Boost Your Metabolism, Gain Confidence & Look Better Than Ever with this One Fitness Tip!

Boost Your Metabolism, Gain Confidence & Look Better Than Ever with this One Fitness Tip!

Neghar Fonooni
by Neghar Fonooni
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Boost Your Metabolism, Gain Confidence & Look Better Than Ever with this One Fitness Tip!

naghar fonooni logoIf you’ve ever wanted to lose weight or get in shape, you’ve probably had that “I should go for a run” moment. Or maybe you’ve taken to doing more cardio in the hopes that it’ll help you shed some fat.

Don’t get me wrong, running and cardio have their place in a well-balanced fitness regimen—especially if you participate in endurance sports. I’m a big fan of the concept that any movement is better than no movement at all. But if we’re talking straight up fat loss and fitness hierarchy, lifting weights is your number one priority as it’ll give you the most bang for your buck.

If you’ve been contemplating whether or not to venture into the weight room, here are five reasons why you should get started now.

1. Muscles rev up your metabolism Lifting weights regularly promotes the growth of lean muscle mass, which is an integral part of any fat loss journey. Put simply, muscle helps cultivate a healthier metabolism because the more muscle your body has, the more calories it will burn at rest. In addition to increasing metabolism, lifting weights promotes natural growth hormone production, which in turn helps reduce insulin sensitivity. Essentially, lifting weights will help turn your body into a fat loss machine—making the weight room one of the most important stops on your fitness journey.

Women often worry about being “bulky” or “too muscular,” so let me go ahead and allay those fears: lifting weights won’t turn you into She-Hulk overnight (although I would argue that She-Hulk is pretty much the best Super Heroine ever!). You’ll build muscle, yes, but you won’t pack it on in absurd amounts; women simply do not have the testosterone necessary to support that kind of muscle growth. Instead, you’ll build a strong, athletic, lean physique—provided that your nutrition is on par with your fitness intentions.

2. Setting personal records keeps you motivated Every time I go to the gym, I get better. I lift heavier, or faster, or even more efficiently. Regardless of the exactitudes, I find myself improving in some way, shape or form—which keeps me coming back for more.

A personal record, or PR, is something that you hear a lot about it the world of strength. When you “hit a PR” it means you’ve surpassed your previous record—whether it’s the weight you can squat or deadlift, or the number of chin-ups you can do. Essentially, it’s a sign of improvement and oftentimes a source of immense pride.

Breaking records, or setting PRs, is incredibly mentally rewarding. It keeps you coming back for more, and creates a sense of purpose in the weight room. While aesthetic goals, such as losing a few inches on your waist, are certainly worth pursuing, performance goals are notably more sustainable.

3. Being strong makes everything else easier Moving furniture? Carrying multiple bags of groceries? Hoisting a heavy carry-on into an overhead compartment? None of these things are a problem when you’ve got strength on your side.

When my son was in kindergarten, I visited his class to speak about the importance of exercise and proper nutrition. I’ll never forget what a kindergartener named Lizzie said when I asked the class why exercise was important: “Because it makes everything easier.” And she couldn’t have been more right. Exercising to be strong, mobile, and fast makes every day tasks less cumbersome.

4. Strength is a potent confidence booster The first time I performed an unassisted pull-up, I was astounded. I looked around the gym and wondered, “Did anyone see that?!” I simply couldn’t believe that I had been capable of such a feat. While I was incredibly excited at my performance, what I didn’t realize was how much that one act would affect the rest of my life.

What it came down to was this: If I can pull myself up over a bar, without any assistance, what else can I do? Feats of strength in the gym began to translate to strength outside of the gym—the intrinsic strength needed to thrive and excel. When I crushed it at the gym, I felt more capable of crushing it at life.

Lifting weights helps boost confidence like nothing else I have ever seen. I’ve helped timid, overweight, stay-at-home moms go on to crush feats of strength and then start their own personal businesses. I’ve seen beginners afraid of lifting a kettlebell move on to chasing a double bodyweight deadlift, while breaking out of their comfort zones. Physical strength contributes to strength of character, which in turn boosts confidence—and there’s just no downside to that.

5. Weight lifting is efficient As a busy mom and entrepreneur, I deeply understand time is precious time. It’s our only non-renewable resource, and we have to use it wisely, especially when we’ve got multiple commitments and obligations. So, while I truly enjoy exercising and do so as often as possible, I understand that sometimes my time is extremely limited—I wont always have an hour or more to dedicate to exercise.

The good news is that lifting weights saves you time because it’s incredibly efficient. You can even speed up the rate at which you lift or ramp up the intensity in order to simultaneously gain strength and lose fat (check out the Fast Fitness! series to learn more). Which means you don’t have to spend an hour doing cardio, and another 30 minutes on the pre-loaded machines. You can save time and attack your fitness goals, all by choosing the weight room instead of other areas in the gym.

“I don’t have time to exercise” will be a statement you never utter again, because the time it takes to get in a great lift session can be as little as 15 to 20 minutes. Prioritizing weights ensures that you’ll make time for fitness no matter how busy life gets. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of setting a timer for how much time you do have, and then doing as much as possible in that time frame.


