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Is Resistance Training the Key to Weight Loss?

When most people think about starting a weight loss program, they immediately think about cardio machines. Visions of endless stretches on the treadmill and elliptical machine often either: scare people away from starting an exercise program, or create enough boredom that after a month they decide to quit. For those of you who have experienced this phenomenon, you no longer have to fear. Resistance training including weights, resistance bands, and bodyweight exercises may actually be an even more useful for weight loss and fat loss than cardio exercise alone. 

A great example of this can be seen when comparing a sprinter and a long distance runner. Long distance runners spend enormous amounts of time running many miles for an hour or more at a time, whereas sprinters only run for short bursts and spend long periods in recovery. Yet amazingly, sprinters have less body fat than long distance runners. This can be explained by many different mechanisms. First, despite expending less calories aerobically during comparable amounts of exercise, the sprinter also expends anaerobic calories and something called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which consists of the calories burned from an increased metabolism after the exercise session. More calories are burned in order to rebuild muscle and put the body back into balance. When all is said and done, the sprinter actually burns more calories for the same amount of work and in a shorter period of time than the long distance runner. 

Sprinters also perform high amounts of resistance training, which builds muscle, and subsequently increases metabolism and burns fat. When resistance training is performed in a circuit (small amounts of rest between exercises) using the large muscle groups and heavier weights, it burns large amounts of calories, induces EPOC, and increases growth hormone and testosterone levels, which aid in fat burning and muscle building. Each extra pound of muscle mass gained from resistance training can expend up to 40 extra calories per day even while you are at rest. Therefore, by engaging in resistance exercise and building muscle, you can make your metabolism work for you instead of against you! A prime example of this was shown in a research article in the American Diabetes Association, where subjects who added resistance training to cardiovascular exercise lost 35% more weight than the group without resistance training.

I encourage you to put the research to the test by changing up your weight loss routine by adding resistance training with your trainer. Let the weight loss begin!

In good health, 

Joel

Kramer, W. J., Volek, J. S., Gordon, S. E., Puhl, S. M., Koziris, L. P., McBride, J. M., Triplett-McBride, N. T., & Putukian, M. (1999). Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men. Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise and American Diabetes Association, 31(9), 1320-1329.

(Kramer, Volek, Gordon, Puhl, Koziris, McBride, Triplett-McBride & Putukian, 1999)