If your number one goal is to lose weight, don’t be afraid to strength train.
Many gym-goers believe that lifting weights is only to increase size in the form of bulging muscles and cardio is the way to burn fat. According to Penn State University, lifting weights is the secret to fat loss.
Researchers put overweight people on a reduced-calorie nutrition plan and divided them into three groups. One group did not exercise, another did only aerobic exercise, and the last group performed cardio and weight training three days a week. Each group lost nearly the same amount of weight – approximately 20 lbs. – but the group that strength-trained had 40% greater fat loss, while the other two groups lost several pounds of muscle.
You’ll burn calories with each lift and after the fact. Strength training also increases the number of calories you burn while you’re at rest because your body is trying to aid in muscle recovery.
A director of fitness research in Quincy, Massachusetts says the calories burned in rest can be up to 25% of those shed in your strength training session. For every three pounds of muscle, you build you’ll burn an extra 120 calories a day on average because muscle takes more energy to sustain.
If you don’t know where to start, schedule a Personal Fitness Consultation at the gym. It is a great introduction to strength training that will take the guesswork and fear out of working out.
Once you become comfortable with the program, it is important to keep your strength training routine varied to create inefficiency. You don’t want your body to become too used to any one exercise because it will require less energy to perform. This can cause a plateau.
A personal trainer can create a periodized program for you. Alternatively, you can increase your weight lifted, or ease back on the weight and increase repetitions. Do sets for time instead of predetermined reps, or do exercises in a different order. Your body will have to adapt and this will improve your efforts for results.
Remember: your results may have little to do with what the scale says. By itself, body weight is a poor measurement of fitness, if you gain muscle and lose fat you’ll be fitter, but it’s possible for the scale to say you’re heavier.
When you strength train to lose weight your shape will change dramatically. Use body measurements, progress photos, and how your clothes are fitting to indicate your fitness and results.
Speak with a personal trainer at any World Health fitness centre to receive a free inBody Composition Analysis at any time. This will tell you your weight, but also your lean body mass and body fat percentage.