Sudy proven in writer#8217;s exercise and weightlifting regimen

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 3, 2006

I am sick and tired of studies, of which I may be living proof, concerning female weightlifting and belly fat.

Kathryn Barrett gives a health report frequently at 5:30 p.m. on the ABC News Channel 13 program called Medical Headlines. On Friday, she said women often stay away from lifting weights because they believe that it will make them look less bulky or less feminine.

However, she went on to say that an study in obese women found that those who followed a weight-training regimen twice a week decreased total body fat by 4 percent, while women who only received advice about exercise had no change at all. No one in the study dieted or changed what they ate, and both groups weighed the same at the end of two years. The weight lifting women also had significantly less abdominal fat. Barrett said past research has shown abdominal fat is related to heart disease and other medical problems.


Email newsletter signup

I started a weight-training program in June 2005 because I have hypertension. I also have somewhat of a bulge in my belly, and it was larger when I was a full-time reporter and I sat most of the time knocking out material at my computer. My retirement probably has saved my life. Now I have more time to devote to an exercise program that include weight-lifting, which has decreased the belly slightly.

In November 1999 I flew to Las Vegas with two friends. I was down to a size 10 from the loss of appetite due to grieving my husband’s death in October 1998. The trip uplifted my spirits, and while I was there, I found two fabulous outfits in sizes 10 — a red and silver two-piece velvet pant set and a black and silver two-piece jumpsuit. Both were priced about $100 each. The black and silver one has been in the den closet since 2002.

Since the focus last week was on the Oscars and fashions, and the name Marshall Rousso came up on a talk show on Channel 13 called The View, I realized that it was the same name inside that the two-piece jumpsuit. Therefore, I decided to retrieve it, not caring if jumpsuits were still in style. It was in the closet because two years after I took the Las Vegas trip I had outgrown it. I took it out of the closet, had it cleaned, and wore it to the Sickle Cell Banquet last Friday night. I received many compliments, even though it fitted a little loosely in the front. This fitting surprised me, because when I has a visit to the doctor Thursday, my weight hadn’t changed much from the time I was working full-time. Therefore, I sought an answer from Ruth Price, a YMCA certified strength and conditioning specialist at the Suffolk “Y.”

Price told me that the reason I went down in clothes size, but remained the same weight, was because muscle weighs more than fat and that I lost fat by performing cardiovascular exercise and gained muscle by performing strength- training exercises. She said that I would not see a change in scale size, but would see one in body size.

I always start out my exercise program by walking the treadmill for 30 minutes, then move on to the weight machines. They include the Abdominal Crunch, Arm Curl, Tricep Extension, Back Extension, Advanced Chest Press, Hip Abduction and Adduction, Leg Press and Advanced Shoulder Press. From September 1, 2005 to the present, I have lifted a total combined weight of 53,340 pounds. Each machine gives a demonstration of the areas I am exercising and friendly trainers are always present in the room if I need help.

When I first began, I sought the advice of the trainer to listen to my concerns and to get me started on my program. When I was comfortable with it, she turned me lose to be on my own.

According to Price, benefits of weight training include increases in muscle mass and metabolism, the prevention of osteoporosis, and prevention against injuries. She also said that this kind of training produces a strong abdomen that can help prevent back pain.

It is a big sacrifice to find time to exercise and do the weightlifting, but with the results that I had on Friday, and knowing the results that this training can produce, it is well worth the effort in doing it.

Wall is a former News-Herald reporter and regular contributor to the Town Square page.