit of a dirty word? What have you found in transforming your body? What else have you learned or discovered about yourself?
What Have You Learned From Aspiring For Better Fitness?
Trudie: I discovered how much further I can push my body. I even competed for a fitness show, which is something that I wouldn’t do again. That’s another topic, but I just realized you realize how strong you are. What I found with a lot of people, when they start, right before they start achieving the results, right before that little burn kicks in, then that’s when they give up.
What I learned about me was how strong I am. It’s like, “Okay. I’m only 5’2, but yet still, I can squat my body weight. I can do pull-ups.” I love push-ups. Not many females can perform push-ups or even like it. I love them because that shows me, “Hey, you’re strong. You can pull up your own body or you can push your own body, which is rare for a lot of people.”
Dave: Yeah, I agree. It’s neat hearing you talk because you’re the perfect guest to answer the question we have from Janet today. Again, just in summary, she basically says she’s been exercising for 3 months. She said she goes and does mostly cardio. She said she does a lot of jogging, and she’s really frustrated because she had 20 pounds to lose, and she’s putting in all this work and only lost 2 pounds, and so I’m hearing you talk about lifting heavy weights, and increasing your intensity, and all this. How does that translate for someone like Janet who’s stuck?
Will Women Get "Big" By Lifting Weights?
Trudie: For me, speaking about lifting heavy weights, a lot of women are under the misconception that lifting heavy weights means you’re going to look like a body builder because when you hear “weights” and “women,” you’ll automatically be, “Body building, Arnold Schwarzenegger,” when in fact, that’s not what will happen.
We need weights.
You lift weights to lose weight because the more weight you lift, you’re burning more calories during your workout and after. Another thing is … What Janet said about jogging. We’re under the misconception that running an hour every day or even few times a week is going to give us the result we want when in essence, it won’t. It usually gives us that adverse reaction or effect that we’re looking for.
To answer Janet’s question, a few things I would like to ask her. For example, how long is each training session? What is she doing in the gym? Is she going to the gym and just running, or is she incorporating weights? How many times a week does she train? What I would suggest to her is try a different method like interval training. The thing with interval training is you’re working less time, but you’re working harder, so you’re more efficient. It’s like get more done in less time.
Use interval training to get more done in less time. Exercise doesn't have to be an hour in the gym!
Dave: Can I just jump in there? For some of the listeners who maybe aren’t familiar with how interval training works, can you describe it? What will that actually look like for someone who’s used to just going and jogging or walking on a treadmill? What would that interval look like?
Trudie: Okay. There are different types of intervals. Intervals would basically mean you’re working at a high-intensity for maybe 30 seconds, then you could switch to a low-intensity for the same amount of time or take a shorter break. Interval training, so we have circuits like as I described, the high-intensity to low-intensity or high-intensity interval training. It’s like you’re working all out for a good 20 to 30 seconds, take a break, and then you work again. The thing with this is as I said, you’re working harder, so you’re burning more calories during your workout and even after your workout.
Dave: What do you recommend then in terms of the type of interval? Like are these ones that are cardio-based? Like should someone be doing an interval on a treadmill? Should they be doing it with weights? Should they do body weight exercises? What do you recommend?
Trudie: That’s another beauty with interval training. You can decide how you want to do it. You can perform it on a treadmill. For example, go all out. Run as fast as you can on the treadmill for about 30 seconds. Take a 15-second break. Repeat that again for about 5 to 8 times. You could also do it with your own body weight. For example, perform 10 to 12 burpees, take a 15-second break, and repeat those again, or even with weights. I would suggest that for someone who’s really trying to lose weight to definitely incorporate weight because with weights, you’re burning more calories also by … To be honest, you can’t really go wrong with interval training.
Dave: Okay, so I want to back up for a second and just do some math for people who are listening. You said we could do 30 seconds of intense … Let’s just say we’re on a treadmill. We’re going to do an intense run, or jog, or whatever it is, something that really challenges you, and then you said take maybe a 15-second break, so they’re just walking at a slow pace?
Trudie: Walking at a slow pace. Yes, just basically recovering, and then you go again.
Dave: That whole interval is only 45 seconds long, and you said do 5 to 8 of those, so are you telling people they can go into the gym and work out for 7 minutes and be done?
Trudie: Sometimes, you can. Yeah. You perform those a few times and incorporate your weights. We don’t realize because we are taught that running on the treadmill or we have to be spending an hour to two in the gym every day to reap the benefits when in fact, we don’t have to. You ever heard the saying, “Work smart?” This is where interval training comes in, have us working smart instead of long.
