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Resistance Training for Weight Loss

This blog was created to explain how resistance training (weights training) can aid in weight loss, how it affects bodily processes and benefits of resistance training.

If you have read and understood the energy systems blog post, resistance training is under the anaerobic system. This means that resistance training uses stored ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate) within the muscles for short term intense exercise. This is why resistance training works with short sets and rest in between as your body physically can't accomodate long term exercise. Muscles replenish ATP without oxygen, that's why it is short supply and needs to be replenished quickly.

After lifting a set - 50% of ATP restored after 30 sec, 75% of ATP restored after 60 sec and after 3-5 mins all ATP should be restored.

Now, let's go through what the benefits are of weights training:

  • Increased lean muscle mass ad functionality - consistent resistance training means that our bodies will have to adapt to the physical stress that is being placed on it by the resistance. