Our expert says:
I think both your problems may be related to the same thing and that's that weight lifting is only partly effective as a means to combat what unfortunately happens to all of us as we get older. It's particularly the case with women, post pregnancy, and also remember that your routines will have changed enormously with 3 children relying on you!
The end result of this is a gradual increase in weight, because we tend to burn fewer calories and take in more. Weight training helps, but cardio training is more effective to burn calories.
As far as exercise goes, it is the cardio training, like cycling, running, stepping, aerobics, walking etc. that is most helpful in losing weight. All these activities cause heart rate to go up, and are increasing your body's metabolic rate, which ultimately causes you to lose weight by burning more fat (again, assuming you are also eating well). So I would say you should continue with what you are doing, keep focussed on the cardio. I think that 4 times a week is the minimum you should aim to exercise, five is probably the ideal number, but four is fine too.
The intensity you train is also very important. A lot of times, people train a little too easy, perhaps. I am not saying you should go out and push super hard and exhaust yourself every day, but stepping up the intensity once or twice a week is certainly a good thing. You should aim for a total of 45 minutes or so (anything between 30 and 50 minutes is a good average), and you should finish each session feeling tired, but not exhausted. If you do that, and you eat well, then you should lose weight.
Finally, the weight training is also beneficial, though it has a different effect - by doing weight training, you increase your muscle mass, and that means that you body's metabolic rate is lifted. The effect of this is that once you begin to lose weight, you keep it off more than you would by simply dieting. So it is important to do some resistance training, though one or two sessions a week is plenty for the goals of fitness and weight loss.
So just keep it up, give it a few months to work - remember, you have to be consistent, one month of training, one month resting is not really that effective, it should be a steady training period over many months to really see great results.
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