Why Strength Training Burns Fat
The most successful way to achieve long-term weight loss/control is to increase the lean muscle tissue on our bodies and this is done through weight training. Whether you train in a gym or at home, use bodyweight, resistance bands, dumbbells, barbells or machines, it doesn't matter, as long as you fatigue the muscles so they adapt and strengthen.
Why does weight training fat burn?
Muscle tissue is the most metabolically active part of our body and is extremely willing to adapt and change, (to our weight control advantage), if we prioritise it. Muscle tissue requires energy just to 'be' on our bodies, meaning it uses calories whether we are running, walking, standing, seating or sleeping (obviously the rate at which calories are burned is reflected by the intensity/demand the muscles are under at any given time).
Analogy: Comparing our bodies to a car engine, an engine that revs at a higher rate uses more fuel and a body with more muscle tissue revs at a higher rate using more fuel (calories!)
With muscle tissue, an individual requires a greater calorie intake to maintain the muscle integrity - which means that a person has a higher metabolic rate or in weight loss terms, more calories they can consume before they 'over consuming' for their needs and gaining weight.
What are the figures to prove it? Show me the science!
Muscle tissue burns up to three times as many calories as any other constituent and research indicates that by adding a pound of muscle you will burn 250 extra calories a day (Jorge Cruise, San-Diego Weight-loss specialist and author of 8 minutes in the morning).
- A pound of muscle burns = 250 calories a day
- A pound of fat burns = NOTHING
Multiply this by 365 days in a year and divide 3,500 (the number of calories in one pound) = with this added muscle you will lose an extra 26 pounds in just one year!
What method is the best way to strength train for fat burning?
Focus on the main muscles groups - legs, chest, back, shoulders and abs.
Aim to build up to exercises that involve as many muscle groups as possible.
Keep variety - use different exercises for the same muscle group and use different methods of strength training.
Ensure you push yourself to failure - too often individuals short-change their muscle tone and metabolic advantage by keeping resistance too light for their capability or stopping before reaching fatigue. Pushing you muscles to achieve that muscular fatigue (burning, heavy) feeling burns more calories in the short-term and long-term and DOES NOT result in massive size enhancements!!
Use a resistance that you can achieve a maximum of 15-20 repetitions with.
Put exercises together in a circuit-style fashion and try to keep rest to a minimum.
Do it more than twice a week!