Tag Archives: resistance training
For those who have exercised diligently in their desire to lose weight, it can be very discouraging to see those pounds creep back up again.
A study conducted by the Institute for Sports Medicine in Hannover, Germany, has found that resistance training, and to a smaller extent, endurance training, are capable of enhancing the synthesis of protein in skeletal muscle via different signalling pathways.
It's widely accepted that reducing the amount of calories that you consume will help you to lose weight. Further, performing aerobic exercise is also well known to help with weight loss.
Yet what about weight lifting? Resistance training is commonly associated with gaining weight or building muscle. It is assumed that the bodybuilder will spend time in the weights area of the gym, while all people seeking to lose weight will stick to the cardio machines.
So is this assumption true? Definitely not.
Weight lifting can have some profound benefits for weight loss in a number of manners. Although lifting weights is necessary to develop significant amounts of muscle, this is only possible when your lifestyle and diet are aligned with weight gain. If you live in a manner that encourages weight loss, lifting weights will further encourage progress in this regard.
The reason for this comes down to an energy balance. This is the basic and widely accepted equilibrium of calories on versus calories out. Under normal circumstances, if you consume more calories than you expend, you will gain weight. Conversely if you consume less calories than you expend, you will lose weight. Whether or not you weight train does not change the "rules" of this law by any means.
How does weight lifting help you to lose weight?
Weight lifting can assist weight loss in a multi-faceted manner:
1. Weight lifting expends calories during the workout
Any form of movement requires energy. Lifting weights will expend energy (measured in calories, or kilojoules). The more intense your weight lifting workout, the more energy that will be expended.
When we consider the calories in versus calories out equation, it makes sense to increase your calorie expenditure to encourage an overall energy deficit. Both weight training and cardiovascular training are effective ways to do this.
2. Weight lifting induces a state of recovery, requiring additional calorie expenditure after exercise
When you lift weights, you place stress on the muscles being worked. In effect, you are damaging those muscle fibres (which is why you may be quite sore a day or two after weight lifting). It is your body's job to repair that damaged tissue. This process of repairing your muscle requires significantly more energy than would otherwise be utilised if no exercise were performed. Thus, this time of recovery will require a significantly heightened degree of calorie expenditure.
Recovery can take up to 10 days following a weights workout. Not a bad investment for less than an hour of your time!
3. An increased amount of muscle increases calorie expenditure
Muscle burns far more calories than the equivalent amount of fat tissue. Thus, muscle is termed as "metabolically active", meaning that it has a significant influence on your metabolic rate. An increased amount of muscle mass means that you will be burning additional calories each day.
1kg of muscle mass will burn somewhere within the vicinity of between 50-200 calories per day. The precise amount is not known, as many studies will quote different figures based on their findings. However if you are carrying additional muscle mass, you will be burning more calories if you were to sleep all day long. Your body needs to burn this energy just to maintain this muscle. Resistance training can assist in some muscle development to help with weight loss.
4. Being stronger means you are likely to expend more energy through physical activity
Lifting weights can aid your strength. If you are stronger, you will have the ability to lift heavier weight. This means that you will be expending more energy lifting this heavier weight, thus further aiding with your weight loss endeavours.
When I lift weights I begin with the heaviest weight and work my way down with 90 second rests. For example, 70kg for 10 reps, 65kg for 7 reps, 60kg for 6 reps etc. Is this form of resistance training correct?
Unfortunately there is no "correct" form of resistance training. No matter what anyone says, there is no one way that is proven to be the most effective form of training for building muscle mass. A while ago I wrote an article entitled "The ONLY Way To Train" which deals with the common misconception that there is one (and only one) way to train.
The number one factor to ask yourself is - have you received the desired results (at the desired rate) by training this way? Have you compared this method of training to others and is this more effective in order to achieve your goals? If not, some changes are in order.
You will notice that there is a very common theme throughout this website...intensity. Intensity is what I believe to be the number one factor to stimulate consistent hypertrophy and strength gains. Looking at your training approach, it seems that set 1 is intense as you are working to your maximum. But the following sets seem to be more of a cool-down. How are you stimulating your body to change in the following sets as you decrease the working load? I also recommend you read my article "The Art Of Adaptation" which discusses why intensity is a key factor in your training regime.
Perform a website search for "intensity" and you will find a number of articles discussing this topic. I (and the other professionals on this site) strongly believe that training maximally is a crucial element for healthy people wanting to instil big changes in their physique.