A common misconception amongst many gym-goers is that by participating in a regular resistance training regime, one will quickly bulk up and become bigger than they currently are - they couldn't be more wrong! While all bodybuilders will incorporate weights sessions into their training programs, it is the nutritional side of their process that creates increased amounts of bulk and mass, not necessarily the training itself. If your eating is on point, resistance training can be used as an effective and efficient tool to burn fat and create a perfectly sculpted body.
To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you eat, commonly known as living in a calorie deficit. Being in this state for an extended period of time will force your body to start breaking down its own tissues for fuel, decreasing your total body mass and therefore causing the number on the scales to go down. What the scales don't account for however is the type of tissue being burned; just because your weight is decreasing doesn't mean you are only burning fat. For all you know your body is utilizing too much muscle compared to fat, meaning your resting metabolism is going to slow down and you will find it very tough creating your ideal body.
It has been shown that in conjunction with a proper diet, anaerobic exercise (exercise without oxygen - including resistance training) burns fat much more efficiently compared to aerobic exercise (exercise with oxygen). The reason for this is that during aerobic exercise, your body will burn calories throughout the duration of the session, however fat burning will stop after completion. Anaerobic exercise on the other hand causes your body to burn fat throughout the session, and then continues this fat burning process for up to several hours after. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. Simply put, your body is forced to use more oxygen post anaerobic workouts and therefore burn through more calories as your metabolism is elevated. The added benefit of anaerobic exercise is that it retains and grows lean muscle, while extended periods of aerobic training can actually start to break muscle down and use it as an energy source.
So why is the development of lean muscle important? Firstly, it looks great. Secondly, the more lean muscle you have, the faster your resting metabolism is going to fire. Your resting metabolism is the amount of energy you use in a relaxed state. Whether it be by breathing, typing on the computer, standing up or sitting down - your body is constantly burning through energy. While each individual movement may not create a significant imprint on your weight loss journey, they add up quickly. The amount of energy you consume through your resting metabolism can differ depending on various factors, the most significant one being lean muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the harder your body has to work to sustain movement. This means that by increasing your lean muscle mass, your body will have to work at a higher intensity every day, resulting in more energy (including fat) being consumed just by performing everyday tasks.
Not only does resistance training have positive effects on weight loss, it also is vital for many other health reasons. Some of these include improved posture, joint and bone strength, sexual health, hormone development, decreased risk of cardiovascular issues, and many others.
It is important to note that the incorrect execution of resistance training exercises can lead to tears, strains, fractures, brakes, and many other painful injuries. That is why it is important that if you have minimal experience in weights training, you seek the advice of a health professional before commencing a resistance training regime.
At the end of the day, it is important to incorporate resistance training, anaerobic cardio, and aerobic cardio into your training. A long with a balanced diet, you will prevent increased bulk or mass development, and will be able to achieve your goal effectively and efficiently!
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.