Now that you know why you should add weight lifting into your life, it’s time to learn how. Don’t worry if you’re a little unsure. I know it can be confusing, trust me. As a fitness professional I’ve seen it all, and I completely understand why so many people are intimidated by the weight room.

It’s foreign territory, and just figuring out where to begin can be a daunting task. In fact, the fear and anxiety of venturing into the unknown is a common reason why many exercisers avoid the weight room to begin with. Luckily, when you get down to the basics, lifting weights can really be quite simple. You can strip it down to the bare essentials and not only demystify the process, but make it incredibly effective and efficient as well.

Rather than mess about with all kinds of complicated exercises or strange looking machines, try something more straightforward, like kettlebells or dumbbells.

Keep it simple, and don’t underestimate the effectiveness of basic exercises. My Kettlebells 101: The Best Workout for Beginners article has a great set of moves for weight lifting newbies.

While venturing into the weight room may initially take you out of your comfort zone, you’ll soon get the hang of it and forget why you ever avoided it in the first place. Lifting weights is incredibly rewarding and sustainable, and will help you further cultivate the fit, healthy lifestyle you crave. Remember to keep it simple, keep it safe, and, most of all, keep it fun!

Do you feel intimidated by the weight room? Think you’ll head in there now? Share your thoughts in the comments below!



About the Author

Neghar Fonooni
Neghar Fonooni

Fitness expert, writer, entrepreneur, and mom, Neghar Fonooni is passionate about helping people empower themselves to live a vibrant, fulfilling life. Her intention is to teach women how to find and cultivate their inner radiance, living a lifestyle of their own design. 


26 responses to “Boost Your Metabolism, Gain Confidence & Look Better Than Ever with this One Fitness Tip!”

  1. Avatar Kasey says:

    Love this post. I’ve always been intimidated with the weight room and have thought lifting would bulk me up. Time to make a change! Thanks for the info!

  2. Avatar Anthony Francis says:

    I love this kind of misinformation. It is well meant but just plain wrong. Nothing burns fat faster than proper diet and cardio.

    • Avatar Anthony says:

      I think you’re the one who is misinformed, buddy. Weight loss is dependent on being in a caloric deficit. You achieve that in more ways than “running and proper diet.” Strength training not only burns through calories but will also add on muscle mass. Having more muscle mass will burn through more calories even when you’re not doing anything.
      I lost 20lbs at a rate of 1lb a week doing nothing but strength training. That’s slow, sustainable, and healthy. So I don’t get where this idea that losing weight fast is a good thing is coming from, unless you’re obese. If you are obese, good luck with running and joint health.

      • Avatar Anthony Francis says:

        My information comes from personal experience. I said cardio also, not running. I lost 212 lbs in a little over a year. Most of my cardio was swimming. My joints feel great.

        • Avatar Dawn Brogan says:

          Swimming is a full body resistance exercise I.e. strength training. Cardio us anything that raises your heart beat.

          Eating a clean as possible diet is 80% of any fat loss plan.

          • Avatar Anthony Francis says:

            I apologize but swimming is cardio. I am sorry; if you aren’t getting your heart rate up and keeping it up while swimming you are doing it wrong.

    • Avatar freddlavoie says:

      Wow, calm down boy. I know you are able to lose pounds, but are you able to read? She didn’t say strength training was burning more fat than cardio. She’s saying you can get many benefits from doing it and she told us some tips to get motivated. If you have too much pounds to lose or if you’re obese, you certainly need to do cardio, man. All she says is that when you do strength workouts, it helps a lot with both the muscle gaining AND the fat burn. Plus, it gets you very motivated when you reach goals.

      Please, stop it with the misinformation, get back to the gym and to strength training ;).

      • Avatar Anthony Francis says:

        Actually, she did say that. Second paragraph: “But if we’re talking straight up fat loss and fitness hierarchy, lifting weights is your number one priority as it’ll give you the most bang for your buck.”

        • Avatar Neghar Fonooni says:

          BANG FOR YOUR BUCK. You’ll lose fat AND gain muscle which will help you lose MORE FAT. Listen, I’ve been in this industry 14 years and helped thousands of people all over the world lose tons of fat and transform their bodies. I’m glad you were able to lose so much weight with cardio–congrats! I won’t defend my article, as the science and the research to back up these concepts is there. I will say that I don’t need to have ever been overweight to have expertise on the subject: that’s what my 15 years of coaching, learning, and studying were for :).

          • Avatar Anthony Francis says:

            If the person is lax at all in their training their body will start eating the lean muscle tissue instead of the fat leading to disappointment and likely cessation of training. Plus there is the whole “I’m gaining weight instead of losing it.” shock factor at the beginning.

          • Avatar Neghar Fonooni says:

            Anthony, I really think you should just stick to what you enjoy, but please don’t discourage people from weight training with this nonsense.

          • Avatar Neghar says:

            Wow, I’m trying to loose weight & gain muscle. I just had complete knee replacement and searching on help. May 27th my PT WANTS TO discharge me. But I don’t feel my knee is moving well. I’m going on 9 weeks out from surgery. I am over weight I was 212 I lost about 30lbs before surgery. I’m now 179. Looking which road to take . 57 years old
            Other knee is bad to hope to weight.

