Lift Weights to Lose Weight
Most people have misconceptions about weight training. They think that if they lift weights, they will become muscle bound and inflexible. What they do not understand is that weight training will not only help increase their flexibility, but it will also give them a fitter, more appealing look. (Don’t worry about looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s just won’t happen!)
In fact, weight training is one of the most effective ways to lose body fat. Muscle is active tissue; a pound of muscle requires anywhere from 30-80 calories a day just to stay alive. Therefore, the more muscle one has on their body, the more efficient they become at burning calories. After weight training, calorie burning continues for at least 60 minutes, whereas, after aerobic exercise it continues for only 20-40 minutes. You may burn more calories during aerobic exercise, but your metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories) remains elevated for a longer period of time following weight training. This is not to say that aerobic exercise is not an effective tool for weight loss, but what we ARE saying is that a combination of both weight training and aerobic exercise is definitely the best way to achieve maximum results.
People who engage only in aerobic exercise begin losing their muscle mass in their mid-twenties; up to ½ a pound a year. As our muscle mass decreases, our resting metabolism slows down. The body then needs fewer calories to function and excess calories are stored as fat. By eating small portions, 5-6x a day, you can help hyper your metabolism without hoarding your body with nutrients all at once. This will also help ensure that you are taking enough calories in so that you can maintain you muscle and lose body fat.
Fat is the body’s long-term stored form of energy. If you do not eat enough to maintain at least your muscle mass, you will lose muscle weight before you lost fat weight. Fat is always the last thing to go.
Weight training can be for anyone, of any age. The benefits are tremendous, not only in your battle to shed fat but in everyday life. It can make daily chores (such as picking up a package) easier, help increase bone strength (which prevents osteoarthritis), give you more energy, and give you a sense of control over your body.
Always consult your physician before starting any exercise program and seek advice of a qualified trainer to get you started!