Dave: Hey, you’re preaching to the choir. I love that you said that. I was hoping you’d say something along those lines. Again, you probably see this with your clients, but it seems … I think humans in general, we like to have very round numbers, and so going to the gym, it’s easy for people to say, “I’m going to go on a treadmill for 30 minutes, or 45 minutes, or 60 minutes,” but this idea you’re talking about, doing a workout in definitely under 20 minutes?
Trudie: Most definitely.
Dave: Yeah, and you …
Trudie: Most definitely. A lot of my clients, when they’re training on their own, we create programs where in less than 30 minutes, they’ve gotten … They’re working. I’ve had clients where they tell me they were running on the treadmill an hour a day, 2, 3 times a day. I have them perform a similar circuit to the ones I just described, and in less than 5 minutes, they’re huffing and puffing, and they’re like, “This is so much more work than when I’m running on the treadmill for an hour.”
Dave: It seems so counter-intuitive. It just doesn’t seem like that could be possible, but anyone who’s done interval training knows how intense it can be.
Looking For the Right Results...
Dave: Going back to Janet, I’m just looking at her question again here, and she gave the specifics. She said she’s been working out 3 times per week, and she didn’t say that she’s doing it for 30 minutes or 60 minutes, but she alluded to the fact that it was probably pretty low-intensity. Just something that she was comfortable with. You’re saying you’re still going to the gym maybe those 3 times per week, work harder for shorter period of time, and then you will be burning more calories?
Trudie: Precisely. Another thing I would like to also add to Janet is I feel that so many people get caught up with the numbers on the scale where sometimes the scale isn’t the only way to measure your progress. Maybe she’s lost only a few pounds, but what if she’s lost inches? What’s her mood, her energy level like? How’s her clothes fitting? That’s another thing she could look at in measuring her progress instead of simply using the numbers on the scale to guide her.
Dave: Again, I love that you just said that. Have you seen personally or with clients that you work with transformations where the scale basically didn’t change, but even visually, looking at their body or maybe your body, it was a completely different body?
Trudie: On a regular, on a regular. My clients rarely check their weight to be honest. We usually take photos or clothing, how their clothing size is fitting. They’re dropping from a size 10 to a size 6. I had clients where on the scale, the numbers didn’t even budge to be honest with you or it increased, but they were happy because they went from a size 8 to a size 4. They look at themselves, and they see the difference. For myself, I don’t even know how much I weigh.
The last time I weighed myself was more than a year ago when I went for a physical because I learned about 4 or 5 years ago, following the scale, it just seems sometimes as if you are not progressing, and it doesn’t really motivate you much, so I usually find something else to measure the progress. Something that offers more meaning like females, our jeans’ size. “How is this skinny jeans going to fit? How’s that outfit we have been able to fit in 2 or 3 years ago? How’s that fitting?” I find that way of also measuring our progress much more effective than the numbers on the scale.
Don't get caught up with what number shows on the scale...How are your clothes fitting?
Dave: That’s a powerful message. I know … I work predominantly with women, and quite often, that is something that’s very difficult for them to mentally get over is how slow the scale might actually change, but …
Trudie: If it changes.
Dave: Exactly, but the progress like your message is so clear. The progress is still there. You just need to look for it using a different barometer.
Getting Started with Weight Training
Dave: Trudie, you’re probably the first guest I ever had that has experience with heavier weight training. Again, anyone, go on to bodyenvy.ca and take a look. Trudie’s got some pretty cool pictures that you can tell you’ve lifted some heavy weights. What would you say to women who are thinking about adopting that as a new type of training, but haven’t really had any experience lifting weights before?
Trudie: I would say definitely hire a personal trainer, a qualified trainer because the last thing you want to do is go in and try completely on your own, and then injure yourself, which can derail your progress. This one, to start light. You don’t start heavy. Start light, and slowly, slowly build your way up.
Also, listen to your body. For example, I have a girlfriend. She can lift very heavy weights and still look tiny and feminine, whereas some of us, some women, we start lifting heavier, and we’re like, “Okay. We’re becoming too bulky,” but that also depends on your body type. Definitely, start light, and slowly increase from there, and listen to your body.
Dave: What do you think about a beginner? Again, I just keep on thinking back to this question from Janet because it sounds like she has no experience doing resistance training. Do you recommend new people begin using machines, or do you think that free weights is the way to start out?
