Strength Training: The Forgotten Key to Weight Loss Success

Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. However, when discussing weight loss, people often narrow their focus to diet and cardio. There is no denying that cardio is a valuable tool in a weight loss journey, but it should not be the only form of exercise you use.

Strength training often has more to offer individuals focusing on maintaining or achieving a healthy weight. In many ways, strength training might even be more beneficial than cardio to dieters and fitness enthusiasts.

What Is Strength Training?

Strength training encompasses any form of physical activity that raises the body's heart rate and uses resistance or tension to activate the muscle. It usually includes bodyweight or body-weight-based exercise.

Bodyweight exercises are always a good start, as they incorporate movement and cardiovascular fitness. However, movements that involve resistance or pulling are also a good starting point. Many of these movements include sitting back on your heels while holding a weight, or moving the weight across your body while sitting in a chair.  Several examples of strength training and bodyweight exercises include crunches, squats, push-ups, sit-ups, planks, lunges, and more. Additionally, for the more advanced individuals, weight lifting is also a form of strength training utilizing barbells, dumbbells, and other weighted or resistance tools.

Why Is Strength Training Important to Weight Loss?

While cardio increases endurance and helps burn calories, strength training increases both physical and metabolic strength. Additionally, while weight loss is linked to cardiovascular activity, it has also been tied to muscle building, decreasing stress levels, increased energy levels, improved sleep, and overall improved mood, all of which are improved with strength training.

Why Cardio May Not Be Enough

Cardio training is excellent for losing weight in the short term, but research shows that there is little evidence to suggest that it will be of much use for long-term weight loss. This is because cardio is more focused on burning calories that stick around for a while. However, strength training will burn fat more quickly. It also has the added benefit of reducing the risk of injury. In addition, research shows that strength training can help with losing weight in all areas of the body. Strength training might be the key to lasting weight loss, but many people still feel overwhelmed when it comes to getting started. This can be a particular problem for fitness beginners who are hoping to maintain weight loss for long periods of time.

How To Incorporate Strength Training Into Your Routine

People often overestimate the level of commitment required to start an exercise routine. Most experts recommend 30 minutes per day or at least 150 minutes per week. You do not have to complete the 30 minutes in one consecutive activity; you can split it up.

As far as the types of exercises, they typically fall into four main groups: push, pull, squat, and bench press. All of these exercises allow you to improve the strength of the muscles within your body. Many people use these types of activities to increase their overall health and wellness, and these will certainly aid in your quest to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Note that while some exercises are going to require weights, other activities can be performed without. 

Strength training is a valuable and necessary tool in your weight loss journey. However, as with any new exercise regimen, talk to your doctor first. Attempting to lift weights or perform exercises that you are not ready for can result in injuries. A doctor, physical therapist, or personal trainer can help you customize a workout routine that is appropriate for your current abilities.

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