STRENGTH TRAINING AND WEIGHT LOSS
Do you want to dramatically increase your chances of weight loss success? Of course you do! Who wouldn’t? And while you are at it become stronger to do activities of daily living with more ease then ever? Yep! The answer to this is strength training.
We talk to a lot of people who are either struggling to lose weight or have hit a plateau in their weight loss but are afraid to incorporate strength training into their routine out of fear that it will make them gain weight. This is especially true with women.
Let me give you the run down on why we believe strength training is a MUST if weight loss is your goal. (We actually believe that strength training is a must no matter what your goal is but let’s focus on the goal of weight loss.)
Strength Training Increases Your Metabolism
Your metabolism is the amount of energy you burn throughout the day doing every day things. Getting ready for work, walking up and down stairs, getting up from the couch etc. Basically, it’s the amount of energy you use up outside of planned exercise. Muscle is metabolic tissue, meaning that it requires energy to work. When your muscle contracts, energy is spent. The more muscle you have and the more efficiently it works, the more energy you use up throughout the day. This in turn allows for better weight loss results. And the best way that I am aware of to increase muscle and its efficiency is through regular strength training.
Without Strength Training You May Actually Be Losing Muscle and Decreasing Your Metabolism
This is a big point. If you take the route of just dieting or dieting and doing cardio to get to your weight loss goals you could actually end up in a scenario where you could be doing more harm then good for your body long term. For every pound of weight loss, up to 25% of that could come from muscle loss. If you kept this up it would have the opposite effect on your metabolism then we want. Decreasing your muscle mass would also end up decreasing your metabolism, which then slows down your weight loss results. And what is the best way to combat this 25% muscle loss? Regular strength training of course! Strength training keeps the muscle stimulated and significantly decreases the chances of it getting broken down in the weight loss process. We want our weight loss from fat loss not muscle tissue!
Use Compound Exercises
Strength training itself burns quite a bit of energy, especially when you do it right and focus on using compound movements in your workouts. Compound exercises involve multiple joints. Think squats or push-ups versus a bicep curl or calf raise. These types of exercise recruit several different muscles which in turn burns more energy compared to any single joint exercise. Again, over time, this increase in energy expenditure adds up to better weight loss results.
How Often Should I Strength Train?
The minimum would be two times per week, ideally 3 times per week would be most beneficial. There are many different ways to structure your strength training program but however you do it just make sure that you are setting yourself up for success. If you only realistically have time for 2 sessions a week then plan for that. Don’t use a program that is set up for 5 days a week and then get frustrated with yourself because you were not able to complete all of the workouts. Consistency is the key and you want to set yourself up to stay consistent for the long haul.
One last big point is that for strength training to be effective, regardless of your end goal, it must be done with effort. You want to use enough resistance to cause what is called temporary muscle failure, meaning you couldn’t do another repetition while keeping proper form. And please make sure that you are performing the exercises correctly. Proper form is crucial to getting the most out of the exercise and to ensure that you do not get hurt.
If you have read this and you get it, great, now go out and get busy. If you are confused or still unsure of how to incorporate strength training into your routine or how to perform exercises properly, don’t hesitate to ask for help. That’s what we are here for! Schedule a free consultation with us to see how we can help you reach your health and fitness goals!