Exercise is hugely beneficial to us for a whole variety of different reasons. When it comes to weight loss however, people generally tend to think of cardio which we covered in the last chapter.
Whilst cardiovascular exercise is indeed very effective for burning fat, we shouldn’t overlook the importance of resistance training. Resistance training with weights is so beneficial, yet many of us overlook it for fear of getting “too big” and “too muscular”. Here’s a look at why resistance training is so beneficial for our health and well-being in general.
This is, ironically, the one aspect of resistance training that puts some people off. For some people, being big and muscular is very appealing, but for others, not so much.
The reality is that weight and resistance training will build lean muscle if you’re consistent, but if you’re worried about looking like an enormous 280-pound bodybuilder then please don’t as that simply won’t happen. What will likely happen, however, is you will gain a few pounds of lean muscle which will help you to look better and also help protect you from injury.
People still seem to be amazed by the fact that resistance training does in fact help promote fat loss.
If you lift weights and train like a bodybuilder, you will build muscle which could cause you to gain weight. The weight you gain is a muscle, and this is what people struggle to realize. Resistance training is a form of exercise that promotes fat loss. You’re still burning calories when you exert yourself. Not only that but as you increase your lean muscle mass your metabolism increases so you burn off even more calories than usual. If you want to burn fat and get leaner, resistance training is great.
Great for the bones
As we grow older, our bone health often begins to deteriorate. This is where resistance training is so useful. Resistance training has been found to help strengthen the bones and protect them from age-related damage as we grow older. Resistance training can help to strengthen the bones and prevent conditions such as Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis.
Reduced risk of injury
When you engage in any form of physical exercise or exertion, there’s always a risk of injury. Resistance training, however, has been found to help reduce the likelihood of you suffering an injury.
Resistance training helps to build up the muscles and strengthen the bones, muscles, and joints, offering them an element of protection. Put simply, a small and frail body is far more susceptible to injury than a lean and muscular body.
Bodyweight training VS Free weights
If you prefer not to train with weights and keep things ‘natural’ there are a ton of bodyweight training exercises that are just as challenging. In fact, certain bodyweight exercises are so difficult that even people who have been training with free weights for years can’t do them. Planche pushups, front levers, V-sits, pistol squats, etc. are some of the most difficult bodyweight exercises in existence. If you can do them, you can rest assured that you will be strong and lean. There are hundreds of bodyweight exercises and variations that will keep you busy for a long time. By the time you master them, you’d have reached your weight loss goal and be hard as nails. It’s next to impossible to get bulky with bodyweight training. So, if that’s a concern of yours, bodyweight training has your name written all over it.
To see a variety of bodyweight exercises, all you need to do is go on YouTube and search for these exercises and try them out. Always be safe and approach the training in a sensible manner.
It would be good to mix bodyweight training with free weights. Neither is better than the other. The goal here is to work your muscles and it doesn’t matter which method you choose as long as you get there.
Many people feel intimidated by going to a gym and would prefer to train at home. Others find it a hassle and some even balk at the cost of the gym memberships. Some folks are even put off at having to use machines that have other people’s sweat on them.
The good news is that your muscles do not care where you work out. So you can either get free weights and train at home or just do bodyweight training in the privacy of your own home. Just make sure resistance training is part of your workout regimen When you lift heavy weights, your body exerts and the muscles get a hard workout. When you’re trying to lose weight, your resistance training should mostly comprise of full-body workouts. Unlike bodybuilders who train one or two body parts a day, you should be doing several different exercises that target muscles all over the body.
A sample workout would be like the one below.
Sample bodyweight circuit – Do 2X or 3X per workout
Deadlifts – 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest
Push-ups – 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest
Squats – 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest
Hanging leg raises – 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest
Burpees – 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest
Lunges – 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest
By doing the workout above, not only would you have targeted several different muscles in the body but the minimal rest would have made the resistance training workout take on a cardio nature.
So, you’ll be toning your muscles and improving your stamina at the same time. You’ll be killing two birds with one stone. Not only that, but the workout will be exhausting and put you in calorie burning mode for several hours after your training session is over. This will help you burn more calories overall and lose weight faster than you ever expected. In the next part, we will look at getting proper rest and recovery which is an essential part of a weight loss plan.