Over the years, we've all be told that in order to lose weight and burn the maximum amount of fat, you had to spend 40 minutes everyday on the treadmill, exercise bike, or elliptical trainer.
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This mantra has been around for as long as I've been weight training and that's over 20 years.
Well, I'm not going to lie to you all, it works. If you spend 30 to 40 minutes per day on an exercise apparatus, apply the necessary effort to expend those calories and follow a healthy, calorie conscious diet, your going to lose weight, and fat, and bone density, and probably muscle mass. Ooops, did I just say muscle mass?
Yeah, I said muscle mass. You see, over the years, fitness experts and weight loss experts have preached that the one and only way to lose weight was to do lots and lots of aerobic exercises.
They all preached that in order to lose weight, you didn't need to do an weight training at all. In fact I remember one fitness expert who said that you shouldn't weight train because you might actually gain weight. I still shake my head.
My sister, who really wants to lose weight, went to a place called Herbal Magic and had a consultation with them. After she talked with those folks, I called her up and asked what they said. She said that in order for her to lose weight, all she had to do was follow their eating schedule, take their herbal supplements and check in with them once a week. I asked her if they recommended an exercise regiment and she said they didn't recommend it. I couldn't believe it! What nonsense was this all about?
Ok, I don't believe in places like Herbal Magic because for one, they charge you an outrageous amount of money for their supplements, which they say you must take in order to lose weight and two, they don't recommend any physical exercise. However, with that being said, this program will work. Yes, I know, it sounds like I'm contradicting myself but the fact of the matter remains that if you consume less calories than your body needs to sustain it's normal body weight, you're going to lose weight. It's a basic law of body physics.
Here's the catch. If you don't care where that weight comes from, than these programs are for you. You see, what's going to happen is that your going to lose body weight, body fat, bone density, and muscle mass. This is what I like to call...
"The Pear Effect”
Naturally, some people are shaped like pears. So, let’s say your shaped like a pear and your overweight and desperately want to lose weight. Let’s say you go on a program like Herbal Magic and over time, you lose most of that unwanted weight. So, after 4 months or so, you’ve lost the unwanted weight. First off, I’m going to say that it’s great that you’ve lost the weight but there’s one small catch. You basically started off with a large pear shaped body and now you’ve simply shrunk that into a smaller pear shaped body. Your body has lost fat, bone density, and muscle mass.
Your body will more than likely still be flabby because there is still no muscle mass, in fact you’ve probably shrunk your existing muscle mass. Hence, the same pear but only smaller.
Now, let’s take that same person and keep them on the same diet, and get them to do a rigorous 4 month weight training program. What’s going to happen? Well, the first thing your going to see is much faster fat loss. That’s right, that same person will lose much more body fat in the same time period. This same person will gradually get stronger and tone their existing muscle base. They are in fact, turning on their little fat burning machines (muscle fibres) to work like they should be working.
In fact, I've read in the book by Miriam Nelson called "Strong Women Stay Slim", that there was a study done on a group of women who followed a weight loss and weight training program. In that study, the control group, women who only dieted were compared to women who also dieted but followed a weight training routine. The results were quite amazing. The women who followed the weight trainig routine, lost a mind blowing 44 percent more body fat.
This is the magic of weight training and weight loss.
Muscle is a very active tissue whereas fat is not. Muscle is always working, even when your not doing anything, it’s active even when you’re sleeping. Muscle is constantly using up calories in order to produce heat, which is part of your resting metabolic rate. The more muscle activity you have going on inside your body, the higher your metabolic rate is going to be. By improving your resting metabolic rate, the more of a thermal effect your body will have on burning fat. For those of you who are looking to burn maximum amounts of fat, this is what you want. This is where a solid weight training program can help.
How does weight training help burn more fat? The first part of the equation is the actual exercise. Weight training uses up a huge amount of calories just by performing the exercises. And, depending on what exercises you choose to do, it will determine how much calories you burn. For example, doing leg extensions will burn a certain amount of calories after completion of the exercise. However, doing squats will almost double the amount of calories you burn after completing the exercise. Why? Squats are a heck of a lot harder to do and require more work to complete the exercise and hence, more calories are burned.
The second part of the equation depends on muscle repair. Have you ever done some sort of activity and the morning after, your muscles are sore? Well, it’s at this stage that your body is using up energy (calories) to repair the muscles. Even after you’ve completed your weight training session, your body is still expending calories to repair the muscles to get them ready for the next weight training session.
The third part of the equation is actual muscle growth. As you continue with your weight training program, your muscles will get stronger and will grow. This is a good thing because over time, your body will require more energy to help maintain your new muscles. This helps improve your resting metabolic rate. What does this actually mean? It means that your body will require more calories to keep your muscle base moving. Even while your sleeping, your body will be burning more calories than ever before.
Let’s go through the process. First, you go to the gym and do a workout. You burn a certain amount of calories just to do the exercises. As soon as you’ve hit the showers, your body goes into recovery mode by looking for glucose (fast acting carbohydrates), and protein in order to start feeding your muscles. By going into recovery mode, your body start to burn up calories. It will keep doing this until your muscles are fully recovered, which can take anywhere from 48 to 72 hours (Maybe more, maybe less depending on your exercise intensity). So, you wake up the next morning and your muscles are very sore. This is good because you know your body is using up calories to help repair your muscle tissue.
After this initial recovery process is completed, your body must now expend even more energy because your muscles have become stronger. As your muscles grow, so does the amount of calories your body will expend. There’s a direct relationship there. This cycle continues for as long as you keep hitting the weights and improving from workout to workout.
This is how weight training really helps to burn maximum amounts of body fat. As you continue to improve in your weight training program, your body will slowly start to turn into a 24 hour fat burning machine.
Your metabolism will determine how your body burns calories when you are resting. On average, people will use about 65% of their calories for their resting metabolic rate. Imagine incorporating weight training into your normal routine and how this can help boost this percentage up and burn ever more calories.
A study done by R. Pratley, B. Nicklas, M. Rubin, J. Miller, A. Smith, M. Smith, B. Hurley, and A. Goldberg entitled:
Revealed some very interesting results. The study measured the resting metabolic rates of 13 healthy men, aged 50 to 65 years of age before and after a 16 week heavy resistance program. Average strength levels were assessed using a 3 repetition maximum test before and after the completion of the program. Body weight did not change but get this, body fat levels actually decreased while fat free mass increased. Fat free mass being lean tissue such as muscle. Strength levels also increased while resting metabolic rate improved as much as 7.7%.
The study concluded that:
"These results indicate that a heavy-resistance strength-training program increases RMR in healthy older men, perhaps by increasing FFM and sympathetic nervous system activity."
This is very interesting in so far that it looks at the relationship between resistance training and fat loss.
One of the great things about weight training and weight loss is the fact that most people who lose the weight while weight training, keep it off. Personally, I think it’s because once you learn how to weight train properly, it becomes a part of you. Once you see your body change, you never want to see it go back to the way it was. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years now and it just keeps getting better and better.
So there you have it. Weight training is indeed a very effective tool to help you burn the maximum amount of fat. Not only that, your end product will be a well sculpted, sexy, and toned body. Who doesn’t want that?
For more information on weight training and burning body fat, read my article on "body type" training. It's a great read and will help clear some confusion about weight training and fat loss. You can read it at:
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All the best,
As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.
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