Losing Fat, Gaining Muscle
Many women believe lifting weights will make them gain weight. In a way, this notion is true. By strength training, you may add a few pounds to your weight in the short term, but over time, those pounds of muscle will contribute to a leaner, healthier you. If you have yet to incorporate strength training into your fitness regime and are hesitating to do so because you think you will end up gaining weight, you may be missing out on several key health benefits of exercise. Strength training is essential for achieving fitness relationship goals and maintaining permanent results because it can help to build muscle, boost your metabolism, and even burn fat!
Muscle is denser than fat
Focusing more on body composition and less on the numbers on the scale can help you get some perspective about whether your workout plan is paying off. It’s important to remember that muscle is denser and smaller in volume than fat. This is why five pounds of muscle looks so different than five pounds of body fat on the same person. Even though the scale weight is the same, the distribution of lean muscle tissue is much more compact than fat. If you want to maintain a toned look, focus more on lean muscle gains and less on the number on the scale.
Muscle is a hot commodity as you gain in years
If you don’t preserve your muscles with strength training, you will lose about a half pound of muscle1 per year in your 30s and 40s. Once you hit 50, you can lose a pound a year. With less muscle comes less strength to do the activities you enjoy doing every day—gardening, hiking, carrying your children or grandchildren, and getting through a challenging full body workout at Curves.
As you strengthen your muscles, you bolster your bones
In addition to helping you stay lean and strong, a whole body workout that includes resistance training will help strengthen your bones. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center reports that regular exercise is essential for treating and preventing osteoporosis.2 Bone is living tissue that can be strengthened with weight-bearing and weight training exercises.
The calorie-burning effects of strength training add up over time
Research published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism3 showed that the increased calorie burning effects of a strength training workout may last up to 16 hours after a person leaves the gym. If you regularly engage in full body workouts that include strength training—for example, three to four times a week—this increase in metabolism will add up over time.
Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat
The muscle tissue in your body contributes to the number of calories you burn at rest, known as your basal metabolic rate4, or BMR. As you build more muscle through strength training, you will increase your BMR. And by raising your BMR, you will help your body burn more calories during and after your workout. A higher resting metabolic rate will allow you to eat more without gaining weight, as well as help stave off obesity-related conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
For all these reasons, strength training is a key component of a full body workout. Whether you are looking to lose weight or simply get healthier, some of the most powerful benefits of exercise come from a strength training workout plan.
1 American Council on Exercise
2 National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
3 National Institutes of Health