resistance training for weight loss

From whatever angle you may want to look at the plethora of quick weight loss fixes flying all over the place, the truth remains that healthy dieting and exercising remain the surest way to long term weight loss.

However, while both are very important to losing weight, of the two, certain concepts about exercising have over the years been somewhat misleading. In particular, there has been this general view that cardiovascular exercises such as aerobics, jogging, swimming, treadmills or biking were the quickest and most effective ways of shedding unwanted body weight. With new information available today, there is however a quicker, proven, and effective way to lose weight – the use of resistance training. Let’s take a look at why this is so.

While the fact remains that your ability to lose weight depend on several factors, the truth remains that the most important factor of all which drastically impacts your weight loss effort is nothing more than your basal metabolic rate (BMR) – also known as your resting metabolic rate (RMR).

BMR is the total sum of energy that your body requires to maintain its vital functions such your heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and even your body temperature while the body is at rest. This BMR energy takes up about 50-80 of your total daily energy consumption – automatically making it the biggest contributor to your overall metabolic rate and thus your weight loss.

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Likewise, the biggest contributor to your BMR is the amount of total fat-free mass (or muscle) – lean body mass – you have on your body. Equally of interest here is the fact that developing lean muscles is mostly achieved through resistance training by making use of resistance bands, free weights, or machines.

Resistance training, or weight training, therefore increases your metabolism and thus fat burning capability like no other form of physical exercise as it continuous to burn fat for about 24 hours after ending your workout session.

It is something more like this:

Resistance Training = More Lean Body Mass = Higher BMR = Faster Fat Burning

There are basically three ways in which resistance training can affect your overall metabolism and these are: (a) the workout session itself; (b) the post-exercise oxygen consumption period after exercising; and (c) the addition of extra muscle mass.

The Workout session

The body’s muscles generally require energy when contracting under heavy loads and also produce heat as a by-product of the muscular contraction. The amount of muscle mass and the level of resistance employed during the workout will largely determine the increase in the metabolism.

Thus it would be safe to state that the amount of calorie expended during resistance training is a function of the amount of total weight lifted – thus increased load equals higher metabolic rate which leads to greater calorie expenditure.

The Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)

Recent studies by the Colorado State University suggest that strenuous resistance training can increase metabolic rate for extended periods and that this is mostly influenced by the oxidation of body fat.

Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) is the amount of oxygen required by your body to recover from the muscular strain of the resistance training. This extra oxygen is what is used by the body to replenish its stock of intramuscular glycogen (mixture of glucose ad water) and also repair the micro-tears sustained by your muscles while exercising. This is where the power of resistance training really resides as this process can go on for more than 24 hours after exercising.

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Also, resistance training generally makes use of carbohydrates and the more carbohydrates consumed during the workout session, the more oxidation of fat that will take place after exercising to meet the increased energy demand for muscle repairs. Generally, the intensity of the exercise is almost directly proportional to the amount of fat that will be burned during the recovery period.

However, other factors such as the amount of energy expended during exercising; increases in body temperature, breathing, and heart rate; as well as muscle and blood oxygen stores restoration affects your post-workout oxygen consumption.

The Additional New Muscle Mass

Studies have confirmed that one pound of lean muscle burn about 30-50 calories each day while at rest and about 50-100 calories per day to function. While this may seem insignificant, adding about three to five pounds of muscle mass can however drastically increase your BMR.

Resistance training is arguably the best known method to effectively develop new muscle mass. The new muscle mass affects your metabolism basically because basal metabolic rate is increased due to the extra lean muscle and there is also a corresponding increase in post-exercise oxygen consumption.

Obviously, using cardiovascular exercise alone for your weight loss effort will not take you very far. To achieve the best results with your weight loss efforts it is therefore important to incorporate resistance training as an essential component of your workout.

The results will be an almost instant increase in your lean body mass, which increases your BMR and since your BMR accounts for about 50-80 per cent of your overall daily calorie consumption, you can expect a significant increase in your fat burning capability.