PCOS Weight Loss & Strength Training Basics
Learn the basics of how to leverage strength training to help you burn excess PCOS weight gain.
Oh hey! Hello again. By now you've already learned what your diet and nutrition needs to be for you to fight the insulin resistant effects of PCOS that make it much harder for you to burn fat. If you haven't, make sure to scroll to the bottom and start from part no. 1 because now it's time to discuss the basics of strength training. You're going to learn why strength training is the best workout strategy for PCOS, how to plan your workouts, weights, and so on.
Before we get started I want to reiterate how important your diet is and choosing the right supplements to help you balance your hormones. For example, supplementing your diet with DIM can provide additional weight loss support. I take it myself and notice a HUGE difference in fat loss in my hips and stomach when combined with the diet and strategy. It's pretty inexpensive and you can grab a bottle off of Amazon.
Another new-ish tool that has hit the market is the Livia electronic abdominal treatment for menstrual cramps. It's intriguing because it's a drug-free solution (let's face it sometimes pain-killers don't cut it), and it's low profile so it can conspicuously tuck underneath your shirt and in your pants.
Why Strength Training is Best for PCOS
For every 10 percent increase in muscle mass, you get an 11 percent reduction in insulin resistance.
An eleven percent reduction in insulin resistance is HUGE for you. Your insulin resistance is what is responsible for your difficulty losing and maintaining your weight, weight that primarily is held in your stomach area. So naturally, if you learn to tackle your insulin sensitivity head-on you will have an easier time shedding body fat all over your body.
Strength training has always been touted as one of the most effective ways to improve the insulin resistance effects of PCOS because your muscle recovery increases demand for glucose which means increased insulin sensitivity for you for 24-48 hrs post workout.
How to Plan Your Workout
A workout plan or "split" as it is commonly referred to details your exercise plan for the week. The best way to exercise your muscles and ensure proper muscle recovery is to plan ahead and work similar muscle groups at a time. This method provides optimal "down time" for your muscles to recuperate and be ready for their next workout.
A typical workout split method is to group your muscles by area.
Day 1. Leg Day
Day 2. Back Day
Day 3. Arm Day
...and so on.
Another method is to create a workout split based upon the type of movement you're performing.
Day 1. Pull Day
Where all the exercises you perform follow a pulling motion. Examples of this are seated cable rows or lat pull downs.
Day 2. Push Day
Where the exercises performed follow a pushing motion like shoulder presses and chest presses.
How Much Weight Should You Use
Weight should feel just right. When you're choosing the appropriate weight for a particular exercise, you need to consider your goal first. Are you trying to build strength? Are you trying to grow your muscles? Your answer will determine how many reps you'll need to perform and thus how much weight is appropriate.
The fewer reps, the more weight you should be able to lift. For example, if your goal is to build strength you want to lift as much weight as you can for 1-8 reps.
Always channel your inner Goldilocks. The perfect amount of weight you choose should not be so little that you complete all your reps with ease, but not so heavy that you cannot complete your reps safely and with proper form.
If you're using the appropriate amount of weight, you should be able to answer YES to the following questions.
Does your rep goal match your fitness goal?
Do the last 2-3 reps feel difficult to complete?
Can you complete all your reps with proper form?
Can you complete all your reps without any pain?
Reps, Rest Periods, & Recovery Days
Recovery days are as necessary as the workouts themselves. They allow your muscles to recover and time for you to re-energize.
You can plan rest days into your workout split or take them as needed. Everyone is different, so there's no hard-fast rule. However, if you can answer yes to any of the following questions, a rest day is in order.
Are you exhausted despite eating and getting enough sleep?
Are your muscles still too sore from your last workout?
Are you feeling sick?
Your reps are determined by your overall fitness goal. For the purpose of losing weight with PCOS I recommend performing 8-20 reps of each exercise.
Adequate rest periods are determined by the goal of your workouts. They account for the amount of time it can take for you to recover adequate oxygen and energy for a specific type of workout. For example, muscle strength building workouts combine high weight with low reps and are benefited by maximum muscle energy. That muscle energy, or Phosphagen, generally recovers fully three to five minutes after the completed exercise.
That's going to wrap up the basics of what you need to know to start using strength training to help you burn fat. Part No. 3 goes into the more intermediate how-to's so make sure to check back for it.
As always, if you have any questions please leave them in the comments below.
P.S. You can follow the guide below to get caught up on previous posts.
Part No. 1 Proper Fat Burning Diet -- Read Here
Part No. 2 Strength Training Basics -- Complete
Part No. 3 Strength Training Intermediate -- Read Here
Part No. 4 Leveraging Cardio -- Coming Soon
Part No. 5 Measuring Your Progress -- Coming Soon
Part No. 6 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Weight -- Coming Soon