types of exercise

Can You Do An effective Workout Without Weights?

Whether or not you use weights in your workout routine, will ultimately depend on the fitness goals. 

  • Do you want to lose weight?
  • Are you aiming for fat loss?
  • Are you trying to build muscle mass?
  • Do you want to increase fitness or flexibility?
  • Are you trying to increase your functional movement?

So for a workout to be an ‘effective workout’ will depend on what you want to achieve. 

To lose weight effectively for example, you need to raise your resting metabolic rate (RMR) to burn calories.  By working out what your fat burning target heart rate is and working out in this zone, you will burn through the fat calories. 

Fat burning occurs at a much lower intensity than most people realise and is different for each individual.

Are you one of those people that loves looking at how many calories you have expended after your workout?  Your fitbit may show you that you have burnt more calories after doing an intense workout but it is important to know what sort of calories you are burning through.  Maintaining your heart rate in your fat burning zone will mean you are targeting where your body stores fat – this will give you real results if you are aiming for fat loss rather than just weight loss.

Working out with weights is often called strength training or anaerobic training.  There are numerous benefits offered by strength training for instance, you will not just lose fat but will also build and protect your muscles.  However, you don’t necessarily need to use actual weights (dumbells, barbells, kettlebells etc) in order to workout with weights.  Using your own body weight (squats, push-ups etc) can achieve similar results, however it may be a slightly slower process.

Using weights is one way to train, but there are many ways to train in order to get the results you are looking for. For a workout to be effective it really needs to be designed around your fitness goals, which is where an expert personal trainer fits in.  So be sure to have a chat to your trainer to ensure you achieve your fitness goals. 

What is anaerobic training?

The key difference between aerobic training and anaerobic training is oxygen.  Aerobic training relies on oxygen and how efficiently your body transports it through your circulatory system to your muscles.  Anaerobic training which lierally means “without oxygen” - is fuelled by the energy already stored in your muscles.  It is commonly referred to as strength training.

Now here is where we get a bit technical…fair warning!  In order for your muscles to access that stored energy, your body conducts a process called glycolysis.  In short this is when sugar is converted into energy and is a process which occurs in your muscle cells during anaerobic exercise.  It does this without the use of oxygen and as a result your body produces lactic acid or lactate.  Lactate can be converted to energy without the use of oxygen.

Lactic acid can accumulate in your body faster than your body can convert it to energy.  This is why you tire quickly when performing anaerobic exercise as your muscles fatigue.  Regularly participating in anaerobic training will enable your body to tolerate and eliminate lactic acid more quickly and efficiently.

There are a lot of benefits of anaerobic exercise.  The main one being that it will build lean muscle mass and overall strength.  This will in turn increase your metabolism and protect your bones and joints.  Anaerobic training will also boost your energy levels.

Anaerobic exercise is not recommended if you are pregnant and if you are a beginner it is best to work up to a well-structured anaerobic workout, which we can help you with here at WAMH Fitness.

What is aerobic training?

Aerobic training in laymans terms is also known as “cardio exercises”.  Cardio refers to cardiovascular fitness which basically means that this type of training gets your heart rate up to strengthen both your heart and lungs with a goal of improving your body’s use of oxygen.

Whilst this type of exercise strengthens your heart and lungs it also trains the cardiovascular system (i.e., your arteries, veins and capillaries) to deliver oxygen efficiently throughout your entire body.

Aerobic exercises are generally sustained for a period of time to enable you to keep your heart rate above your normal heart rate.  You will generally feel that you are breathing hard and sweating during an aerobic workout, as your heart is pumping fast to get the blood to your muscles.

During aerobic training you will use your large muscle groups such as your gluteal muscles (“glutes”), Latissimus dorsi (“lats”), quads and hamstrings.  And you will generally continue the exercise rhythmically for at least 10 minutes. 

Examples of aerobic training are; running or jogging, walking, cycling, swimming.  Boxing can be both an aerobic exercise as well as an anaerobic exercise.

Your aerobic fitness refers to your body’s ability to use oxygen to meet the demands of exercise or exertion, by providing oxygen to your muscles.  Your level of aerobic fitness is one of the main drivers responsible for participating in many sports successfully.

Besides enabling you to be more competitive in sport, there are other significant benefits of aerobic training;

  • Improves circulation
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase energy and endurance
  • Reduces risk of heart disease and diabetes,
  • Reduce body fat
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve symptoms of depression
  • Alleviate stress and anxiety

As with any training program it is important to consult your medical professional if you are concerned about any health issues as it is always better to get expert advice.  But it is good to know that you can enjoy the many benefits of an exercise program once you take that first step.