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Dallas, TX - Should I Use Exercise Machines or Free Weights to Lose Weight?

Posted Sep 02 2009 9:15am
Dallas, TX – Boot Camp and Personal Trainer answers question "Should I Use Exercise Machines or Free Weights to Lose Weight?"Many of you have been in a fitness gym or at least have seen what a fitness gym looks like. Fitness gyms can be a little overwhelming with all the different types of fitness equipment and machines they have in there. Most all fitness gyms have exercise machines, a free weight area (benches and dumbbells) and they also have an area where there is cardio equipment. If you have not been in a gym, you have at least scene them on TV trying to sell a machine or some fitness equipment that will help lose weight, tone up, and look better. This article will help answer some questions you may have about machines and free weights (body weight or resistance training).  What fitness equipment is right for you? Which ones are safe? Which area in the gym would be best for you to work out? Why are some of the personal trainers using the machines with a client and other fitness trainers  are using the free weight area? What exercises should I do for weight loss? Should I use the machines or free weights? These are just a few of the questions that I get asked about when it comes to machines, free weight, and cardio equipment.It is important to know what you are doing because many people get hurt both on machines and doing free weights because they just do not know HOW TO PERFORM THE EXERCISE. I am a firm believer that if you know HOW to perform the exercise, you will get much more OUT of the exercise. If you do this for each exercise, your body will have to work harder which means that it will burn more calories. Most people that are looking to exercise or that already exercise are looking for a few things. Weight loss, better health, a jump start on a program, body toning,slimming down,sports performance, and other health andwellness goals are some of the reasons people look us for help. When it comes to what exercise equipment to use, I am just going to help give you suggestions and what we think and what we believe helps produce results. As with anything, we suggest you do research and see what other personal trainers and leading fitness professionals think about this topic. Most of the research will say there is not really a scientifically proven answer to this. Exercising regularly (5-6 times a week), eating a healthy diet, and ensuring your body is getting enough vitamins, nutrients, and anti-oxidants to help fill in the nutritional gaps are all factors in staying healthy and reaching your goals. If you are doing all of these (consistently over time) it is just a matter of time before your body responds in a positive way and it changes into its natural state (which is different for everyone). Before starting any new fitness and nutrition program, it is recommend that you consult a professional to help you get started.MachinesBenefits
If you are new to exercising and don’t really know what you are doing, using the machines can be a good start. Many beginners are not sure about their body’s range of motion and the machines help keep the body in the right range of motion. This will help reduce the risk of injury for most people starting out if they are using the proper weights. Many gyms also have all the machines close together. This allows people to go from one machine to another helping you work different muscles in a circuit. Another benefit is that many machines have a picture and explanation of the machine making it easy to use for people who are still learning.

Negative Benefits  –
Since you are moving in the same range of motion, your muscles and your body gets used to that same motion and can cause muscle overload on those muscles. This can increase the risk of injury to the muscles because you may overwork the muscles. Think about picking up a child for a second and what muscle or muscles you would have to use when picking that child up. You use a number of different muscles when reaching down to pick up a child, so machines are not very functional at all.  Functional means everyday activities that you do like walking, picking up things, pushing something, throwing, running, jumping, and other exercises your body does every day.
Free weight (body weight or resistance training) – Benefits or Pros
Most boot camp programs and a lot of personal training programs are
based on body weight and resistance exercises. Functional training, body awareness, body alignment, balance, stability, strength, flexibility and other factors are all a big part of what fitness professionals do each and every day for their boot camp and personal training clients. When it comes to fitness professionals and personal trainers, people are paying them for one reason, to get results (weight loss, toning, health, so this article is not only going over how you can more effectively do more with an exercise, but also which workout style is better for your fitness and weight loss goals. Looking at the difference between machines and free weights (body weight or resistance training) it is easy for fitness trainers to know which one will help with everyday functional use AND for what their real goal is (mostly to look better). Each body weight or resistance exercise calls synergistic muscles that help to support your body through the lift which just means that more than one muscle groups is having to work during the exercise. Whenever you perform a free weight ( body weight or resistance training) exercise, you are using proprioreception, which is the brain’s ability to know where the body is in space and whether or not it is balanced.  Choosing free weights and performing resistance training exercises will help to train your mind and improve everyday activities. This is a very important skill for athletes or anyone who plays sports. It is also very beneficial for helping to decrease the severity of those freak injuries like rolling your ankle. One of the most basic benefits is that the cost is very inexpensive. A mat, medicine ball, stability ball, dumbbells, tube bands, and a kettle bell are just a few of the inexpensive fitness items you can get. You go and look at any park out there and see people doing body weight exercises which points out that resistance training can be done anywhere, which is very convenient. You don’t have to have a gym with fancy equipment. 

Negative or cons -
 Free weights (body weight or resistance training) can lead to injuries to your body if you do not know HOW to properly perform an exercise. Look at the top boot campcoaches and personal trainers and you will see how well they know how the body moves and how to explain to boot camp participants and personal training client how to properly perform an exercise. If the body is not moving properly when performing free weights (body weight or resistance training), there can be some injuries that occur. This is one of the main reason why people will also mention that you should learn how to exercise from a fitness professional, a personal trainer, or someone that can teach you how to exercise. This would be one the biggest problems with  free weights and resistance training. If some is performing the exercise wrong or does not know HOW to do an exercise, it could possibly lead to injury.
Machines vs Free weights (body weight or resistance training)?If you are educated on HOW to do the exercise, both machines and free weight can be effective at helping you reach your weight loss and fitness goals. There is not a perfect answer to this one because everyone has different fitness levels and different goals. Each person will need to factor in a few things when working out that will help them get the most out of the workout. Exercise tempo, repetitions, how long each exercise takes, how long of break you take in between, and exercise programming are all factors that help make your workouts harder and tougher, which will help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals fast.Brad Linder is the owner of a Dallas fitness company called Get You In Shape. Dallas Boot Camp and Coppell Boot Camps, Personal Training, and their 40 Day Challenge make Get You In Shape one of the top fitness companies in the Dallas, TX area. Visit for more information.
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