I want to first start out by saying both strength and cardiovascular training are very important in a well-balanced workout routine. Also your goals drive where you put most of your focus.
For today’s discussion I would like to focus on the goal of weight loss, since this is what most of our clients are focused on in some capacity, but we look at fat loss to be the ultimate goal.
One of our biggest pet peeve in the weight loss industry is that weight loss is the measurement for success. For example, here are some other ways to lose weight:
- Stomach flu (though intestinal parasites will do in a pinch)
- Shaving all your hair off
- Loss of muscle mass
Thanks, but I’ll pass on all those ways for weight loss!
I hope this gives you some clarity on why we do not set goals for weight loss with our clients. We really focus in on the fat loss component.
We use a few modalities for our methods of fat loss and today we will be looking at why we use strength training as a major component of our programing for fat loss.
Strength training is defined as using muscular force against resistance. Muscles adapt to any type of resistance, and the resistance can be a heavy object, one’s own body weight, elastic resistance from bands, or other types of machine resistance from pulleys or hydraulics. The heavy object can be free weights, kettlebells, sandbags, logs, rocks, kegs, and even another person.
Why is strength training so important?
The most obvious answer is that it makes you stronger!
Well strength training does make you stronger and it does this in several ways, including:
- building muscle tissue
- improving inter- and intra-muscular coordination — in other words, the ability to coordinate your moving parts
- improving rate of force production — how quickly you can generate force to move against the resistance
- strengthening connective tissues such as tendons
It can also make your muscles bigger while creating a demand for blood delivery, engaging the cardiovascular system. Strength training also has a plethora of other benefits including:
- Preserves and enhances muscle mass
- Preserves and enhances metabolic rate
- Improves bone density
- Improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity
- Lowers risk of injury
- Improves ability to engage in daily activities
- Improves balance
- Improves self-esteem
- Enhances strength and endurance
- Enhances speed, power, and agility
- Improves overall body composition
- Decreases bad cholesterol levels
- Decreases blood pressure
- Improves aerobic capacity
When muscle metabolism is altered, it can influence the development of many chronic diseases. Maintaining muscle mass with strength training can help to prevent some of the most common and increasingly rampant health conditions, including obesity and diabetes.
But muscle can also help you lose fat and stay lean!
When you increase your muscle mass you will have an increased basal metabolism. Actually, to be more exact, you will have a higher resting energy expenditure. Since your resting energy expenditure is the biggest part of your total energy use in a given day, it can change how many calories your burn.
Have you ever wondered why muscle uses energy when you’re doing absolutely nothing? Seems like a waste.
Well, muscle is always up to something. It’s constantly being broken down and re-constructed, or synthesized. In fact, all tissues, to one degree or another, are constantly being remade. It takes about seven days to completely regenerate your skin, and seven years to replace every cell in your skeleton.
What makes muscle special is that you can make more of it – a lot more. In other words, unlike bone and skin cells, muscle generation is, to some extent, within your control. Whereas after puberty, you can’t make a lot more of other tissue. Except fat!
With this information we now know that muscle is consistently using calories during the break down and repair process. These extra calories can really add up and help you drop body fat with a proper nutrition plan.
In terms of what’s possible, an 11 pound weight gain in muscle works out to an extra 250 kcal burned per day. If you keep your nutrition dialed in then that extra 250 kcal burned per day could add up to 5.3 pounds of fat loss per year. This is just from the resting muscle! This does not include extra calories used for exercise or walking to your car.
So, with all these benefits of strength training and now understating how muscle adaptation can help with your energy expenditure, why would you not have resistance training part of your workout routine?
Remember our goal is fat loss not weight loss because there is a big difference in the two. Plain weight loss really can have detrimental effects on your metabolic process and cause you to gain more unwanted fat.
I know we were going to get into the cardiovascular portion but, we are running a little long today so stay tuned for part two!
By looking at the benefits of strength training you can understand why some people call it the fountain of youth! If you need help and guidance with fat loss then you can request a consultation today.
We help people through their fat loss journey and we can help you!
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