Hi, this is a subject I feel passionate about primarily because it worked so well for me. I wrote a blog article about it this week, but I'll just copy the contents here.
Strength training isn't just for bodybuilders. It can be an effective part of anyone's weight loss efforts, whether you are a man or woman, whether you are 21 or 95. Through strength training, you can turn your body into a lean fat-burning machine.
One big thing that I learned during my 75 pound weight loss journey is the important role that strength training can play in the process. From day one I incorporated some strength and cardio workouts and I was able to consistently lose 1-2 pounds per week. And I wasn't just getting thinner, I was getting stronger. And because of the strength training, I was able to build and preserve muscle to achieve a respectable 12% body fat. And it came with its own secret weapon - I was able to eat more, feel less hungry, and burn more calories even when I was sedentary.
The following 7 points are ways that strength training actually improves the weight loss process more than just cardio or dieting alone. Some are interrelated, but all are important to know for anyone who wants to lose weight.
Elevated metabolism - studies show that a well-designed strength program can elevate your metabolism for up to 38 hours after the workout. In other words, you continue to burn calories long after strength training. Whereas once you stop cardio, the calorie burning stops as well. (source: bodybuilding.com)
Burn more calories - for every three pounds of muscle you gain, you can expect to burn an extra 120 calories a day without moving a single one of those muscles. (source: Women's Health Magazine)
Burn fat longer - aerobic activity burns fat while you’re exercising, but anaerobic (meaning without oxygen) activity burns fat in the minutes, hours and days following exercise, as your body recovers from your workout. Compare the energy costs of the two activities during a workout session, as many studies have done in the past, and aerobic activity appears to burn more fat, which may explain why many health and fitness professionals still recommend it. But if you add up the fat burned by the two activities during and after exercise — including what’s burned between sets during the workout itself — anaerobic activity comes out ahead. Way ahead. (source: Experience Life)
Improved hormone response - regular, intense resistance training can have a dramatic effect on your endocrine (or hormonal) system, which manages energy, mood and other components of well-being. Hormones also regulate your body’s immediate and long-term responses to strength training, so they not only help you burn fat and build muscle directly after a workout, but they also make you a more efficient fat-burning, muscle-building machine, 24/7. (source: Experience Life)
Feel less hungry - if you drop weight using solely cardio routines, you are going to find yourself having to eat like a bird just to maintain that weight. It will be a struggle and you are setting yourself up for anguish in the form of yo-yo dieting and feeling like you are starving all of the time. If you use weight training you are going to have to worry much less about having to go hungry, because your body will actually literally need those calories (that you are hopefully consuming from clean, healthy, smart food choices). (source: Fitness Blender)
More attractive body composition - the less muscle you have, the more prone you are to look skinny fat at lower percentages of body fat. An extremely under-muscled guy at 15% body fat can look skinny fat whereas a musclebound guy at the same level of body fat can look downright intimidating. (source: Legion Athletics). Many individuals who just hop on the treadmill to lose the pounds don’t end up looking much different — even if they do successfully lose 10 to 20 pounds. This is because they still have the same proportion of muscle mass to body fat; they are just "smaller." Weight training will help change the way you look completely, giving the impression that you’ve replaced fat with muscle and are actually working at improving your body and changing your body composition. (source: AskMen.com)
Lose fat without eating less - according to the National Center for Health Statistics, a mere 21 percent of women strength train two or more times a week. What you don't know: When you skip the weight room, you lose out on the ultimate flab melter. Those two sessions a week can reduce overall body fat by about 3 percentage points in just 10 weeks, even if you don't cut a single calorie. That translates to as much as three inches total off your waist and hips. (source: Women's Health)
There, now that you know the secret, go make it happen!
If you'd like to explore the links to the sources, or to see my additional related posts, see the original article here.