We know that nutrition is key to losing and maintaining a healthy weight. If your diet is trash or you’re eating too much, then no matter how hard you exercise, you’re simply not going to lose the pounds. However, to achieve optimum weight loss results, you need to add exercise into the mix. (You also need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. But this is a subject for another day.)
So, does this mean you need to spend hours pounding on the treadmill or spinning? Not likely. You’re likely to see better results if you also include some weight training into your weekly workout routine. In a 2015 Harvard School of Public Health study of 10,500 adults, people who strength trained for 20 minutes a day gained less belly fat over a period of 12 years compared to cardio bunnies.
MUSCLES BURN MORE CALORIES
It’s really pretty simple. Weight training builds muscle, and muscle burns more calories than fat—up to three times more, according to some estimates. So, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’re going to burn.
What’s more, the calorie burn doesn’t end after you leave the gym after an intense weight training session either. Your body continues to torch calories for the next 24 to 48 hours as it works to repair stressed muscle tissues. This is known as the afterburn effect, another name for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). The more oxygen you use both during and after a workout, the greater the EPOC. Studies show strength training is one of the best ways to achieve a higher EPOC.
By incorporating weight training in your mission to lose weight, you’re revving up your calorie burn. You’re also boosting your metabolism. Since you’re now already watching what you eat, your exercise routine is working with your diet to help you shed unwanted weight.
WEIGHT TRAINING HELPS KEEP THE WEIGHT OFF
Not only can weight training, coupled with a sensible diet, help shed weight, but it helps keep the weight off, too. A study found that less than an hour and a half each week of resistance training helped keep dieters from gaining back weight, and especially harmful belly fat.
WEIGHT TRAINING KEEPS US STRONG AND YOUNG
Weight training improves your posture, helps your endurance, builds strength and reduces your chance of injuries. Research shows it can also boost heart health, improve cholesterol and increase bone density. It also helps slow the inevitable strength decline as we age by basically keeping our muscles from turning to mush (and being replaced with fat) as we get older.
DON’T RETIRE YOUR RUNNING SHOES THOUGH!
This doesn’t mean that you should retire your running shoes, especially if you’re a stress eater (like me!). Cardio still burns loads of calories, strengthens the heart and lungs, and is one of the best ways to manage stress, a waistline-wrecker all by itself.
The best solution? A fitness routine that includes both cardio and strength training.
(RELATED POST: A 30-minute full body workout with weights)
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