Everyone knows that a healthy diet and regular exercise is the key to losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle. However, there are countless ways that this rule can be interpreted. For example, some people choose to follow strict low-carb or paleo diets while others count calories or consume meal replacement shakes in an attempt to lose weight.
While there are countless ways to define “a healthy diet,” there are just as many ways to define “regular exercise.” The American heart association calls for 150 minutes of exercise each week. For most people, this means five 30 minute sessions each week. These workouts can include anything from taking a Zumba class to walking your dog around the neighborhood. However, we are here to tell you that you should consider adding weight training to your weekly routine.
Many people shy away from weight training at first. It seems too intense, they fear burnout or injury, or they are intimidated by the more experienced gym goers. Other people are worried that they will bulk up too much and actually end up gaining weight. That last one is a common fear, but it is often unfounded. In fact, a well-designed weight lifting program will actually help you lose weight and inches. If you are like most people, you are more concerned about the inches than the pounds. Weight lifting will help you tone up and shed inches, making you look better than ever. Throw away the scale and hit the weights.
If you are not yet convinced that weight training is right for you, consider these four reasons that you should add weight training to your workout routine.
Reason #1: You will lose more fat.
Many people think that marathon cardio sessions at the gym is the key to shedding their extra pounds. However, a combination of weight lifting and cardio has actually been shown to burn 40% more body fat than cardio alone. Those that only participate in aerobic activities will lose weight, but they will most likely lose a combination of muscle tissue and fat – typically 75% fat and 25% muscle. Those that combine weight training and cardio workouts will lose the fat without also looking at the muscle. This means that you will lose the pounds, lose the inches, and look more toned than you ever thought possible.
Reason #2: Weightlifting builds muscle.
While your primary fitness goal might be to become a healthier version of yourself, everyone wants to look and feel their best. Having more muscle tissue means looking more toned and all the experts will agree that weight lifting is the best way to develop lean muscle tissue.
Weight lifting can also counteract some of the effects of aging. Many people lose about 10% of their muscle mass between the ages of 30 and 50. In most cases, this muscle mass is replaced by fat tissue, causing your waistline to expand and your clothes to become tighter. Weight training can help you to maintain your existing muscle tissue while also increasing your strength and encouraging muscle growth.
Reason #3: Your base metabolic rate will increase.
Weightlifting builds lean muscle that will boost your base metabolic rate, meaning that you will burn more calories throughout the day, not just when you are working out. Unlike fat cells, muscle tissue burns calories simply by existing.
Your weight training sessions will also help you burn more calories. A typical weight training circuit burns as many calories as running at a 10 mile per hour pace. This means that a 30-minute weight lifting session will burn the same number of calories as a 5 mile run at a 10 mile per hour pace. If this does not convince you to try lifting weights, consider some of the mental effects weight training can have on your body.
Reason #4: Your stress levels will decrease.
Studies have shown that fit people handle stress better than their out of shape counterparts. This is because the fittest people have the lowest levels of cortisol and other stress hormones. These people also regulate their blood pressure better than others. It is normal for blood pressure to spike during a stressful situation, but studies have found that those with the most muscle tissue will see their blood pressure return to normal much more quickly than those with the least muscle tissue.
Weight training has been shown to increase health, increase muscle mass, and improve your overall mood. To learn more about how you can become a happier, healthier version of yourself, browse our website or sign up for our email list today.