top of page
  • Writer's pictureJackie

Trying to Lose Weight? Strength Train.

Most people don’t think of strength training when they attempt to lose weight. In fact, a myth persists that it works against weight loss. But if you’re trying to drop pounds and you’re avoiding strengthening exercises, you’re missing an enormous opportunity to both further weight loss and improve health.

Here’s why. Strength training...

• Builds metabolically active tissue—At rest, any muscle tissue you’re carrying on your frame will burn slightly more calories than fat tissue. Estimates vary but are consistently higher for muscle, so, if you’re muscular, even a slight daily calorie bump will add up over time, aiding you in your weight loss goal.

• Burns calories in & of itself—Most of us do cardio to burn calories, and that’s a crucial tactic in weight loss. Did you know, though, that people who lose and keep weight off are very physically active in addition to exercising regularly? 90% of members in the National Weight Control Registry report exercising for an hour per day. Rather than adding more walking or gardening, consider doing a few bouts of strength training per week. Perform pairs or circuits of exercises and you’ll further elevate heart rate and the resulting calorie burn.

• Allows you to retain muscle and bone density as you lose—One of the huge flaws in fad dieting is the fact that very speedy weight loss can eat up muscle. (Web MD/ European Congress on Obesity, 5/14) And when muscle diminishes, so does bone density. Strength training and losing pounds at a moderate pace (no more than 1-2 lbs/wk) lowers this likelihood.

• Helps to alleviate health conditions associated with overweight—Research on strength training consistently shows that it lowers risk of and can even help to to reverse type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and obesity. So, while you’re gradually losing, you can, via exercise, simultaneously work to safeguard against developing these serious health problems.

• Changes the shape of your physique—After a couple of months of regular strength training, even if people haven’t lost a vast amount of weight, most notice a change in how their clothes fit. No exercise “spot reduces” sections of the body, but weightlifting does chisel and sculpt your appearance by tightening and reshaping them.

• Relieves stress—Over the past few years, studies have shown a link between resistance training and lowered anxiety. Attempting to lose weight, day in and out, is stressful for most people, especially combined with the regular challenges of daily life, so this benefit of training should be a don’t-miss.

• Improves self-image—A number of studies have culled out the fact that, when people strength train, they feel better about themselves. This is especially true for women, notably college-aged females who often struggle most with body image. (Research indicates that body image in midlife and older women also improves with strength training.) Sadly, obesity dramatically contributes to poor body image. Resistance training can potentially bump up self-regard under this difficult state.

Losing weight, as most of us know on a personal level and researchers know from studies, proves to be doggedly difficult. Why omit a habit, such as strength training, when it would help immensely?

Do you strength train? What have you noticed about its impact on YOUR health, weight, body image, attitude, or other life factors? Share your experiences in the comment section.


bottom of page