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Cardiovascular exercise undoubtedly works great at burning fat but adding strength training for fat loss to your workouts will help you burn extra calories every day. While people associate strength training with bulking up and gaining weight, it could be what you need to revamp your weight-loss program. Combining strength training and diet can be very effective for weight loss.
For some reason, weight training has been viewed as the culprit when it comes to weight gain. Some have blamed it for adding bulk. While that’s true, having bulkier muscles is necessary for anyone looking to burn fat. But why is strength training so effective when it comes to burning fat? Here are the reasons:
Benefits Of Strength Training For Fat Loss
1. Burning More Calories
It is the calories you eat in your diet which pile up and form fat deposits in parts of your body. Thus you must aim to increase the number of calories you burn compared to those you consume. It is about creating a calorie deficit. When in this state, your body is forced to burn the fat deposits for energy. In the end, you will have a much leaner body.
It is estimated that weight training for just an hour will burn 365 to 545 calories for individuals in the weight bracket of 160 to 240 pounds. People who weigh less than 160 pounds will burn fewer calories while those with a weight of 240 pounds and above will burn more.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, two or more days of strength training every week will help you to burn 730 to 1090 calories. By so doing, strength training promotes fat loss.
2. Increasing Metabolism
The level of metabolism in your body is what will determine whether you burn fat or not. Increased metabolism helps your body process calories and burn fat quickly. Slow metabolism may spur the conversion of calories into fats to be stored in different parts of the body.
An individual’s metabolism is mainly dependent on the muscle mass in his or her body. Aging individuals tend to have a decreased muscle mass, which lowers metabolism levels, leading to the accumulation of fat all over the body.
That’s where strength training comes in your help. It builds up the lost muscle mass, increases metabolism, and helps burn fat even when resting. Exercise shouldn’t just be about sweating. It should be geared more towards the building of muscle mass.
3. Burning Fat Throughout
Did you know that strength training for weight loss has effects long after the workout ends? Weight training exercise usually strains and damages the muscle tissues. This must be repaired even when at rest. To make the healing possible, your body tends to draw in increased volumes of oxygen. Also, your metabolism is speeded up.
By increasing your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), strength training helps you to increase the fats lost. It is recommended that you go for high-intensity weight training and not low-intensity weight training. The former will help you to burn a high number of calories even when you are resting.
Research has shown evidence that levels of hormones that promote “lipolysis” ( a term for fat loss) increase following high-intensity strength training sessions.
Strength Training for Fat Loss Routines
Once you have made up your mind to cut that fat, the next logical step is to take up strength training seriously. It increases your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), thus helping you burn the fat continuously. It has an after-burn effect, which you may not get from a cardio workout. The following are some of the strength training for fat loss exercises you may want to try:
1. The Heavy Routine
Did you know that applying stress on your muscles is what’s going to spur their growth? Doing several reps with light weights dos not make your muscles stressed enough to respond with growth. You could be working out every day and eating a low-calorie diet, but that won’t result in muscle growth.
If you intend to get rid of all the fat deposited in your body, you need to use heavy weights. This applies to both men and women. As a woman, you could be afraid of building your muscles thinking that it will make you look more masculine. Far from it! Increased muscle mass is necessary for anyone who intends to burn body fat.
Heavy weights/low rep workouts create more exertion, thus helping you to burn more calories. It builds up your muscles so that the fat burning continues into the future.
For this routine, you will have to use free weights, which target a large number of muscle groups.
It involves doing compound exercises that rope in many muscle fibers. Thus, you are able to build muscle all over your body and burn more fats even when you are resting.
In this program, you may want to do 3 sets and 10 reps of the chest, back, shoulder, biceps, triceps, quads, hamstring and calve exercises.
On your rest days, you can do some cardio exercises in preparation for the next session of heavy lifting.
2. Light Weights, High Intensity
When using moderate weights, you should increase the number of reps for greater effect. This is the only way you will be able to work your muscles and start the fat loss process. By building up the muscles, you will help increase the metabolism levels leading to the burning of extra fats.
High-intensity weight training stimulates the production of the growth hormone, thus increasing muscles mass. As you already know, increased muscle mass is important when it comes to fat loss.
Also, the muscle fibers targeted during high rep exercises recover faster. The use of shorter rest intervals is, therefore, made possible. As you do the workout, your heart rate keeps increasing. The fat loss is, thus, heightened.
To pull off this routine, you may use compounds exercises or free weights only that the free weights should not be very heavy. You can use it to exercise your chest, back, shoulders, abs, biceps, triceps, quads, hamstrings, and calves. Only that you will increase the sets to 4 and reps to 15.
