Strength training: Your weight loss secret weapon!
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of strength training? Bulky men in muscle tanks? Protein powder? Getting swoll (don’t know what this means, ask the youths of America)?
Well I’m here to burst that image and replace it with the truth about weightlifting and why everyone should be doing it. First off I want to address common thoughts that cause many people to think twice about weight training:
“I’ll just stick with cardio because I am only interested in losing weight.”
In reality weight training is the key to weight loss! The research shows that weight training increases your metabolic rate, which aids in weight loss. Basically as your muscle mass increases, the amount of calories your body burns increases, which leads to weight loss (calories in< calories out). Many people are under the assumption that lifting weight is more for men than women, so women tend to spend their gym time on some type of cardio machine. This approach isn’t doing much for your weight loss goals because as we learned above weight training leads to more calories being burned throughout the day, whereas performing steady state cardio only burns the calories while on the machine. (Don’t know what steady state is,—check out my post on HIIT training to explore more beneficial ways to get in your cardio).
“I don’t want to bulk up.”
You may picture bodybuilders when you think of weight training, but this type of physique takes way more work than just lifting weights a few times a week. Resistance training builds lean muscle and in addition to that, the literature shows it increases bone health, heart health, and reduces stress levels. I suggest lifting weight 2-3 times per week, performing 2-3 sets. The key is to pick the amount of weight that you can perform 8-12 reps without compromising form, while also reaching muscle fatigue towards the end of the set. This is a balancing act and takes a few tries to get, so don’t be afraid to lower or raise the amount of weight.
“I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t want to hurt myself.”
Form is extremely important when it comes to performing any time type of exercise. Injuries can be prevented with the proper form, so this is an area you may need to get some hands on help. If you are new to weight training, need some guidance on how to target specific areas, or are just looking to mix things up, I suggest getting a personal trainer or taking a STRENGTH based group fitness class like the one we offer here at STAT Wellness. Getting the guidance of a trained professional can help minimize the risk or injury and can also help you progress more quickly and effectively.
If you yourself haven’t had these thoughts, I can guarantee someone you know has. These statements are just excuses and in order to achieve optimal health resistance training needs to be a part of your routine. This post just scratched the surface of the importance of weight training, so be on the lookout for future posts on specific workouts and other important facts about weight training.