Most people, when starting a workout program, are looking to lose weight. Yes, there are those looking to gain some weight but overall it is about weight loss. And taking it a step further, fat loss. Let’s face it, we want to lose fat, not muscle. Sounds simple right?
Many times people are surprised when I put so much emphasis on strength training for weight loss. We have been conditioned to believe that to lose weight we need cardio, cardio, cardio. While cardio is important for many reasons, not just caloric burn, we get many weight loss benefits from strength training.
First, there is a big difference between bodybuilding and strength training. While with both we are challenging the muscle group, the goals, and amount of time spent, are very different. When we see a bodybuilder we can tell they spend a lot of time in the weight room, pushing and pulling extremely heavy weights. The goal is to look almost “freakish”. I’m not using that word in a derogatory way, as I have heard many bodybuilders use it to describe what they want. The amount of time spent in the gym by bodybuilders is freakish too!
When we use strength training for weight loss, there is a difference. Any time you strength train, you want to challenge the muscle group to make it stronger. You will see some muscle growth and development but not nearly to the extent of bodybuilding. When that muscle gets stronger, it will use more calories throughout the day. That is the important part. If you take a 30 minute cardio workout and a 30 minute strength workout, you will burn more calories during that cardio routine. The burn throughout the rest of the day is what you get from strength. This is how you change your metabolism to become a fat burning machine!! Plus, the amount of time spent doing strength training for weight loss is much less. This doesn’t equate to easy. As I said earlier, we want to challenge the muscle group. Doing 12-15 reps for a muscle group is good, as long as at those last reps, you are “feeling the burn”. You have heard that before right? And a good, solid strength routine could be 2-3 times a week. Now, any time those goals change, such as you want to add more muscle, the amount of time spent will also change. Be consistent with that workout and you will see results!!
Until next time…