Contents of article
2. Benefits of resistance training
3. Why resistance training is essential when trying to reduce body fat
This short article aims to highlight the importance of resistance training and why it should be included in your day to day lifestyle. This is specifically for those that are looking to reduce body fat and keep off the weight long term, creating a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. I will try to keep to the point of how resistance training will benefit fat loss, as the topic of resistance training is quite vast and there are many points to consider in this area.
Benefits of Resistance Training
It is well known that resistance training has many benefits, although some of you may think that as soon as you pick up a weight and start lifting you are immediately going to start putting on 'size'. This is most certainly not the case and much of the scientific literature suggests that it can take up to 8 weeks to start actually gaining muscle mass. Some of the benefits of resistance training were highlighted in one of our Instagram posts a couple of months back some of these include...
Increases in lean body mass (fat free body mass)
Reductions in body fat
Beneficial to mental health
Increases basal metabolic rate (key for weight loss)
Improves cardiovascular health
Improves sleep quality
Slows down the ageing process
Improves cognitive function
Improves everyday functionality
I could write an individual article on each one of these benefits of resistance training, however I want to stay on the topic of how resistance training is beneficial for fat loss. So...
Why is resistance training beneficial for fat loss?
The most important point to make here is that human muscle tissue naturally is highly energy consuming, but what does that mean? After a cycle of resistance training (6-8 weeks) you will see some muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth), with more muscle mass you will see an increase in your basal metabolic rate. Basal metabolic rate is how much energy you would use spending a full day in bed not doing anything. By increasing your basal metabolic rate you will be 'burning' through more calories per day, and with a sustainable diet this will easily result in long term weight loss with progressive resistance training.
Another point to consider is that you may not see actual decreases in your overall body weight on the scales but visually you will look slimmer or leaner after a cycle of resistance training. Body fat will be replaced with lean muscle leading to that 'toned' look, however due to muscle tissue being more dense than fat mass, your body weight may not change or even increase slightly. This is why it is important to use other methods (not just your weighing scales) to track changes in body composition. This could be through the use of skin-folds, body part circumferences and many other methods.
The last point I want to make on why resistance training is essential for fat loss is when compared to 1-hour plodding along on the treadmill resistance training would probably burn around the same if not more calories in that 1-hour period. Surely, you would enjoy a variety of exercises that challenge your body functionally through resistance training than hours on end of low intensity CV work? The great thing about implementing resistance training is that it leads to long term fat loss.
I'm a huge advocate for resistance training as it has such a wide array of benefits that come with it. We need to get over the stigma that resistance training is for those that want to walk around looking jacked up on steroids as this is certainly not the case. Resistance training should be staple in everybody's day to day lifestyle, as it doesn't just have benefits on how you look but also your body functionality as well. Resistance training is used in pretty much every sport out there in injury reduction and to improve performance, so why can this not be applied in the general population for the exact same reasons?
This is what we here at North West Training Zone specialize in. If you want to improve your lifestyle, or need help reaching your fitness goals feel free to get in touch with us. We are happy to help anyway we can.