Lift Weight to Lose Weight!
The number one reason that women join gyms is simply to manage their weight more effectively and to change their body shape. Men claim it is their second reason for a gym membership after muscle tone.
For years, ‘experts’ have touted the benefits of aerobic exercise for trimming pounds. But now, more than ever, expert opinion is putting huge emphasis on the weight management benefits of strength training.
It is not only a question of understanding the balance between ‘energy in and energy out’, but realizing the importance of metabolism and how best to positively impact it.
A wealth of empirical evidence suggests that resistance training in its various forms not only helps preserve but also increases healthy lean muscle, which in turn revs up the metabolism and increases the number of calories the body burns, both during exercise but also when the body is at rest.
Strength training increases the number of calories burned by as much as 7% (University of Maryland 2005). The reason for this metabolic advantage is that lean muscle mass is an active tissue, needing between 35 and 50 calories per pound per day just to maintain itself.
So the question is, ’ How long does it take to gain healthy lean muscle mass?’ The same University of Maryland Study found that exercisers gained between 3lb and 6lb of muscle in a six-month period when strength training twice a week.
As people strength train, they lose fat as they gain muscle and often drop down a size or two in clothing. Fat takes up much more space than muscle, it is bulky and less dense. A pound of muscle is about 30% smaller than a pound of fat. Weight training is especially important for older people because they lose about one third of a pound of muscle a year, starting in the mid to late thirties.
So what is possible by combining strength training with cardiovascular exercise in 3 x 40 minute sessions per week? Studies indicate over an 8-week period there can be huge benefits:
· Improvement in body composition.
· Loss in body fat.
· Gain in lean muscle mass.
· Significant reduction in resting blood pressure.
· Increased deposit of minerals to the bones, thus reducing the risk of the onset of osteoporosis.
So what are you waiting for? After your cardio warmup, lift something heavy today.