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Strength Training Tips – Lose Weight by Lifting Weights
Fact or fiction? A 20-year-old woman who does not lift weights will lose about six pounds of muscle and gain about five pounds of fat by age 50. Even if you maintain your weight perfectly over time, there are subtle changes in your body composition that affect your metabolism, muscle tone, and risk of disease.
Body composition is the “quality” of your weight, as opposed to the “quantity” of your weight on the scale. Your weight consists of two separate elements: fat and lean body mass (muscles, organs, bones, fluids). In general, the quality of your body weight (the percentage of fat compared to lean body mass) is more important to your health than your weight (total pounds).
Slow, steady changes in body composition are the best way to manage weight. Why do so many people continue to invest in quick fixes that don’t last? This may be due to misconceptions about weight loss and exercise. See if you can identify whether the following statements are fact or fiction.
1) Aerobic exercise is the best way to lose weight.
Fiction. While it’s true that aerobic exercise burns calories, it’s only part of the equation. Weight training builds muscle and increases lean body mass, which is more metabolically active than fat. As lean body mass increases, so does resting metabolism, i.e. the number of calories burned at rest. A leaner body is more hungry for power, burning more calories just to breathe, circulate blood, digest food, etc.
2) You can lose weight without losing weight.
Fact. While you’re working out—building muscle and losing fat—you may not notice a change in your weight on the scale, but your shape will change and your clothes will fit differently. A pound of fat takes up more space than a pound of muscle, so when you lose fat, you literally shrink. (Think of the meat on display at the butcher’s: a 3-pound roast beef is small compared to 3 pounds of fat).
3) A thin person does not need to build lean body mass by lifting weights.
Fiction. Are you “skinny fat”? Looks can be deceiving when it comes to body composition, and being thin is no guarantee that you’re skinny. Even if you are at an “ideal weight” according to weight charts, you may still be qualitatively “overfat” based on your body composition. Without weight training, you will continue to lose muscle and gain weight as you age.
4) Lifting weights to lose weight is not a good idea because muscle turns to fat when you stop.
Fiction. It is not possible for adipose tissue to become muscle tissue. Unused muscles simply atrophy or get smaller. These can be replaced with fat if you consume more calories than you burn.
5) Abs and other abdominal exercises are the best way to lose belly fat.
Fiction.Fat is systemic, body-wide, and must be reduced everywhere with more calories (aerobic training and weight training) than we consume. Not a lot of crunches to melt away belly fat. However, while there is no such thing as spot reduction, you can notice it strengthen and shape a body part with weight exercises. As you reduce the amount of stored fat, the contours of your muscles will appear.
6) Lifting weights increases your mass.
Fiction. Only if you have high testosterone and use very heavy weights. Most women lack the hormones and strength needed to build muscle mass. Female bodybuilders are genetically predisposed to building large muscles; they also follow a strict exercise and diet regime to maximize their muscle size. The average woman who lifts weights is actually losing size by losing fat and building muscle.
Weight loss from exercise is primarily FAT LOSS. With regular training, you reduce the fat stores of the whole body and develop leaner, more toned muscles instead. The active body will to be slimmer. The increase in lean muscle tissue from weight training results in trimmer contours and smaller girths, regardless of the number of pounds lost. The successful weight control formula combines a moderate reduction in daily calorie intake with moderate exercise that is both enjoyable and comfortable.
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