Weight Loss? Weight Train.
By: Meg Sharp, Fitness & Wellbeing Consultant, Cambridge Group of Clubs
Whether you’re interested in weight loss or not – the fact that effective resistance training builds and maintains lean tissue is important.
Typically, the most powerful factor in successful weight loss is dietary change. That doesn’t change how vital exercise is. In fact, regular exercise in conjunction with caloric restriction supports more favourable weight loss results and is often cited as the number one predictor for keeping weight off.
For me – nothing beats the power of effective resistance training. I’d like to share a few reasons why, but first let me explain what I mean by effective resistance training:
Loading the muscles specifically and progressively such that they continue to be stimulated and adapt over time. Incorporating a variety of intense, whole body and body part specific exercises – 2-3 times per week so that the overall load progressively increases and the type of load changes often. This is what stimulates – and protects! – muscle development.
Effective resistance training doesn’t require heavy weights. You can use body weight exercises, bands, and light resistance. You can manipulate variables such as choice of exercise and alter time under tension by varying sets, repetitions, tempo, rest, ROM, and use of eccentric and isometric contractions.
Back to the original point. Why is resistance training so effective?
It’s muscle sparing. One of the biggest challenges with dieting or caloric restriction specifically is that the body loses lean tissue mass as well as fat mass. This can result in decreased strength, bone mineral density, joint stability, energy, and metabolism. (Incidentally, if weight is regained, relatively more fat mass is replaced compared to lean tissue.) Exercise – particularly resistance exercise – improves insulin sensitivity and stimulates muscle protein synthesis. What does that mean? Essentially regular resistance training turns your valuable muscles into Do Not Enter Construction Zones. Lean tissue is protected and the body preferentially scavenges calories from the adipose tissue.
Maintaining or increasing muscle mass will keep your metabolism high. You burn more calories throughout the day (and night!). You will ultimately have more energy. More strength and stamina – so that your everyday activities are performed with more vigour and intensity. Not only is this enjoyable – it burns more calories too.
It decreases injury. You prefer to walk, swim, golf, run, dance… but weight training isn’t your “thing”? I get it. I honestly do. The most important thing about getting and staying active is finding activities that fit into your lifestyle and are fun. However, most sports and cardio-type activities involve highly repetitive patterns. Which ultimately lead to strength and mobility imbalances and, therefore, injury. Just 20-25 minutes of carefully orchestrated strength work 2 times per week, will ensure you can keep doing the stuff you love!
Need help orchestrating that strength session? We would love to help. AND we’ll have the Club pick up the tab for the hour with one of our trainers.
Adelaide Club – Lauren Neal – Contact her here.
Cambridge Club – Sean O’Neil – Contact him here.
Toronto Athletic Club – Rob Coates – Contact him here.
It makes you feel awesome in your skin. An interesting thing happens to most people once they start regular resistance training. AND it starts before or regardless of any weight loss occuring: As they become a little stronger, sit and walk a little taller, walk upstairs with a spring in their step, their relationship with their body starts to shift. They start to feel better about themselves. About their bodies. What their body can DO becomes more salient. Reducing stress, feeling happier, being faster, more powerful, more agile, and stronger become as much if not more important than the original weight loss goal. And then guess what happens:
You end up committing to – and enjoying – resistance training for life.