Quiz time. What’s more important for losing weight. Diet, or exercise?
The answer (as with so many things) is not clear-cut. But one thing we do know is that diet alone is NOT optimal if fat loss is your goal.
If you want to lose weight, shape up, drop a few dress sizes, and look incredible, resistance training has to be part of the equation. Here’s why.
Weight Loss Or Fat Loss?
Fat loss is not necessarily the same as weight loss. After all, you could lose weight according to your bathroom scales by chopping off a limb, or being severely dehydrated.
Most people want to look better and be healthier. That comes from fat loss (not just weight loss).
Fat loss is a result of a calorie deficit.
But resistance training plays a key role in shaping the muscle, toning the body, and reducing fat stores.
A fat loss strategy involving diet and cardio will result in a very different “look” to one combining diet, cardio, and strength training.
Resistance Training For Fat Loss
Resistance training is any kind of weight training exercise done with bodyweight, dumbbells, kettlebells, bands, barbells and so on.
It’s typically seen as a way to increased strength and muscle mass. But it has a huge impact on the rate at which your body burns fat, too.
5 Ways Strength Training Burns More Fat
- Higher metabolic rate
- Burn more calories at rest
- Diet on higher calories
- Burn calories after exercise
- Keep weight off in later life
Increase Your BMR
The more muscle you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate.
This means you will burn more calories (even at rest). By adding a little extra muscle tissue through resistance training, you will increase your BMR so you can either lose more weight, or lose weight on slightly higher calories. (1)
This is particularly important when we consider that our caloric needs decrease as we get lighter through dieting.
Keep your BMR higher by combining diet and resistance training, and you’ll avoid the spiral of lowering calories to continue losing weight.
Keep The Weight Off
Resistance training can help you control your weight in the long term, too, because muscle size is a key factor in your daily calorie burn.
Resting metabolic rate accounts for up to 75% of total calorie expenditure.
So the more efficient your body is at burning calories at rest, the more energy you will expend even on inactive days. (2)
EPOC – The “After Burn” Effect
When we exercise, our muscles need energy – and they take this from fat and carbohydrate which is stores in muscle, liver, and fat tissue.
This continues after exercise as a way to restore hard-working muscles to their normal resting start.
This is called EPOC – excess post-exercise oxygen consumption – and is highest after exercise that uses large muscle groups.
Make sure your fat-loss workout programme includes HIIT and resistance training to make the most of the EPOC effect.
Counteract Age-Related Muscle loss
Did you know that we naturally lose muscle tissue at a rate of 3-8% per decade after the age of 30?
Doing regular resistance training can offset this, which will have a noticeable impact on your metabolic rate, calorie burn, and ability to lose fat in later life.
It’s never too early to start thinking about how your body will age – and it’s really important to strength train as you get older. (3)
The Best Forms Of Resistance Training For Fat Loss
Any exercise that places your muscles under resistance will help.
Choose something you enjoy, so you know you will do it!
Barbells and dumbbells – the classic form of strength training that is certainly not just for bodybuilders and big guys!
Bodyweight training – ideal for small workout spaces and for introducing some variety to your training
Kettlebell workouts – a fun way to spice up your workouts with HIIT and strength training combined
Functional fitness training – using sandbags, battle ropes, tyres and other outdoor functional equipment
Calisthenics – the classic bodyweight style of training that combines strength and gymnastics for an all-over workout
Yoga and Pilates – both place your body under plenty of resistance and can be a useful way to target under-used muscles of the upper body and core
If the idea of resistance training is new to you, but you like the idea of burning more fat and being in great shape as you get older, drop me a line.
I help people like you find an exercise routine they love.
‘The number one rated Personal Trainer In Henley and Oxfordshire’
Links to studies mentioned in today’s blog: