One of the biggest misconceptions of strength training is that it’s just for bulking up. If you’re a bodybuilder who trains with heavy weights and consumes a lot of calories, that may be true. However, strength training actually is for everyone – not just body builders. Best of all, strength training provides several incredible benefits, including weight loss.
While cardio workouts receive the most attention as the “go-to” weight loss solution, strength training programs are actually more effective. In the following article, we’ll highlight some of the key ways strength training improves weight loss.
Strength Training Builds Muscle
The foundation for weight loss is decreasing calorie intake. When we consume fewer calories, we lose weight. However, if we consume fewer calories than our bodies burn, our bodies start to look for other ways to fill that void. Body fat is one of the first places the body looks to replace missing calories.
Unfortunately, fat is not the only resource our bodies turn to for energy. They also focus on our muscles, too. Muscle loss due to a calorie deficit not only affects our strength and stamina, it also slows down our metabolism. When that happens, we burn fewer calories which makes it more difficult to lose weight and easier to gain it.
While a healthy diet focused on proper calorie consumption and portion control is key to weight loss, so is maintaining muscle. Strength training not only prevents muscle loss during a calorie deficit, it also helps build new muscles, too. This is necessary for healthy weight loss since preserving and strengthening muscles increases metabolism to burn more calories than body fat.
Strength Training Burns More Calories Than Cardio
As we mentioned above, strength training maintains and builds muscles which burn more calories than fat. Yet, the calorie burning benefits do not end when the workout ends.
Muscles burn calories even when at rest. They also add to the calorie burn while exercising. Since exercise requires more energy than resting, muscles team up with their friend oxygen to break down fat and carbs for fuel. When we exercise, our oxygen consumption increases which causes our hearts to send more energy (oxygen, fat and carbs) to the areas that require it the most: our muscles.
Yet, increased oxygen intake doesn’t end when the workout ends. Our breathing and oxygen intake remain elevated. This is how our bodies restore our tired muscles to their pre-workout state. The more oxygen we consume after a workout, the more fat and carbs our bodies break down and send to repair our stressed muscles. This process is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), but it’s more commonly called the “afterburn effect.”
While cardio workouts can also burn calories, reduce body fat mass and contribute to weight loss, they don’t produce that same high afterburn effect that strength training does. Essentially, cardio burns calories during the workout – but not after it.
Since strength training increases EPOC and gives muscles a more rigorous workout than cardio, its calorie burning benefits extend beyond the workout. To restore muscles to their pre-strength training workout condition, bodies may continue to burn calories for an additional 24 hours after the workout ends.
Strength Training Provides Additional Health Benefits
In addition to improving weight loss, strength training also provides an array of other health benefits, including:
- Reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoporosis, and depression
- Improved mobility and posture
- Increased bone density
- Decreased cholesterol
- Better sleep
Clearly strength training is more than just “something that bodybuilders do.” Strength training is for everyone and anyone – regardless of age and capabilities. Are you ready to improve your weight loss and enjoy the many other benefits of strength training?
If so, Loyalty Fitness is ready to help! Our team of dedicated certified trainers will work closely with you to achieve your weight loss goals and enjoy long-term weight control, too.
If you have any questions about the benefits of strength training for weight loss, please contact us today!