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Say the words “weight training”, and many people think bodybuilders and big muscles. This is a media myth.
Weight (or strength training) is an integral part of maintaining overall health, physique, muscle tone, and… fat burning.
You do not get big by lifting weights!
Not unless you are eating excess calories (and generally lots of calories). And even then the average women (for example) is not predisposed to having physically large muscles.
Add to this that many body-builders are using all sorts of steroids, supplements, and pills…. And some female bodybuilders take quantities of male hormone. It is very unlikely that you will get big from a typical weight training program.
How Does Weight Training Lead To Fat Loss?
When choosing to lose weight, many simply change their diet. Maybe some will combine this with good aerobic exercise.
What many don’t know is that weight training can also contribute to fat loss.
Muscle tissue burns fat, and the act of increasing muscle, increases the rate at which the body can metabolize energy, and ultimately burn fat.
Obviously just lifting a few weights by themselves will not constitute fat loss – but the combination of the right diet, exercise and weight training will give you the best chance of achieving your weight loss goals.
Weight Training the Simple Way
Weight training does not mean you have to go out and join a gym (membership can be expensive)! You need to find what works for you.
Weight training can be done by buying a few barbells and dumbbells and a bench. It’s really that simple. There are, of course, gym machines around which will allow you to perform a far more diverse range of exercises.
Aim to do your weight training 2-3 times per week. Any more is not recommended for beginners.
Abdominals – I Want A Flat Stomach!
I’m sure all of us have seen those exciting infomercials selling the latest ab machine. With a single machine, it seems that you turn into a muscle-bound hunk (if you’re a man), or have a wonderfully sculpted and tanned body (if you’re a woman).
It seems to good to be true… and it is. Abdominal machines do not work .
Doing abdominal exercises will strengthen your stomach muscles, and maybe even build some small definition. But if its covered with fat who will see that fabulous six-pack?
Abdominal machines will not strengthen your thighs, give you big biceps, or burn all that tummy fat.
However, increased lean muscle mass – leading to a fat-burning metabolism, healthy eating, aerobic exercise, and a variety of weight training – will help you lose weight!. This advertising borders on the deceptive.
- Jakicic, J. M., Clark, K. R. I. S. T. N. E., Coleman, E. L. E. N., Donnelly, J. E., Foreyt, J. O. H. N., Melanson, E. D. W. A. D., … Volpe, S. (2001). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Appropriate intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 33(12), 2145-2156. Link
- Weiss, E. P., Racette, S. B., Villareal, D. T., Fontana, L., Steger-May, K., Schechtman, K. B., … Washington University School of Medicine CALERIE Group. (2007). Lower extremity muscle size and strength and aerobic capacity decrease with caloric restriction but not with exercise-induced weight loss. Journal of Applied Physiology, 102(2), 634-640. Link
- Seguin, R., Nelson, M. (2003). The benefits of strength training for older adults. American journal of preventive medicine, 25(3), 141-149. Link