When most people think of a weight loss program, they first probably think of dieting. Second to that is usually some for of cardio – walking, running, elliptical, whatever. These two components are definitely important parts of losing weight. However, what many people don’t realize is that resistance training is also very important.
Resistance training is pretty much synonymous with strength training. It’s working your muscles against some sort of resistance. This includes body weight exercises like pushups, situps and air squats as well as other forms of resistance training including weight training.
Yikes – did you just say weight training? But I don’t want to get huge like Arnold. I just want to lose the bulge.
A common misconception is that weight training should be relegated for those individuals looking to gain muscle mass – who want the big guns. While it’s true that weight training is a necessity for bodybuilders, it’s pretty much a myth that lifting dumbbells and barbells translates into getting huge. In order for this to occur, bodybuilders need to eat a large number of calories on a daily basis. It’s just a difficult thing to do – especially for women. Substantial muscle growth requires hormones (like testosterone) that just isn’t as readily available in women. Even many men have much difficulty getting the big guns. For dieters, who are probably on some sort of strict diet (hopefully a Zone diet), getting huge should not be a worry at all. It aint gonna happen – not even close.
But muscle mass is a good thing for the dieter and it’s very important to include resistance training in any sort of weight loss program. Here are some reasons why.
- More muscle equals a higher metabolic rate. Research has shown that regular resistance training may boost your metabolic rate up to 15%. A higher metabolism means more fuel gets burned faster making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
- Resistance training can boost bone mineral density, decreasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
- It can strengthen weak body parts and joints, reducing the risk of injury in day to day activities and sports.
- Resistance training creates muscle and changes the body composition which improves an individual’s appearance.
- Muscle takes up less space than fat. Building muscle changes the ratio of fat to muscle on the body, helping to create tone.
So if you’re currently on a diet and have been thinking about getting to the gym and incorporating some weights, find a good weight training program and add it to your weekly routine. If you have always thought of weight lifting as a guy’s thing or something that’s strictly for bodybuilders, think again. Weight lifting and resistance training is great for all of us, regardless of our goals.