3. Circuit Training
Circuit training combines the benefits of weight training and cardio exercises. By bringing together the benefits of aerobic and anaerobic exercises, this method makes strength training for fat loss even more plausible. It makes use of lighter weights and higher reps.
On a daily basis, you do a set of exercises using one machine before moving on to another set on a different machine. You will move from one machine to another until you are through with the circuit. Then, you will go to the cardio machine and take some 10 minutes there. Once you are through, you will start the circuit all over again.
The reason for combining aerobic and anaerobic exercises is to get the benefits that both types of workouts have to offer. You will be better off physiologically because of combining both types of exercises. While aerobic endurance exercises make use of the slow-twitch muscles, anaerobic exercises target the fast-twitch muscles.
If you are doing it at the gym, you may want to book during the off hours. You don’t want to inconvenience other gym users by demanding to jump from one machine to another. Anyway, no gym would allow you to use multiple machines while other people also need them.
Again, the exercises will involve all the body parts including the chest, hamstrings, delts, abs, biceps, triceps, back, and calves. You may have to do between 10 and 30 reps depending on the exercise you are doing.
4. Doing Supersets
Strength training for fat loss could be made more effective by adopting the super-intensity technique. Not only will it make fat loss easier, but it will also build your muscles. It involves doing two consecutive exercises without resting in-between.
Supersets have been established to be more effective than the regular single-exercise routines with intervals of rest. During a superset exercise, lactic acid is produced in large amounts. Lactic acid is known to create strain in the muscles, thus increasing the rate of growth.
Also, doing supersets is more efficient in terms of the amount of time spent on it. Doing one set followed by another reduces the total length of time you need for the workout. After all, you are no longer wasting time on rest intervals.
By doing two sets of exercises without resting in between, you will be able to increase the level of activation of the muscle fibers. You should be careful on the exercises you choose to combine, especially when targeting to intensify activity in particular muscle groups. The result is faster growth and development in the targeted muscles.
Again, you may want to use these exercises on your chest, back, quads, abs, hamstring, biceps, triceps, and delts. You may want to do 3 sets of between 12 and 15 reps. This routine puts your muscles to maximum strain, thus increasing the number of calories burnt.
Strength Training Tips
Don’t just rush into strength training for the simple reason that you now understand its benefits. Do it in the correct way and strength training will help you to tone muscles, increase strength, improve bone density, and lose fat. If you approach it the wrong way, then you should forget about enjoying any of these benefits. Here are safety tips for a strength training session:
1 Warm Up
Start the exercise by warming up for a maximum of 10 minutes. After the exercise, cool down for a further ten minutes. You may try walking to warm up and stretching to cool down.
2 Focus More on Form and not Weight
You need to ensure that your body is correctly aligned to allow for smooth movement during the exercise. When done in the wrong form, strength training could result in injuries, thus slowing down your gains. Learn strength training routines using no weight and light ones for that matter. Make your lifts and descents slow and smooth. Be sure to isolate the muscle groups involved.
3 The Right Tempo
You need to take control of the workout by adopting the right tempo. If you don’t, you will end up losing momentum and compromise your muscle-gain efforts. You may want to count to three when raising and lowering the weights.
4 Breath Properly
The way you breathe determines whether you will succeed in your workout or not. As you lift the weight, exhale. It doesn’t matter if you are pulling or pushing. As you lower the weight, release.
5 Progressive Overload
Challenge the muscles through the gradual increase of resistance or weight. As a rule of thumb, the type of exercise will determine the weight to use. A good weight should tire the targeted muscles by the time you are doing the final two repetitions.
That’s without leaving you in poor form. If you cannot finish the last two reps, move to a lower weight. When it gets too easy, increase the weight by 1 or 2 pounds. Alternatively, do another 3 or more sets of the workout routine.
6 Don’t Change Your Routine.
An ideal workout routine should involve working out all the muscle groups twice or thrice a week. You may want to stick to a full-body strength exercise twice or thrice a week. Alternatively, you could break the workout into lower-body and upper-body sessions.
You will have to do each of the sessions at least twice a week. No matter your choice, strength training for fat loss will still turn out right.
7 Take Time to Rest
Strength training in all its forms results in tears in the muscle tissues. When the tears heal, the result is stronger, bigger muscles. So take a rest for 48 hours or more to allow for the full recovery of the muscles. When you come back for the next workout session, it will be much easier for you.
As you can see, strength training for fat loss is effective when done in the right way. Don’t push yourself at the beginning. You may want to start small and then slowly intensify your exercises. The target is to build muscles, increase metabolism, and burn more fats. The good thing about strength training is that it allows you to burn fat even during the time when you are at rest. You can try it beginning now!