The Weight of It: How to add some muscle to your routine
Fort co-owner Danielle Perreault was recently interviewed by Ethan Hogan for the January 18-24 issue of The Hippo. The section focused on the new year resolutions to get in better shape and is titled 32 Tips for Workout Success. Her interview was featured in the third part of a four-part series titled Look Good, Feel Great. Pick up your free copy today and check out the excerpt below.
Danielle Perreault is the co-owner of Fortitude gym in Manchester. She started the gym with her partner Lisa Maria-Booth because of their shared passion to help others make a change in their lives. Perreault talked to the Hippo about how and why you might want to add strength training to your fitness routine.
What are some of the benefits of weight training over other forms of exercise, like cardio or yoga?
It keeps your bones strong and healthy, it can ward off cardiovascular disease and it boosts your metabolism for sure. That’s where I think people often misunderstand the benefits of it. They wonder, ‘If you had to choose between lifting weights over cardio,’ if you had to really press me, I’d say definitely lift the weights. You need a combination of both but the benefits that you gain from strength training are numerous. You are just burning more calories if you have more muscle. It’s like an active tissue, it burns more energy compared to fat.
Can weight training be a good weight loss tool?
Yes, definitely, because of what it does to your metabolism. You tend to burn more calories the more muscle that you create. And with the resistance training you burn calories for a longer period of time afterward because the muscle keeps building.
What are the pros and cons of isolating different parts of the body during a week of workouts?
Everybody has different schools of thought. For me, when I train, I typically like to train from top to bottom. I may focus on a certain area but I always include core work in every one of the trainings that I give. There’s always a little bit of cardio in every training I offer my clients. I like to have a mix of both. I might focus on one area a little bit. So if they are going to train with me a day later, I might move away from that area and move to a different part, because your body needs time to recoup. So, for instance, if you really worked your shoulders one day they need time to repair because that’s what we’re doing; we’re tearing those muscle fibers when we’re strength training. So your body needs time to repair them and that’s how your muscles get stronger.
What are the pros and cons of doing a full-body workout instead?
That’s a hard question to answer because it depends on your client. We probably do about 130 personal trainings a week and every single person is there for a different reason. You might have a woman come in that says, ‘I’m getting married in three months,’ or you might have someone come in who wants to be a bodybuilder or someone that just wants to gain overall core strength. We have trainers develop our program toward our clients’ goals. Many people have injuries so we could just be working around those injuries to help someone overcome those injuries, play that sport they haven’t played in a little while.
Is muscle confusion, or mixing up your workouts, effective?
Your body is always ready. It’s always saying, ‘Oh, this is something new, this is something new.’ It’s like running. If you just run and run the same distance every day, you don’t climb any hills, you don’t make any change, you just plateau. Your body likes to be confused. … We have the same classes each week but the variety of exercises changes always. One of the biggest difficulties for people is boredom. They don’t get bored and their muscles don’t get bored because we are constantly throwing new challenges at them.
Do you recommend light with high reps or heavy weight with low reps?
Studies have really shown that they kind of come out equal. I think it depends on the person if they can handle the heavy weights. If that’s what their goal is, they get excited to see that weight change, see those weights go up. You are definitely going to build good muscle mass. There are different schools of thought on it, but for me, it’s going to be what my client can handle, if their form is proper.
Is it possible to overdo it when starting weight training, and what are the signs and how would you recommend avoiding them?
Absolutely, it happens all the time. … When I’m starting with a beginner I always tell someone to focus on form. Form is essential in any weight training or fitness regime. People get hurt when they have improper form. … We do encourage people in a class, when you see that they have the form, to step it up a bit, get to ‘uncomfortable.’ That’s my biggest thing; people aren’t going to make any change if they don’t get to uncomfortable. And uncomfortable doesn’t mean you’re in an ambulance going to a hospital; it means the last few reps should be difficult and challenging.
What advice would you give to someone who is intimidated by weight training?
Start slow, start light. And seek help, don’t do it on your own. A few instructions, a few cues. Because we have so many group classes, people can be a little intimidated if they are out of shape. So oftentimes we have people come in that just want to do a few personal training sessions, so they learn the forms with the weights, so they feel more comfortable going into a group class.