It’s a common misconception that you (especially women) should steer clear of weightlifting when trying to lose weight. There’s still this stigma that exists that you must lift super heavy or that strength training will make you big and bulky.
The truth is, it helps boost your metabolism and promotes fat loss.
And those are only two of the reasons why you shouldn’t avoid strength training, especially as a beginner!
Strength training isn’t just for athletes and bodybuilders. It’s actually a great way to improve your health, fitness, and performance in all aspects of life. Additionally, strength training can help you maintain muscle mass so that it doesn’t decrease as you age which can actually lead to increased risk of things like diabetes.
In this post, we’ll be going over five reasons why you shouldn’t avoid strength training in your training regime!
1) Strength Training aids in fat loss, not just weight loss
“I have stubborn outer thigh fat. I have stubborn belly fat. I need to lose weight”
Have you said this or heard someone say this?
I have! And chances are, this person does not need to lose weight. Instead, they need to focus on BURNING FAT!
There IS a difference!
Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss
Weight loss refers to obtaining an overall lighter weight. The thing is, when losing weight, that “weight” can come from anything. The weight lost CAN be fat, but it can also be muscle loss, dehydration, or loss in bone density. Losing weight can happen fairly quickly.
Fat loss refers to the burning of fat, not any of the other tissues in your body. When weight loss occurs due to fat burning, it may happen slower, but it is healthier.
How does strength training aid in fat loss?
The first reason why you shouldn’t avoid strength training is that it actually promotes fat loss! Due to its caloric expenditure, cardiovascular exercise is most appropriate for weight loss during the workout. However, strength training provides a universally more effective approach at burning total calories and fat overall.
The major reason why strength training is so beneficial for weight loss is it builds and maintains muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Muscle uses more calories than fat to maintain your body every minute of every day even when you’re just sitting around. It’s not only about what you do in the gym, but how your body responds to your lifestyle as a whole.
Building and Maintaining Muscle Mass
As a beginner, building muscle mass is simply a matter of lifting weights that are heavy enough to make it difficult to do more than 6-8 repetitions. Weightlifting should be done 2-3 times a week for maximum results.
It’s equally important to eat the right foods when strength training! It’s important to make sure you’re getting enough calories from the food you eat because muscles need energy in order to grow too!
According to Science Daily, a high protein diet combined with strength training is your best shot at simultaneously building muscle while burning fat.
Products such as whey protein powders, creatine, BCAAs, and glutamine can also be used to help with recovery and muscle maintenance. However, the supplements aren’t necessary to maintain muscle mass with just regular weightlifting sessions.
Metabolic rate represents the number of calories needed to fuel ventilation, blood circulation, and temperature regulation. Calories are also required to digest and absorb consumed food and fuel the activities of daily life. Or put another way, metabolic rate is an estimate of how many calories you would burn if you were to do nothing but rest for 24 hours. It represents the minimum amount of energy required to keep your body functioning.
2) Increases the total calories you burn while resting
Because who doesn’t want to burn calories while sitting on the couch watching Netflix?
Seriously thought, that’s one of the secrets to effective fat burning. Burn more calories at rest. And you can do still by maintaining and increase your Metabolic Rate.
the number of calories needed to fuel ventilation, blood circulation, and temperature regulation. Calories are also required to digest and absorb consumed food and fuel the activities of daily life. Or put another way, metabolic rate is an estimate of how many calories you would burn if you were to do nothing but rest for 24 hours. It represents the minimum amount of energy required to keep your body functioning
Cardio will help you burn more calories in the time period in which you are exercising You may not see as big a calorie burn while strength training, but the overall caloric expenditure throughout the day will be greater.
Muscle requires more energy to maintain, than fat. Strength training will increase your Metabolic Rate, thus allowing more calories burned.
Through building lean muscle and heightening your basal metabolic rate, you burn more calories throughout the day and drive up your overall daily caloric deficit.
3) Gives that metabolism a boost
Ever had one of those friends who said “I have trouble losing weight, my metabolism is too slow!”
Or maybe you’ve been that person! I know I have!
So let’s define what metabolism exactly is and how strength training can help give it a boost.
What exactly is metabolism?
According to the Mayo Clinic, through the process of metabolism, your body turns the food you eat into the energy it needs. It’s a vital process for all living things, not just humans.
- The body’s cells use this energy for practically every function it goes through, to include digestion, breathing, sleeping, etc.
- The main function of metabolism in fat burning is to break down and burn sugars in your body to produce heat and energy.
How does strength training related to metabolism?
Lean muscle is needed to maintain a healthy metabolism. Naturally, as you lose weight, your metabolism will slow down. The less you weight, the less calories you need, the less energy needed.
Muscle takes up less space than fat, but weights more. For every pound of muscle you have, you will burn 6 calories a day, instead of the 2 calories for a pound of fat. That will add up over time!
4) You’ll get lean and toned without getting bulky
It’s actually hard to build a lot of muscle.
Beginners can expect to see some new muscle growth within 8 weeks of some decent training. Most of this is due to the body adapting to new movements and loads.
The longer you train the longer it takes to build new muscle. It becomes more about maintaining the muscle mass you have.
- Men have potential to build 1 to 2 pounds of muscle a month
- Women have potential to build .5 to 1 pound of muscle a month
5) Strengthens tendons
As someone who has suffered tendinitis in both wrists, this one is very near and dear to me!
Tendon strength is essential to preform everyday tasks.
A tendon is a thin fibrous band made up of dense connective tissue that connects muscle to bone. It allows the bone to move when the muscle contracts. Tendon strength increases when you use it. As with muscles, it is stronger because you force the tendon to work more. When you add weight, the tension on the tendon becomes too much for it to handle and so it grows stronger. The National Strength and Conditioning Association says that how strong your tendon is depends on how hard you are working. The American College of Sports Medicine says that this also depends on how strong your muscle gets as well.
As we age, tendons weaken, which make us prone to injury.
The bottom line s this. At the end of the day, strength training has many benefits! Which of these reasons why you shouldn’t avoid strength training most surprised you?
When it comes down to it, there’s no perfect answer for everyone and different exercises will work better depending on your body composition or goal weight.