When it comes to weight loss, health and overall quality of life a little weight training can go a long way. As a devout yogi I hadn’t picked up a weight in years but recently I decided to give it a go and I love what it is doing for my body and soul. Not only am I getting stronger and have more definition I actually dropped a few inches where I wasn’t even trying to drop ’em. As most of you may know, muscle weighs more than fat so I didn’t actually lose any weight, I just got a little leaner which is nothing to complain about!
How can resistance or weight training help you lose weight? While cardiovascular exercise is excellent for burning calories, as soon as you step off that treadmill most of your calorie burning is done. With resistance training you will actually start to build muscle and muscle is metabolic, meaning it actually burns calories when you are just sitting there doing nothing. In fact, an extra pound of muscle will burn an extra 50 calories per day which over a year can equate to 5+ pounds of weight loss. This may not seem like much but in the opposite direction most of us would be upset. Losing 1 pound of muscle has exactly the opposite effect, 5 pounds gained each year! Now let me dispell the myth as quickly as I know you are thinking it, unless you have a metabolic condition where you have more testosterone than the average woman (ie. Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome) you will not ‘bulk up’.
What else is it good for? Recent research has shown that weight (or resistance) training can greatly reduce a number of health risks. It has been proven to have a positive affect on insulin resistance, resting metabolism, blood pressure, body fat and gastrointestinal transit time, factors that are linked to illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It also has the wonderful effect of keeping your bones strong and your posture tall.
Why aren’t you starting now? Good question. Research shows that just 2 twenty minute sessions per week is enough to have you start getting results. Look to get approximately 8-12 repetitions on each of your body parts every week and make the weight heavy enough that if you reach 12 reps you are actually tired. When 12 gets easy you know it is time to increase your weight!
More questions? Ask me or find yourself a qualified personal trainer that can design a program just for you.
Christine is a yoga instructor, personal trainer and nutritionist who specializes in weight loss and womens health at Four Forty Fitness for Women in Burlington, Ontario. Check out the website at www.fourfortyfitness.ca