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Strength Training and why we need it in weight loss... And Life!

If you know me, and my husband, you know that weight lifting is our jam. We've worked out this way for years, this passion is what led Scott to becoming a personal trainer and eventually owning the gyms! Even though I've carried excess weight for most of my life, I am very strong and do take a lot of pride in that and couldn't imagine not lifting. But the health benefits are UNREAL!

Many fad diets or weight loss programs cut calories drastically and force/encourage cardio based workouts ONLY. Initially exercising with weights MAY not show up on the scale. I can speak to this first hand. When I started this program, I got back to more regular workouts again (I will take a second and tell you that my husband is a GENIUS at programming workouts - I will be making him do a blog post on the method to the madness HAHAHA). Anyway, I quickly lost about 6-8 lbs, then the scale didn't budge much for a bit. BUT... I still noticed physical changes - my clothes fit better, I had more energy throughout the day and slept better at night. About a month in, the scale STILL seemed stuck but Scott measured me again (I forgot to mention that we had baseline measurements also - this is KEY) and..... I lost about 12 inches!! Yup 12 inches - in my stomach, arms, thighs, and chest. I don't know about you but in the end I really don't care what the number on the scale is, but if I LOOK and FEEL better that is all that matters.

Here's some science behind this method:

Ladies, I know that when you wave high to someone you don't want the "flabby" part of your arm also waving LOL... we want our arms (and really every area of our body) to be lean and FIT. Well, lifting weights and even lifting heavy weights will get you the look you want. You won't "bulk up" - women have WAY lower testosterone levels than men do. So your shoulders, biceps or abs may be defined but they won't be HUGE! And Gentlemen, building muscle and becoming lean machines, well I don't think you need much convincing, wink wink... you want your Dad Bod to be a healthy one!

Strengthening bones - lifting weights not only protects your bones but PREVENTS osteoporosis related fractures and can actually promote bone growth. Strength training also maintains strong muscles to help maintain balance and coordination. By the time adults are 70 years old, they only have about 50-55% of their muscle mass left. It explains why they may feel more tired and weak. (1) That old saying, if you don't use it, you'll use it... well this is a PERFECT example of that!

Have you heard of the "after-burn effect"? "When we exercise our muscles need more energy than they do while resting. The energy comes from our muscles breaking down fats and carbs stored in the muscle, liver and fat tissue bringing more oxygen to our exercising muscles. THEN, after we've worked out, the oxygen levels remain high to restore/repair the muscles. So simply put, we are continuing to burn calories LOOOONG after our workout is done (2). Recently, I put this to the test. I continued to let my workout continue on my apple watch on my drive home, I burned another 100 cals on my 10 minute drive. My heart rate was back to almost normal, I was still sweaty and felt exhausted from the workout but to see those calories still ticking away, you bet I'll take that any day!!

Lastly, muscle play a big role in determining our resting metabolic rate - RMR- (how many calories our bodies require to function at rest). Increasing muscle mass, increases our RMR and we burn more calories at rest - so we can either LOSE more weight or EAT more food! A review of 18 studies showed that strength training was effecting at increasing RMR and aerobic exercise or aerobic/cardio workouts alone were not as effective at increasing RMR (2).

Bottom line... grab those dumb bells, get under that bar bell - start squatting, benching, deadlifting. BUILD THAT MUSCLE. Not only will it help you lose weight if that's your goal, but you will feel better, look better, promote so many health benefits and most importantly you'll definitely FEEL like a bad A$$!

(1) Women and Weight Training for Osteoporosis, Gina Shaw, Brunilda Nazario, MD 2019

(2) Resistance Training: here's why it's so effective for weight loss, David R Clark, Cart Langan-Evans, Rob Erskine - Liverpool John Moores University. 9/2020

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