There are as many ideas about how to lose weight and maintain it, as there are people trying to make money in the weight loss industry.
While there are many differences in how individuals will react to specific diet and exercise programs, there are some physiological generalities that apply to all of us.
That said, why is weight training important to weight loss and maintenance?
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Weight training, as part of a program to lose excess fat and maintain a healthy body weight, requires some specific knowledge and methodology.
It is far different than utilizing weight training as a means of bodybuilding.
Weight training for both goals requires different ways of thinking, which will result in different types of exercise and diet programs.
As much as weight loss entrepreneurs try to stress the importance of weight training in burning fat, scientific evidence proves conclusively that losing fat is more dependent on calorie intake than exercise.
That's not to say that weight training does not help in burning excess fat, it's just that all the weight training in the world is useless for weight loss if the diet is not altered.
You need to reduce your calorie intake in order to lose weight; it's as simple as that.
Try thinking of it in terms of the dust that collects in the average American home.
If you take two houses, one located in a quiet suburban neighborhood and the other on a dirt road in a rural environment, and leave all the windows and doors of both houses open for 24 for hours, you'll see an extraordinary difference in the amount of dust that collects on the furniture.
The house located on the rural dirt road will obviously see more dust collection because there's more of it in the environment. Where there's less dirt and dust in the suburbs, the dust collection is less.
The relationship between calories and excess fat works exactly the same way. Your body, which requires a certain amount of calories for normal activity, cannot store fat if it doesn't have the calories to do so. The key to successful weight loss is to determine how many calories your body burns on a daily basis, then reduce your caloric intake by several hundred per day.
Where reducing calorie intake is the single most important component for losing excess fat, weight training becomes the more important component in maintaining a healthy body weight. This is due to the fact that the body's metabolism adapts to caloric intake over time.
In other words, once you reach a healthy weight and return your caloric intake to the level your body requires for daily activities, the energy required to operate your muscles at their current levels is reduced. Without some means of adequate exercise, your metabolism won't work as effectively and it will be much easier for you to gain back the fat that you've lost.
Since muscles use energy more efficiently than other body tissues, engaging in moderate exercise like weight training keeps the metabolism working at peak performance, thereby preventing you from regaining the excess pounds.
Weight training is important to maintaining a healthy body weight because it compensates for the adjustments your metabolism naturally makes to caloric intake.
It goes without saying that people who are already at a healthy body weight have less need for weight training or other exercise. But “less” need does not mean “no” need. As we get older, our digestive systems and metabolism naturally slow down. That's why it's common to see older people gain weight.
Weight training is important for older people because it helps to keep the digestive system and metabolism operating as efficiently as possible. There will be some breakdown, yes, but anything we can do to help our bodies work as efficiently as possible is a good idea.
Weight training doesn't have to be an excruciatingly painful program. Simple exercises which place moderate stress on the muscles is sufficient in helping maintain body weight at any age. For older people, consulting with a professional trainer who specialize in nutrition and exercise for older clients is the best way to make sure you develop a good plan.
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