As more American’s continue to gain weight, the demand for weight loss strategies is high. The challenge is to uncover strategies that actually work. Fortunately, scientists are learning more about what works and what doesn’t work. In recent years strength training has been linked to better weight management. Some scientists are writing entire books on the connection between strength training and weight management.1
When you look at the numbers it’s clear, strength training should be a part of everyone’s weight management game plan. Unfortunately, not strength training is a mistake too many Americans’ are making. Here are five reasons why strength training can put you on the fast track to a leaner, healthier body!
When evaluating strength training consider the calories you burn per minute. An intense full-body strength workout will burn 150 to 200 calories in 20 to 30 minutes. That’s 8 to 12 calories per minute - a fantastic return on your investment. By investing 1% of your time (just 60 minutes a week) you can burn up to 400 calories. That’s 20,800 calories or 6 pounds of body fat in one year.
The number one reason people give for not working out is a lack of time. Fortunately, the most effective strength workouts are brief and infrequent. Great results can be achieved with just two, thirty minute workouts per week. That’s right in less than one hour per week you can build muscle, gain strength and protect your body from the harmful effects of muscle loss. At MEDFITNESS, our full-body workouts take less than 30 minutes and don’t require an appointment. This flexible and efficient format makes it easy to get in your workout and comply with the program, long term!
The 4 Day Calorie Burn
One of the most overlooked benefits of strength training is the calories you burn after your workout. Scientists refer to this after burn as the EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption). With strength training the EPOC is big. Research has shown that basal metabolic rate (the rate at which our body burns calories at rest) can increase by 7 to 10 percent up to 4 days following a strength workout.2 For the average adult this adds up to a lot of calories being burned off.
If the average 200 pound adult completes a strength workout on Monday, they could expect to burn approximately 390 calories over the next 4 days. Multiply this number by 2 (2 strength workouts per week) and you end up with 780 calories per week. In one year you will have burned off 40,000 calories or 11 pounds of body fat. These are big numbers having investing less than 1% of your time (about 60 minutes a week).
The 24/7 Calorie Burn
Adding muscle to your body also increases basal metabolism. One pound of muscle burns approximately 7 calories per day.3 Gaining 10 pounds of muscle will burn an additional 70 calories per day. In one year you will have burned over 25,000 calories, the equivalent of 7 pounds of body fat.
These numbers are significant because the average American begins losing muscle (about ½ pound per year) beginning at age 40. Reversing this trend makes a big difference. Compare the 40 year old who loses 10 pounds of muscle to one that gains 10 pounds of muscle. The person gaining 10 pounds will have burned an extra 262,000 calories (74 pounds) in 10 years. The more years you strength train, the bigger these numbers become. It’s easy to see how a lifetime of strength training can help you manage your weight!
Quality Weight Loss
More often than not, weight loss leads to muscle loss. This is counterproductive because it diminishes the calorie burning benefits of building muscle. One of the best ways to prevent muscle loss when losing weight is to strength train while maintaining good nutrition.
1. Nelson, M. 2008. Strong Women Stay Slim. New York, NY. Bantam Books
2. Westcott, Wayne, Ph.D. “The Essential Role of Resistance Exercise for Fat Loss and Fitness.” Club Industry Conference and Exposition for Fitness Business Professionals. 2011
3. Westcott, Wayne, Ph.D. “The Essential Role of Resistance Exercise for Fat Loss and Fitness.” Club Industry Conference and Exposition for Fitness Business Professionals. 2011