          • Avatar Claudia says:

            Hi Negar. I do mainly cardio and some heavy weight training once or twice a week and follow a clean diet 90 % of the time. I have lost weight but I am struggling to lose the last 7 – 10 pounds!!! Would you recommend I do less cardio and more weights?

    • Avatar Summer says:

      I must disagree. Perhaps it’s just a woman’s perspective, but until I turned 23 and had to take medication that led to lots of weight gain, I was a swimmer and had an amazing metabolism. My weight was a consistent 115 throughout high school, college and part of grad school. Then, the Meds. A couple of years later I got pregnant with my first child and reached a devastating weight of 195. Six months later, a personal trainer friend of mine started me on a regimen of body weight exercises, moving into heavy weights. The pounds melted off and I became stronger than I EVER thought I could be. I reached my high school weight and maintained it. I later added in cardio for fun because I enjoyed it. I did, of course, change my diet to a cleaner eating lifestyle, but I will always advocate heavy weight lifting for weight loss and amazing amounts of self confidence.

    • Avatar Summer says:

      Also, when I was a swimmer, it was both cardio AND resistance training. The harder you swim the more muscle and lung stamina you build. The more muscle you build, the faster you swim. As a matter of fact, our coach would take us to the weight room in order to decrease our times in swimming. Swimming is great for both cardio and strength. One thing I thought was really cool was that our coach made us swim one length with no breath, repeat 10x. Really works on lung capacity! If you want to only do cardio swimming is a great choice because it’s safe for joints and also sneaks in resistance training! I loved and still love to surprise people with my strength!

  3. Avatar freddlavoie says:

    Excellent article! I like everything you wrote and I totally agree.

  4. Avatar wkbrdr says:

    You can get great cardio when lifting weights by hitting one exercise after another! Crosstraining by adding wakeboarding is awesome too! My fitness pal finishes everything perfect!

  5. Avatar Lee Hover says:

    I started lifting for the first time 11 years ago at age 70. 2lbs & was I sore the next day! However, I continued to lift & did a 70 lb bench press at 75. Depending on the particular exercise, my weights vary between 12 and 30 lbs. I do all the lifting & shifting furniture, full shopping bags and anything else that needs strength in my daily life. Use it or lose it is no joke.

  6. Avatar Summer says:

    QUESTION FOR MS. FONOONI (or anyone else): I have been trained to do heavy, full body circuit training with minimal rest in order to raise my heart rate, but I keep seeing so many trainers working different muscle groups every day. Is one better or more effective than the other?

  7. Avatar Sherilee Nickels says:

    Quick question: when I input strength exercises into My Fitness Pal app, why does it come up as zero calorie burn?

  8. Who has tried pole dancing? It’s a very intense form of resistance training as you train your body to be strong enough to be able to lift your own body weight as you spin around a pole. As your competency (and confidence) improves you start inverting which requires great upper body and core control to be able to perform properly. The women (and men) who enjoy this sport end up with a body type that is lean, very toned and highly functional. Chin ups? Not a problem! Moving furniture? Too easy! If you see images from elite national competitions you’ll see the more extreme pole dancer body type which is very lean, very muscled and very flexible. Those dancers would be training for several hours a day, 5-6 days a week.

    Contrary to popular myth, women around the world attend pole classes for their own fun and benefit, not to “titillate” their partner or because they work in exotic dance clubs (most have never even been to one). Most never dance in public at all. The creative and artistic aspect of pole dancing allows dancers to satiate a need for self expression that a gym work out does not provide, or to just have fun and comaraderie in a group class.
    It’s not for everyone, it’s just one of many fitness alternatives available.

  9. Avatar Claudia says:

    I’m 59 and just started weight training this year. I had to be careful in the beginning because of old neck and shoulder issues, but once I learned the proper form and breathing, I was able to progress pretty quickly into heavier weights. It is definitely helping me fit back into the clothes that were getting too snug!

  10. Avatar Brenda Grabowski says:

    I am 56 year old female who for many years maintained a weight of 100 lbs until about 10 yrs ago. I would like to lose 20 lbs and have tried just about everything. I am a dedicated gym enthusiast and now watch everything I eat 90 percent of the time. My routine consists of spinning classes 2x weekly and the other 2x weekly is a xombo weight and cardio. If I make the extra day it is a body combat class. I dont drink much water so I know that must change. I have also tried transitions and maybe lost 2 lbs. I am in great health..meds include synthroid (thyroid checked regularly) and osteoporosis meds. Can anyone offer any advice ?

  11. Avatar Karisa says:

    I am interested in your kettle bell exercises but the link is coming up page not found. I’m still a bit intimidated by weight training, but the article was motivating as simply adding 30 min of cardio a day didn’t help me lose any weight at all even while dieting.

  12. Avatar Alex Sum says:

    I again started lifting weights about three years ago after long pause. I am now 70 years young and still getting stronger. Just the other day I did 275 lb bench press. I am really surprised that despite my age I am still improving.

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