Will strength training alone be enough to lose weight?
Most of us adults have struggled with weight loss issues at some point in the past.
Obviously, there are some who manage to stay slim throughout their entire lives, but for the average American, a few extra pounds is the norm.
After trying this fad diet and that magic weight loss pill, perhaps you're asking, "Can you lose weight with just strength training?"
While scientific opinion differs on the science of weight loss and maintenance, the one thing most agree on is the fact that calorie intake and output, combined with metabolic efficiency, are the most important factors in losing excess weight.
So the simple answer to the question of losing weight with just strength training is "No", but that's an oversimplification because in many cases strength training is a very important part of losing weight.
When we speak of losing weight we're generally talking about shedding excess body fat. In simple terms, body fat is created when calorie intake exceeds what is necessary for the normal functioning of the body. Calories not burned through physical exertion are stored in the body as fat. Therefore, it stands to reason that limiting calorie intake is a good way to maintain proper body weight.
Unfortunately, calorie intake alone is not sufficient in maintaining a slim and fit physique. You see, your body is an adaptable machine that will learn to work with whatever calories you feed it. Reducing calorie intake below the level needed for normal body function will shed excess fat initially, but your body will eventually adapt and you'll have trouble maintaining your lower weight.
This question is a great one in that metabolism is what ties together calorie monitoring and strength training. While the definition of the word "metabolism" goes far deeper than we generally understand, it's sufficient for this discussion to define metabolism as the systems and processes your body uses to break down food and create energy. It's common knowledge that some people have more efficient metabolisms than others.
Where metabolism is an important factor in weight loss is in terms of efficiency, and the best way to increase metabolic efficiency is to increase muscle mass. Muscle burns calories more quickly and more efficiently than other tissues and organs, so the more muscle you have the more efficient your body will be in burning calories.
Physical exercise, like strength training, increases your metabolic rate. And studies have shown that even after the cessation of exercise, the metabolism remains at a heightened state for some time afterward. Not only that, but muscles will continue consuming calories while you're at rest, and even while sleeping, as they recover from the exercise you subjected them to.
Strength training does not shed body fat in and of itself. Rather, it builds muscle mass and increases metabolism, burning excess calories and reducing body fat. It is unlikely that most people could shed a significant amount of excess weight simply by using weight training methods. But in conjunction with monitoring food intake, strength training can be very effective.
One of the best things about weight training is that you don't need to bulk up like a professional bodybuilder to see effective results. You're not necessarily looking to be big and bulky; your goal is to simply add a little bit of leanness and mass. Once muscles are toned, continuing strength training will maintain their mass and make for an efficient metabolism.
Strength training, by definition, requires that stress be put on the muscle groups you want to train. This is most often done using weights. However, don't buy into the common myth that weight training will turn you into an over-sized muscle builder
The human body, especially for women, is not built in such a way that allows for such intense muscle growth with moderate strength training. The fact is that bodybuilders train for years and use supplements to achieve the physiques they have. Moderate, everyday weight training will tone your muscles and add a slight amount of mass without bulking you up.
Can you lose weight just with strength training? Probably some, but certainly not enough to make a real difference in significant weight loss and subsequent maintenance. Strength training, combined with proper diet, is the best way to shed unwanted pounds and keep them off.
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