More personal trainers today are helping clients turn their muscles into fat burning machines - It’s a trend that has many people choosing strength training over cardio to achieve their weight loss goals.
How often have you heard this: if you want muscles, lift weights, and to burn fat, you do cardio -- right?
Well. Not according to the fitness experts we’ve talked to. If you’re one of the more than 60% of people who are trying to lose weight by exercising, then strength training is the activity that if you're not already doing, you ought to be. The reason is simple: strength training, whether done under the trained eye of a personal trainer or by doing push-ups each morning, makes enormous contributions towards building the muscle mass in our bodies. And the more muscle mass we have, the higher our metabolic (or calorie) burn rate will be.
Those facts are putting a shiny new allure on strength training exercises as an effective means of losing weight, and it’s drawing a lot of people away from the “cardio only” camps. Not convinced? We found plenty of evidence to support these claims. For example, one recent study revealed that participants lost an average of 12 pounds using resistance or strength training activities as their primary weight loss strategy.
As strength training catches on with a broader audience, more personal trainers are adopting weightlifting and resistance band training as their “go to” strategy to help their clients lose weight as opposed to running or exercise bikes.
Strength Training in Modern Society
Fitness, nutrition, and exercise are in a constant state of flux as new science is applied and new research is put into practice. To get a closer look at the latest trends, we visited the bustling Canary Wharf area on the eastern edge of London to see how a few of the most advanced and forward-thinking fitness centers and exercise boutiques in London are putting new methods of strength training to the test.
The results were impressive. While we did see our share of clanking plates and iron bars being lifted by bodybuilder types, the fitness experts in the Wharf told us that such versions of strength training are long outdated.
Modern strength training exercises still include lifting weights, but it’s rapidly evolving to include resistance bands and exercises that make use of our own body weight to build muscle.
Examples of strength training exercise that can help you lose weight include:
Body weight exercises (pushups, crunches, leg squats)
Resistance band training
One interesting thing we learned about this weight loss strategy is that our bodies can continue torching calories for up to 24 or even 48 hours after our resistance training activities are finished. It’s a burn effect that’s caused by our bodies working so hard to repair the stressed tissues in our muscles.
One distinct advantage that strength training has over cardio when it comes to weight loss is that it doesn’t need to be done in the gym, and it certainly doesn’t require the use of expensive equipment like treadmills or elliptical machines. Strength training can be done in the comfort of your own home or office using the weight of your own body for resistance.
Establishing a Calorie Deficit is Crucial for Weight Loss
Whether you choose cardio or strength training, there is one universal fact when it comes to losing weight on a sustainable basis – if we want to burn off unwanted fat, our bodies must be in a calorie-deficient state. That means consuming fewer calories than our bodies require to function on a consistent basis.
Fitness professionals and nutrition experts often suggest an array of methods that one can adopt to achieve a calorie-deficient state. Those methods include:
Reducing portion sizes
Using calorie deficit enabling apps
Eating more fiber-rich foods
Let’s get down to brass tacks: our bodies require a deficit of 3,500 calories to incinerate a single pound of body fat. Spread that number out over the course of the week and we can lose one pound of fat each week if we burn up 500 more calories per day than we’re currently eating.
Strength Training and Your Metabolism
The answer is “yes” - you can lose weight by building more muscle mass. And that makes strength training an equally if not more effective weight loss strategy than cardio in many cases. Remember, the marquee advantage of doing these strength training workouts while our bodies are in a calorie deficit state is that it helps us build and maintain our muscle mass while burning fat at the same time.
Also, with strength training our bodies will burn extra calories during and after our workouts because of the elevated post-workout metabolic rate that we’ll achieve. Personal trainers and nutrition experts would agree that this will help us achieve our weight loss goals faster, so long as we’re mindful of our diet.
Nutrition | Protein
Though strength training has made tremendous strides in terms of its popularity in helping people lose weight, our chances of success are much greater if we also make nutrition a priority and stick to a healthy, calorie-limited diet.
Make sure your diet includes complex carbohydrates, lean sources of protein, and healthy fats. These are the 3 macronutrients our bodies depend on to build lean muscle. Of the three macronutrients we just mentioned, protein is significantly important in our efforts to burn fat. When we include the proper sources of protein in our diets, we’re providing our bodies with the nutrition that it needs to build and repair those sculpted muscles that we want. Finally, protein also influences our digestive system to make us feel “fuller” or satisfied for a longer amount of time which can be helpful to curb cravings.
Getting Started with Strength Training
If you’re ready to start losing weight by adding strength training routines to your lifestyle, but aren’t sure where to start, there are myriad resources you can find online. However, there was one crucial takeaway from our visit to Canary Wharf: it’s always best to talk with an expert like a personal trainer or fitness professional first. These experts can offer a unique advantage in that they can help their clients avoid common mistakes when trying to lose weight with strength training for the first time. That can equate to faster results.
A simple search of “PT near me” will no doubt yield an array of options to get you started in the right direction. Remember to always consider the posted reviews.