Sunday, 19 August 2012

Lift weight to lose weight

Yep, thats right. If you want to lose weight(well, inches/fat but for the sake of this post let’s call it weight loss as we’re all familiar with the term) you need to lift weights. Resistance training is key to a successful, and more importantly sustainable loss.

Lets have a think about metabolism. So your metabolism determines the amount of calories your body uses as fuel. The faster your metabolism, the greater the calorie burn, the slower it is, the smaller the burn. With me so far?

Ok, now your muscles burn more calories than fat so the greater the muscle mass, the greater number of calories your body requires just to function on a daily basis. According to the American Council on Exercise, maintaining 1lb of fat uses 2-3 calories per day. The same findings show that 1lb of muscle burns up to 10 calories a day so you don’t have to be a maths whizz to work out that if you replace fat with muscle* you’ll burn more calories a day.

We all know that cardiovascular exercise increases calorie burn, right? So you go for a 30 minute run, burn about 300 calories, job done, and your metabolism returns to it’s normal rate. Now, how about a weights workout? Granted your calorie expentiture during the session will be less but the magic of resisitance training is that because your body needs extra time to recover (you know that achy feeling you get after weights? That) your metabolism is elevated even after you’ve hit the shower and gone home. Experts estimate this can be up to 39 hours post-workout!

Before you say ‘but I don’t want to bulk up!’…you won’t. Any bodybuilder will tell you it’s not easy to build muscle mass and often means very structured regimes, carefully planned nutrition and alot of discipline. By adding 2 or 3 resisitance training workouts to your week, you can start to replace lost fat with muscle and look forward to a leaner, more defined shape without added bulk.

Thanks to this greater muscle mass, and your new improved (increased) metabolism, you’ll be burning more calories at rest, not just when you exercise. Using more calories as you sleep? Sounds amazing. This makes for a sustainable loss. Carry on with the weights, and as long as your diet remains the same (i.e. not consuming more calories than you burn) you’ll avoid piling the weight back on, a common pitfall of many a dieter.

So what are you wating for? Grab a set of dumbbells, hit the deck for a set of press ups or get squatting to become a lean, mean** calorie burining machine.

* I’m talking losing fat and gaining muscle. Fat doesnt turn to mucle and vice versa, another common myth debunked right there.
** Perhaps not mean, you can still be nice even with muscles