Trudie: If you’re new to training and you’re working on your own, I usually suggest a combination. For example, start with really lighter weights, and sometimes, switch it up to the machines. The beautiful thing with machines is it’s balanced, so if your weights are lighter on the machine, you reduce your risk of injury. Definitely, if you’re going to start with free weights, I would suggest the dumbbells opposed to the barbells because not a lot of people have experience on fully how to maneuver the barbells.
Dave: I agree, and quite often, I’m in the gym, and I’m watching mostly guys who are doing barbell lifts, and they definitely don’t know what they’re doing. It looks so dangerous.
Trudie: Honestly, I see that on a regular, and I’m just like, “Lord, please don’t let me be in here when they injure themselves. I don’t want to experience it.”
Eating and Lifting: What Does Your Diet Need to Look Like?
Dave: Agreed, agreed, and you and just see it’s inevitable. It’s going to happen. This is getting a little bit off-topic, but I feel like you’re going to have a lot of words of wisdom on this topic. If a woman in particular started doing resistance training, how does that impact the way that she should be eating, or does it? Again, I think of Janet. If she went from cardio-only workouts to all of a sudden incorporating some weightlifting, does that change what she should be eating?
Trudie: Not necessarily because how she should be eating, she already should be incorporating real foods. I’m not an advocate of diets because it’s … I don’t find dieting to be healthy. You’re depriving your body of nutrients. Especially if you’re going to be weight training, you definitely need the energy before, so what I usually advise clients is make sure you eat before. Have something with carbs because you’re going to need that energy to lift the weights.
Depending on how long you’re going to be working for, you may want to drink something. Definitely, have your water. Of course, after weight training, you’re going to be hungry, so you need to replenish what you’ve just burned within the first 90 minutes, so I usually suggest having something with, once again, carbs and definitely protein within 90 minutes of your work because you have to replenish what you’ve just used lifting the weights.
Dave: Okay. I’m putting you on the spot because I know we weren’t originally going to be talking about nutrition, but when you say some carbs before workout, this is very commonly misunderstood aspect of training. People all the time are saying, “What do I eat before I work out?” What would those carbs be?
Trudie: Carbs, so usually something like … If you’re going to be working out in the morning, oatmeal or even fruits. Just natural carbs. I know when people hear the word “carbs,” they think carbs is bad. No. it’s a matter of what kind of carbs are you having. Are you going to have a bagel? That’s not good. You’re going to have fruits. That, you can have, right? You need the energy to work out.
Dave: Personally, I usually recommend fruits because it’s absorbed in our blood stream so quickly, so you get that energy much more quickly if you’re eating right before a workout.
Make Your Body Work Takeaway
Dave: Trudie, one thing we like to do on the show is something called “Make Your Body Work Takeaway,” and it’s just that one thing that someone could do today to make a difference in their life. I don’t know. What would you say to someone like Janet who’s basically been going to the gym, not getting the results they’re looking for? What can they do today to change that?
Trudie: Just remember why you started, why you decide to start being physically active. Is it because you didn’t like the way you look? Is it because walking up, you didn’t like how you felt? Walking up the stairs was … It was too much work.
Just remember why you started, and every time you feel like giving up, just think about that. Another thing I always suggest to people is … It’s the new year. It’s everyone’s resolution. Make it a lifestyle. Make it to fit into your daily regime just like you have to get up to go to work. If you have kids, you have to drop the kids off at daycare. Make it work. Treat your body right. We only get one body. Be kind to it.
You only get one body. Be kind to it.
Dave: I love that advice of making it part of your routine. Quite often, I’ll get clients, and we’re talking about when they’re going to exercise. On Monday, it will be at 7:00am, and then on Tuesday, they’re doing it at 8:00pm. It’s all over the map, and my message, just exactly what you just said, it’s got to become routine. If you’re just doing it haphazardly here and there, geez, you’re never going to get used to it.
Dave: Great advice. Trudie, where could people go to find out more about you? Do you have a place on your website or social media? Where could people find out about you?
Trudie: Yes. As you mentioned before, they can definitely check out my website, bodyenvy.ca. I’m in Instagram, @bodyenvy1 and on Twitter, @body_envy. On Facebook, Body Envy.
Dave: Awesome, so you’re basically on all social media? Actually, you’re on YouTube as well because I watched some of your videos on YouTube.
Trudie: On YouTube. Yes, as Body Envy on YouTube.
Dave: Perfect. Great. Thanks so much for joining us today. Yeah. I’d love to have you back again in the future. I know I get a lot of questions about weight training specifically for women, and you definitely know what you’re talking about.
Trudie: Most definitely. Certainly, it was my pleasure.