When most people think of losing body fat with exercise they think of lots of low-intensity, long-duration endurance type exercise (walking on the treadmill, using the elliptical trainer, stationary bike, etc.). And, I am guessing, they would think that lifting heavy weights would be the last thing that they wanted to do. Developing great strength would not even be considered. But, that is exactly what I want you to consider....how getting strong will help you lose fat. Here are five reasons why you should continue (or start) strength training to help lose body fat:
- Increased Capacity to do Work: The stronger you are, the more work you can do. Exercise is work. The more exercise you can do and at a higher intensity,the more calories you will expend.
- Decreased Risk of Injury: From my experience, endurance exercise causes more injuries than strength training (especially when strength training is performed correctly). Now, these endurance exercise injuries (such as pattella tendon tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, petella-femoral syndrome, and sacrailliac joint pain just to name a few) are usually not devastating, but enough to keep you from exercising for a while. Endurance training requires a level of muscular strength to absorb the ground-reaction forces. If the muscles can't handle these forces, the passive tissues (ligaments, cartilage, and bones) will end up absorbing these forces. Over time, the microtrauma can accumulate. This is why runners need to strength train.
- Strength Training Burns Calories: Strength training regularly burns a significant amount of calories during and after your workout. This 'afterburn' effect may last up to 48 hours.
- Strength Training Will Raise Your Resting Metabolism: As you build muscle, you are also raising your resting metabolic rate (how many calories your body burns at rest). Five pounds of muscle will raise your resting metabolic rate by ~50 Calories per day, or 18,250 Calories a year. Without strength training, males and females will steadily lose muscle mass (and decrease their resting metabolic rate) every year after the age 30.
- You May Actually Like it Better Than Endurance Exercise: You don't know until you try it! Many people get bored easily with endurance exercise. Strength training allows you to use your entire body, focus on a specific task, work intermittently, perform a variety of movements, and quickly see your progress.