Don’t Weight to Move Over to the Dark Side

Sure you'll need some help and yes it means lifting things but weights can be the most empowering addition to your exercise routine yet.

There’s always a ‘weighty’ issue on my mind when it comes to exercise and it’s not the kg’s on the scale. You see, I’m a cardio gal – always have been, always will – but there comes a time when you ought to be making friends with the dark side of your gym. Weights, whether you’re lifting them, throwing them or swinging them, help maintain and build muscle like no cardio can.

“I think cardio is a less threatening option,” explains Kea Thorburn, Personal Trainer and Owner of Fit Yeah.

“You can easily go for a run, do some skipping in the park or your backyard but to go to the gym and do some weights can be very intimidating. However, the more lean muscle tissue we have the more we burn – as our metabolism runs much higher – so weights are ideal for weight loss and maintenance.”

Kea and I go way back. Way back to the time I had knee surgery, was in a leg brace for months, and could barely do a step-up let alone run. I did PT and Bootcamp with Kea and the mainstay of our activities involved weights but they weren’t what I was expecting…insert previous experiences of bulked-up guys at the gym hogging machines and equipment.

“There’s still a big a misconception that lifting weights will bulk you up, so many people think hitting the pavement and going for a run is a better option,” says Kea who emphasises the importance of technique and also confidence.

“I would start with free-weights, so Dumbbells or even Kettlebells. Google really is your best friend as there are plenty of YouTube videos on lifting weights, technique and sample workouts. But if you are a member of a gym, book in a session with the PT and get them to go through a beginners program and show you some pointers for perfect technique as this is a must for getting the maximum benefit out of your workout and avoiding injury.”

I still love my cardio – it’s incredible for the constant stress of uni life – but I have to admit that once I’m back in a weights program a couple of times a week I really notice the difference in my body, and it’s fast! Importantly, I also gain a strength and confidence in myself. It’s a different sense of determination to the competitive endurance of cardio and gives me a clarity in everything I do – maybe one of the reasons I’ve earned the nickname Sharmanator over the years.

But what about those first steps into the dark side of the weights room? Kea says you’ve got nothing to worry about.

“First of all, those guys/girls are too busy pumping massive weights – and most of the time looking in the mirror – to even notice anyone else!”

“But if you are really intimidated by them, I would advise starting on the machine weights first as they have all the instructions on the side of the machine and are a lot less intimidating. This will get you into the weights section and make you soon realise the beefcakes are too busy, or grab a buddy and drag them into weights with you. Then you can both chat with each other while your in-between sets and show them it’s your gym too!”

Now you’re ready to hit those weights, it’s time to talk skin (naturally). Personally, I have no idea how anyone can exercise in a full face of makeup and it’s good to know that Kea is in my corner on this one. She recommends a bare face for the gym which is going to work up a sweat, so pack a cleanser or take cleansing wipes to allow skin to breathe and for outdoors, it’s a no-brainer.

“The old rule as a kid still applies, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat. It’s a must for our hot Australian summers!”

Kea Thorburn is a Personal Trainer and Owner of Fit Yeah #skinfitsister

SkinFit Tip

'In the gym, take your makeup off. Cleanse or use a makeup wipe and get rid of that foundation - it's going to sweat off anyway and this way your skin will breath through your workout!' - Kea Thorburn #skinfittip

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