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How Strength Training Can Boost Weight Loss

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How Strength Training Can Boost Weight Loss

Strength training, also known as resistance training, is exercise where you’re working out your muscles to help make them stronger with more endurance capability. Often, strength training involves lifting weights to exercise the muscles, such as during our Strength Plan. But it can also involve working out against our own body weight, such as when we perform squats or lunges as part of our OYG plan. 

Either way, strength training involves using resistance against our muscles to push them to work harder, and to become bigger and stronger. This is in contrast to aerobic training such as jogging or cycling, which helps us build aerobic fitness as well as burn fat. 

So, can strength training also help us burn fat and lose weight? Or is that just down to aerobic training alone?

Yes, it can! Strength training helps us to become leaner and fitter due to extra muscle, but there’s a two pronged benefit to strength training – it most certainly helps us burn fat and lose weight too! 

Here’s how…

Any kind of exercise gets our heart pumping faster which in turn helps to improve our metabolism, or, the rate at which we burn calories. Aerobic exercise is excellent at this. But strength training is also excellent at burning calories – the more resistance we’re adding, the quicker the rate of burn, so the heavier the weight (at a safe level), the faster we’re training or the shorter the rest between reps. 

The more intense the workout, the greater our need for fuel and therefore the greater the demand for calories and the rate at which they get burnt. Which equals weight loss. 

Also, there’s the afterburn. No, not the pain we feel in our muscles, but the calories burned even after we’ve finished our strength training. The harder we work out, the more calories we’ll burn as we’re recovering. 

Now let’s consider the effects of the extra muscle fibres we build each time we do a strength training workout. The more muscle we have, the higher our basal metabolic rate, or BMR. Our BMR is a measure of how many calories we burn when we’re completely at rest without having exercised.

The more muscle we have, the higher our BMR. Or in other words, the more muscle we have, the more it works for us, burning calories, even on a rest day! 

We can also view this in terms of our metabolism, or metabolic demand. If we spend an entire day on the sofa watching TV (and there’s nothing wrong in that every now and again!) then 1kg of fat doesn’t require much help in terms of energy (read: calories) to get by all day. 

A kilo of muscle on the other hand is quite demanding and requires more by the way of calories to keep it happy all day. So just by sitting around, our muscle is working hard for us burning calories without us even realising.

So let’s hear it for our hard working, metabolically busy muscle, and let’s help it out by strength training to build more and burn even more calories! 

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