by Paul Dexter, copyright dextertraining.com
There are many myths regarding weight training. Mostly, it’s “I don’t want to bulk up, so I’ll just do cardio to lose weight”. First of all, it’s not that easy. Why do you think so many athletes resort to using steroids? They are part of the genetic elite, and they can’t achieve the results they want. Women, especially, worry about this common misconception. Women are often afraid of getting bulging muscles and looking masculine. This should not be a concern because women lack testosterone, the hormone mainly responsible for muscle building. Men do have testosterone, but only a certain amount which limits the amount of muscle one can put on (this is why many resort to steroids to add more testosterone). Some people may put on muscle easier than others (because of genetics), but there is a limitation.
No matter what your goal is. There are proper training/ nutrition programs that can maximize your own genetic potential. That is why training and eating the right way is so important. Weight training is the most important aspect of the fitness equation. The healthy lifestyle equation is; 1) weight training, 2) nutrition, and 3) cardiovascular exercise. You do need all three to maximize your progress, but the fuel that feeds the fire is the weight training.
We all have been on diets, and not achieved our goals. We have all turned to cardio, and not achieved our goals. We have done both diet and cardio and not achieved our goals. There is a reason for this!
The Human body is a complex machine, and a very stubborn one at that. You must understand how the body works to get the results you want. Many people lose 10lbs., and then put it right back on. There is a reason for this!
Everyone has a set resting metabolic rate, otherwise known as metabolism. Your body will burn a set amount of calories per day without exercise. Adding exercise will help burn additional calories. The problem is that the human body is stubborn and starts to figure out what you’re doing, slows down your metabolism, and begins to rely on exercise as its means of burning calories. The key is to raise your metabolic rate while you are dieting. The amount of lean mass (muscle) you have is what determines your metabolic rate. So, if you want to increase your metabolism, you must increase your lean mass. The way to do that?….weight training!
When you do diet and cardio alone, you will lose muscle as well as fat. When you lose muscle, your metabolism will slow down. Your weight loss will begin to slow down, and come to a halt. When you go back to eating normal, all your weight comes back on and then some. Because of the muscle loss, your metabolism slowed down during the dieting process leading to the additional weight gain.
For every pound of muscle you can gain while dieting, you will increase your metabolism by 50-100 calories. This is why it is so important to weight train while dieting. Dieting without weight training can reduce your metabolism, because you will lose muscle as well as fat. Also, you must understand that muscle weighs more than fat, but takes up less space on the body. Imagine what a pound of bricks (muscle) would look like in comparison to a pound of feathers (fat). With that in mind, you must not be afraid to put on muscle. This is the key to continual fat loss, and keeping it off.
With all our clients, our goal is to increase their lean mass (muscle). If you could put on 5- 10 pounds of muscle, while losing bodyfat, you will lose inches. In addition, you will have increased your metabolism by 250-1000 calories. That means even on days that you don’t exercise you are burning more calories than you did before you started your diet. And when you return to eating normal, the weight won’t come back on.
I can not stress the importance of weight training enough. The benefits of a proper weight training program designed to fit individual needs are endless. The key word is “proper”, just going to the gym and lifting weights isn’t going to do it. You must be on a properly devised program, one that allows you to increase strength. If strength is not increased, lean mass will not be increased. Weight training is essential for everyone, no matter what your goal. Besides the metabolic benefits, weight training lowers cholesterol, blood pressure, prevents osteoporosis, and increases age preventing hormones.