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How Muscle Strengthening Can Aid Weight Loss!

Speed up weight loss

Nutritionists and fitness experts often advise dieters to 'strengthen their muscles' to speed up weight loss - but why exactly?

Lean muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue - even while you're at rest! So although cardiovascular exercise is most effective for burning calories during exercise, building muscle mass will raise your basic metabolic rate and convert your body into a more efficient long-term fat burning machine.

Any of the following methods will help strengthen your muscles:

Strength training - using resistance machines, bodyweight, dumbells, barbells, tubing or cables you can target any muscle groups, together or in isolation. Aim for about 12-15 repetitions per set of any exercise. This is a good range to provide lean muscle strength and tone without 'bulking up'.

Exercise classes - classes such as circuit, yoga, Bodypump, Bodycombat or home workout DVD's all strengthen the main muscles groups. Obviously the type of class you do will determine the involvement of certain muscles.

Cardiovascular exercise - walking, cycling, jogging and cardiovascular machines strengthen the heart and lung muscles and provide some strength benefits to the main muscles groups. However, cardio training is not as effective at producing muscle tone and strength as the above options.

As strength training and exercise classes also strengthen the heart and lungs, providing significant cardiovascular fitness benefits, an ideal exercise plan would incorporate all 3 methods.

What to do if you feel weight loss slowing down

You may feel you're hitting a weight loss plateau as you do more strength as opposed to cardiovascular training. Don't panic! If this is the case, try some of the following options:

  • Up your cardiovascular training by going for longer runs at a slower pace. This will help your body's mitochondria (fat burners) multiply and aid fat-burning outside of training. Within training it will allow you to utilise oxygen to burn fat quicker!
  • Vary your running with 2-3 different methods of cardiovascular training - the variety itself will stimulate different muscles in different ways to help kick start the body.
  • Consider the amount you are eating - it's easy to fall into the refueling trap where your revved-up metabolism causes you to consume adequately to refuel from training, but to over-eat if you are trying to lose body fat at the same time.
  • Consider increasing the protein slightly in your diet to ensure you optimise your recovery from training. If your body has to break down existing muscle to get that protein, your fat burning process could be compromised significantly.

You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...

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