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Weight Training for Weight Loss
A Fat Loss Program for a New Years Resolution or Any Time
Anyone trying to lose weight already knows that you have to burn more calories than are consumed to meet the desired goal. Just common sense, right? That usually means a lot of cardio work as it should. But although it is absolutely true that cardio work will get the calorie deficit you desire while sticking to a clean and healthy diet, weight training for strength is the other side of the equation.
Heres the thing to consider; although strength training may not give you the instantaneous heart-pounding, sweat-dripping satisfaction of, say, a hillwork session or a spinning cycling class, in the long run (pun intended), building up your lean muscle works in favor of the weight-loss goals you have set. The short-hand version? Having more muscle mass forces your body to melt more calories while at rest. The long version? Glad you asked; read on.
Strength Training will Build Lean Muscle Mass
Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., founder of TS Fitness says, “Aerobic exercise is actually the most effective in losing weight, however, its not the best at burning fat and increasing lean mass (muscle),”. In other words, when you are losing weight primarily through cardio workoutsd, it is to be expected to lose muscle and fat as fuel.
So it follows that if resistance training is not a component of your plan to counteract this process, you are actually slowing down your metabolism by losing lean muscle mass, rather than boosting it up. This leads to the dreaded weight-loss plateaus. If weight loss is one of your New Years resolution it is important to grasp this concept.
Weight training is critical for building muscle mass rather than only than a cardio-only routine, Michaela Devries-Aboud, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at McMaster University tells us. “When you lift weights, you overload the muscle and it works to adapt to be able to lift more weight. The way the muscle adapts is by increasing something called myofibrillar size (the contractile units of the muscle)”.
Resistance training has been shown to stimulate this muscle growth, which is a logical precursor to an increase in muscle mass over time. And while it is true that aerobic exercise will also supplement this process, the eventual increase is not nearly as great as it is when combined with resistance exercise.
More Muscle Results in a Higher BMR (Base Metabolic Rate)
Building up more lean muscle mass results in your body consuming more calories while at rest. Adding more muscle boosts your everyday base metabolic rate, or BMR which is how many calories you burn just to keep your body running — natural processes and all that.
Devries-Aboud puts it this way, “Muscle mass is a more metabolically expensive tissue. The metabolic demand of a pound of muscle is greater than it is for a pound of fat, so just sitting around, the amount of energy needed to maintain a pound of muscle per day is greater than that of a pound of fat. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn throughout the day.” Logic. Tamir goes on to explain, “Muscle is constantly being broken down, recreated, and synthesized, and all these processes require energy. The more muscle you have, the more energy it takes for this process.” So by building more muscle, you are adding fuel to your metabolism.
It follows that boosting your BMR and then flaming more calories while resting, you are also boosting your calorie expenditure, which is essential for fat loss.
Stop worrying about what the scale tells you. Instead focus on how your clothing fits. Why? Because muscle mass is more compact than fat. If you are not dropping as much pounds as you want to, you are probably building muscle at the same time that you are burning fat, and that is a monumental good thing!
Yes, a Strength Workout is a Calorie Burner
Although cardio workouts get most of the credit as far as calorie-torching workouts go, it is a fact that you will also achieve a great burn while doing a strength-training session simply by adding in some moves to keep your heart rate up. There are many things to choose from to maximize your burn.
- Move faster between exercises, do not rest too long between sets. Dont be that guy that sits on the bench for five minutes playing on the phone!
- Increase your reps.
- Use as heavy a weight as you are comfortable with.
- If you want a rest between sets, hit the treadmill.
As you might imagine, these tactics are effecrtive because they increase your heart rate as you work out. That in turn leads to a greater need for fuel, and an elevated requirement for fuel leads to the body demanding more calories. And as an additional result of an intense workout, excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) will and the result is more calories being burned following your workout.
How to Ease Weight Training into Your Fat-Loss Strategy
The bottom line is that you simply have to torch more calories than you consume in order to lose fat, and even though it is true that adding muscle mass can assist in keeping that up in the long run, it is still important to knaw away at your calories every day. Tamir says, “Having a challenging cardiovascular routine helps in your caloric deficit.”
The key is a happy balance of both strength training and cardio. It is critical to include both types of workouts in any successful fat-loss plan. Generally speaking, Tamir recommends weight training at least three to four times a week for between 45 to 60 minutes. “Strength training also gives you the ability to endure more during your aerobic training; the stronger you are, the less effort it takes for you to complete aerobic exercise.”
What this means is that you can boost your performance while performing cardio-based activities: As an example, having strong glutes for running helps you go faster for longer. In turn this burns more calories. As well, doing exercises that strengthen your core will will go a long way in helping you maintain form and staving off injuries.
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