Probably the best thing about having PCOS is the ability to build muscle. Having more testosterone puts women with PCOS at an advantage to increase muscle mass. That's a great thing because muscle is very active and uses glucose very efficiently, requiring less insulin production. Resistance training increases muscle mass, which in turn increases resting metabolic rate (RMR). This leads to an increase in total energy expenditure and body fat loss. A double bonus: We not only burn more calories and fat during the time we lift weights but our metabolism stays up to 10% higher afterwards thanks to an increase in the flight or fight hormones epinephrine and nor-epinephrine.
Benefits of lifting weights:
- Burn more fat
- Increase and maintain metabolism
- Lower insulin
- Improve blood pressure
- Aid in weight management
- Improve mood
- Increase self confidence
Ready to get your burn on? Here's some tips on what you need to know.
Skip the scale
Muscle weighs more than fat. As you weight train and gradually increase the weight, you will replace fat with muscle. This may cause a slight increase on the number on the scale, decrease or no change at all. Don't drive yourself crazy by monitoring your weight on a scale. You will see a difference in your clothes as you will still lose inches. Using a tape measure once a month or going by how your clothes fit, are a better indicator.
How much weight to lift?
As much as you can. If you are lifting weights and it's not difficult to finish your last repetition, it's not heavy enough. Don't be afraid of heavy weights. Women with PCOS are strong! I assure you, you will not look like Arnold. If you've been lifting weights and haven't increased the resistance, trying adding on a little more weight next time. If you belong to a gym, consider scheduling a session with a personal trainer. Many gyms will offer a free personal training session or have staff that will help you learn about the machines, and establish your settings. For best results, weight train two to three days with rest days between. Consistency is key: You will be burn more fat the more fit you become.
Change it up!
Varying your sequence and routine can make a difference; resting muscle groups by switching to weight machines that target different muscle groups, prepares muscles for the next round. Work the largest muscles first (i.e., back exercises before triceps). You may find it helpful to observe what machines and exercises others do to get ideas for your workouts.
No matter what type of resistance training you do, adding muscle is the key to revving up your metabolism and burning fat.