Wear extra weight to lose weight | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Wear extra weight to lose weight

Rhonda Beckham
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune Rhonda Beckham jogs while wearing a weighted vest that helps increase endurance during workouts.

If you see me working out at Sierra Athletic Club sporting a Kevlar vest, it’s not because I’m using protective gear from clients retaliating for those hard-core sessions with me. I’m actually wearing a weighted vest to increase my endurance and lose a few pounds.

Weighted vests are all the rage in the fitness world. Oprah Winfrey recently aired a show focusing on Valerie Bertenelli and how she lost 40 pounds with the help of her weighted vest.

I’ve been using my X2 vest three times a week for four weeks and have lost six pounds. It makes me sweat, especially around the waist. I feel stronger and lighter after wearing it.

How does it help?

According to the Xvest Web site, studies have shown that the only way to maximize an exercise routine is by adding weight and resistance to the body, making it more difficult to move. With added weight and resistance, a workout will be more productive and will burn up to 70 percent more calories in a given timeframe. Weighted workout vests are a popular training tool for pro and college sports teams, but they can benefit a variety of people who want to enhance their workouts and training.

The idea is as simple as a baseball player swinging a weighted bat in the on-deck circle: If you condition your body to exercise with an added load, you gain enhanced endurance, quickness and speed when the weight is removed. Some say weighting the core of the body is safer to your joints and back than ankle or wrist weights. Best of all, you can benefit from using a weighted vest in such activities as running, riding, weightlifting and gardening.

You could start with a backpack loaded with a few rocks or small sandbags and start your walking program. As you become more conditioned, you should consider one of these magic vests. The model I have is adjustable and form-fitting for all of my clients. You can start with just the vest, which is two pounds, then add one-pound increments up to 20 pounds. I just ordered another vest that can hold up to 50 pounds. I’ve reserved this one for my hard-core athletic clients.

There are a variety of styles to choose from; the less-expensive ones do not fit as snugly, so they flop around when you try to run or jog. There are Iron Man vests that weigh as much as 100 pounds.

Many elite coaches and trainers use the Xvest. Chip Smith, athletic director of the Atlanta Athletic Club and founder and president of Competitive Edge Sports, endorses and uses the Xvest with Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears. Smith is touted as a speed and strength expert in the United States. His list of clients includes more than 200 current NFL players as well as guys in the NBA and MLB.

My vest sometimes reminds me of Bobby Coleman and his weight belt in the movie “Martian Child.” He was afraid that if he took off his belt, he would float away. After walking on the step mill with 14 pounds of extra weight on my torso, I feel like I could float away.

– Rhonda Beckham is a nationally certified personal trainer with teaching certificates in Pilates and kickboxing.

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