Think of your fitness goals. It is common for them to include weight loss, toning or health improvements. You’ll be happy to know your goals can be achieved with a balanced program that includes strength training. Research on the benefits of strength training for weight loss is clear: the more muscle mass an individual has the higher their metabolism.
One benefit you gain is calories burned after a workout. When comparing the calories burned during a cardio workout versus the calories burned during a strength workout of the same length of time, it is often a similar number, and the cardio may even be a higher number; however, after the strength workout, the calorie burn continues for as much as 36 hours whereas the calorie burn in a cardio workout ends shortly after the workout does. In the end the strength training workout will burn more calories.
Additionally, with strength training the weight that is lost is mostly fat, not muscle. When working on a calorie in-calorie out type of program, weight loss may include muscle as well as fat. Although both may achieve weight loss, with strength training you will reshape the body as well, not only losing the weight but also gaining tone and lift as well as losing inches.
Do not fall into the misconception trap. Often women are nervous of strength training, concerned they will get bulky or look too masculine; there is little reason for concern. Women do not have enough testosterone to gain much size and in order to attain the look of a bodybuilder you’d have to follow a strict training program and diet. Without this, strength training alone does not give those types of results.
To be effective, the amount of resistance (weight lifted) and how often you train will matter. Add strength training to your program 3-4 times a week and be sure to lift enough weight that by the end of your final set you are fatigued, barely able to finish the last rep. The amount of reps and sets will depend on your goals. A personal trainer can create a program that is specific to your weight loss targets.
It is important that you add strength training to a balanced program that includes cardio and flexibility. Cardiovascular program is still important for the health of your heart – don’t discount its benefits. Including a flexibility component will help you to avoid injury and improve your performance in the sport of life or any other sport you choose.