If fat loss is of primary importance to you, then you have most likely exercised a certain way or have not even entertained the idea at all. If you have been exercising with just cardio only and the results are meager, you may be asking yourself “Where are those flat abs, thin thighs and rock hard body I’ve worked so hard to create?”
I’m here to tell you that chances are high you are not utilizing one of the key components to fat loss: Strength Training.
Many people think that losing weight is all about controlling calories with dieting..so they try to starve themselves into weight loss. Their daily weight loss mantra is “minimal calories.” Yes, calorie deficit is key in fat loss, but it is only part of the picture.
Typical diets keep your calorie intake low. This creates a problem because muscle mass is being lost as a result. Dieters try to lose body fat by starving themselves, and as the body fat vanishes from their body, their muscle mass also disappears. This loss of muscle will slow down the metabolism. Muscles keep your metabolism humming – muscles burn calories even at rest.
Many people find that once they have lost the body fat they are weighing less, but that it becomes so much easier to put weight on again. The reason? The metabolism has slowed due to the loss of metabolically active muscle. So once they go off of the diet, and everyone does, they will start to pack on the body fat again.
The solution to this is to maintain and increase your muscle mass by engaging in strength training while you are losing weight. By doing this, you will be able to increase your muscle mass and thereby increase your metabolism. This will leave you with a greater proportion of lean muscle to fat, meaning you will be slimmer.
Strength training will increase the speed of your fat loss and adding an aerobic program will double the effectiveness of any weight loss program you are on. Both of these forms of exercise, along with an effective nutrition program, will begin to radically change your body.
A high percentage of body fat is stored not only as obvious fat such as on our hips, stomach and arms etc., it is also stored intramuscularly, which means it is stored within the muscle as well. Think about a well-marbled piece of steak, that fat pattern is the same in our muscles.
Fat takes up four times more room than muscle and actually makes muscles look bigger because of the fat inside. But once you start your program of strength training, that intramuscular fat will disappear.
The easiest way to increase lean muscle tissue and decrease body fat is to perform strength training exercises 2- 3 times a week. Examples of strength training exercises include: squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, bicep curls, triceps extensions, dead lifts, and lateral shoulder raises, and resistance tubing.
An effective alternative to increasing lean muscle mass along with flexibility is Pilates. Pilates exercises keep your body toned, and increases your metabolism.
Take action and start changing your shape today!