To lose weight, most people run on a treadmill, do an aerobics video, pedal an exercise bike or simply walk, while neglecting resistance training exercises that use weights or resistance bands to build strength. Sure, walking briskly or running on a treadmill burns more calories than static resistance training, and some people fear they’ll develop big muscles if they strength train too hard. Is resistance training good for weight loss – or should you stick with aerobics to shed those extra pounds?
Resistance Training for Weight Loss
Ideally, you need both aerobic exercise and resistance training for weight loss. Even though resistance training burns fewer calories while you’re doing it, it has long-term benefits you don’t get from moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.
Unless you’re doing a high-intensity interval aerobic workout where you’re getting your heart rate up to 90-100% of your maximum for short periods of time, aerobic exercise doesn’t give you a significant afterburn. Afterburn is where the body burns more calories even after an exercise session is finished.
Challenging resistance training creates more of an afterburn effect than moderate-intensity aerobic exercise – where you’re only getting your heart rate up to 50-70% maximum heart rate for thirty minutes or more. To get a good afterburn effect through resistance training, it’s important to work up to heavier weights so that the exercises are challenging. Focusing on lower body resistance training burns more calories and produces more of an afterburn than upper body exercises because you’re working larger muscle groups.
To use resistance training for weight loss and maximize the afterburn effect, gradually work up to higher levels of resistance and shorten the interval between each set to burn more calories. Another way to maximize calories burned is to do three sets of resistance exercises working the same muscle group using resistance bands or weights and then three minutes of fast-paced aerobics. Move to the next three sets focusing on another muscle group. Continue alternating back and forth between resistance and aerobics exercises. This type of training will keep your fat furnaces burning long after a moderate-intensity aerobics session will.
Another Reason Resistance Training for Weight Loss is Good
Resistance training increases lean body mass over time. Increasing the amount of lean body mass on your frame allows you to burn, on average, an additional sixty to sixty-five calories a day. Loss of muscle mass is one reason for the slow-down in metabolism that occurs with age. Another reason to get started in a resistance training program.
Is Resistance Training Good for Weight Loss: The Bottom Line?
Don’t neglect resistance training for weight loss. It’ll give you a firmer physique while adding fat-burning lean body mass to your frame. If you don’t feel comfortable starting a resistance training program on your own, schedule a few sessions with a personal trainer or use one of the many DVD’s that guide you through resistance training exercises. You’ll be glad you did.
Exercise Physiology. Theory and Application to Fitness. 2009.
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