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Why resistance training is the key to weight-loss?

There is still a huge stigma around the weight training aftermath when it comes to weight loss goals for many men and women out there. It is still strongly believed that weight training is only meant for body builders and those who expect to become bigger and more "bulky" looking. Those who wishes to simply lose weight and become slimmer usually chooses cardio training and dieting as the main actions for success, however that often leads into very poor results and even greater body dysmorphia related issues.

Why is that? And why the weight training can turn those poor results to the best outcome you never expected?

Don't get me wrong, I am in no way condemning cardio and nutrition, it has a rightful place in fitness and many fitness goals can be reached with focusing on those aspects alone, however I want to bring the light to a few key reasons why it is not enough for a successful weight-loss journey for most people (when looking to lose a great amount of weight). So let's have a look where cardio and diet falls short when working on weight loss goals:

  • Even though cardio provides the calorie burn needed for weight loss and also develops a better cardiovascular fitness, in many cases it doesn't create a huge calorie deficit that would make a positive impact on your body changes

  • Calories burned during cardio are lesser than with some other training approaches. This creates a bigger need for a more strict nutrition and dietary choices, more "clean" nutrition and less food to be consumed to still create an adequate calorie deficit for successful weight-loss

  • Restrictive nutrition often develops into starvation on many different levels, which leads into further mental and physical stress on your body, thinking that food is the enemy and that the least possible amount of it is the solution as that becomes the main key action to create calorie deficit.

  • Vigorous cardio and especially repetitive type of cardio, create muscle imbalances which lead into muscle or even joint related injuries down the line. If you immerse yourself into only one specific activity, for example running, without additional mobility and strength training to support your knees/ankles/hips, those joints will start suffering from the impact and the poor quality of technique in running, which can then fully stop you from being active due to developed pain while moving.

Knowing all this, I must mention that cardio and especially nutrition still has it's rightful place in a weight-loss journey, no doubt about it, however in my opinion these two elements only bring the 60% effort, the other 40% belong to the resistance training. So, it has to be a combined balance between these approaches to be able to lose weight effectively and also maintain the body-weight at a level that you are happy with, but weight training is usually massively overlooked and pushed aside due to misconceptions like these:

"Weight training will make me look bulky"

"I don't want to look like a body builder"

"I want to stay feminine and not have too much muscle showing"

And many other sayings that I have heard in my line of work. However the science and the truth is very different. In fact, for a person to build an adequate amount of muscle, it too takes years of hard work and be on a much different scale of nutrition and training needs to see even a smallest progress in the muscle volume, so for those who are still afraid of such statements like above, I can assure you, that by "accident" that will never happen.

To give you a greater peace of mind, let me explain what truly happens when we start doing weight training and why is it such an important tool in order to lose weight successfully?

  • Generally, muscles do need more energy to perform than they do when resting. However, muscles also burn much greater amount of calories after the workouts than other tissues do. The so called "after burn" is one of the great benefits from weight training. So you will burn energy not only while you train but also for the whole time of your recovery which will take longer than from steady pace cardio

  • Your resting metabolic rate (RBM) will increase with a greater muscle mass. RBM is a measure of how much energy our body burns without any movement, so with a higher RBM you will naturally burn more calories per day than before, which will help create a calorie deficit without having to restrict yourself in nutrition.

  • Weight training can deliver the benefits in a much shorter sessions, so you do get to save precious time which you can direct to other obligations during your day. You can even get away with training at a 60-80% capacity for 30min - 3 times per week and still see changes in your weight loss journey (obviously with the additional nutrition and occasional cardio implemented with it), but you do not have to spend 1,5h in a gym every single day, running your legs off on a treadmill like you might have done so far.

  • Weight training not only helps you lose weight, but also keep your body strong and feel more confident with your body shape after the weight goes down. Without needing to grow your muscles, you get them strong and firm so your body stays firm, less of stretched skin left as an aftermath and the confidence that you develop with weight training will too shine through beyond of how you look.

  • Changed looks and reached body goals are great, but one important (the most important) result of weight training is health. Joint and muscle strength and stability is something that only can be reached with the appropriate weight training and mobility that comes with it. This will keep you injury free and mobile even at an elder stages in life. No more painful knees or lower back, no more struggles when playing with your kids or grandkids, better sleep quality and lover stress levels than ever before are all direct results from weight training.

Is that not enough? Do you think that all of those benefits are still trumped by the misconception of "bulky" looks and bodybuilder types? I'd say this is a good time to look at the facts and try something that you haven't done yet and leave the same practices that bring no results behind.

If you are still struggling to comprehend this, don't stress and take one step at a time! You don't have to dive in deep into the weight training with expectation to lift super heavy weights and do all the difficult exercises. Start with the basics, add slight resistance to the workouts that you might be already doing or book a gym class where some weights will be included and thoroughly explained for you, or find yourself a fitness pro who will teach you how to adapt your body to such training and soon enough you will start seeing the results that you want!

If you are looking more inspiration to get yourself comfortable with the idea of weight training and want to see what it truly can offer for you, visit my Instagram page and let's explore it together !

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