You probably already know by now that all the Granite Fitness programs have an element of strength training to them. You might have even read some articles on this blog that touch briefly on strength training and weight loss. Well, I figured that we haven’t really unpacked this enough, so you might not be clear about it. That’s the purpose for today’s article – to educate you on why strength training should be part of your weight management plan.
When we think of weight management, we automatically think about cardio, and in a sense we rightly do so. Cardio burns a lot more calories than weight training as you are doing the exercise. Some research has even shown that variations to cardio such as high intensity interval training (HIIT) can be even more effective at burning calories. Strength training, on the other hand, has always been associated with being big sized and muscular.
Thankfully, over the years, more and more women have started learning about the benefits of strength training. Not only does it not automatically make you huge, it gives your body the toned wiry look. So without further ado, here are some reasons why strength training can, and should be incorporated into your fat loss plans.
One: Having more muscle increases your metabolism
Our metabolism refers to all the processes that happen in your body that requires energy. Even when you are slouching around, your body still has to use energy, the amount of which at rest is called the resting metabolic rate (RMR). Muscle tissue requires quite a lot of energy to maintain itself. So doesn’t it stand to reason that the more muscle cells you have, the more calories you will be burning at rest? And these muscles cells are built from strength training, not cardio.
Two: The fixing process – EPOC
After a high intensity workout, your body needs to “fix itself up” and compensate for the oxygen lost during the workout. In order to do this, your body must continue to work harder after your workout, when you are resting or going about your daily business. This is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) or more commonly referred to as “The Afterburn Effect”. While cardio does result in modest EPOC, strength training and HIIT will boost your metabolism much more at rest.
Three: It alters your body composition
Is it true that muscles weigh more than fat? Yes it is, in a way. If you fill a container with muscle cells, it is going to be heavier than the same container filled with fat cells. However, while muscle is denser than fat, one kilo of muscles are a lot smaller than a kilo of fat. So a muscular woman who weighs 70 kilos will look smaller and more lean and toned compared to a plus-sized 70 kilo woman.
Four: Strength training selectively burns fat, not muscle
When you perform a cardio workout and combine that with a mild calorie deficit, you will lose weight because the cardio workout will burn both fat and muscle. However, when you combine weight training with a calorie deficit, the story is a little different. You see, doing such a thing will stimulate muscle growth because it is required to cope with the load. As such, your body will intuitively burn fat because it needs to retain the muscle. Make sense?
So you see: there are several other reasons why strength training can offer some benefits to men and women in the way that cardio can’t. And please don’t be mistaken – cardio also has some benefits that strength training might not be able to provide. I cover all of these in the Lifelong Fitness Blueprint, which is part of the Granite Fitness Solution and the Granite Fitness Masterclass. You should check them out!
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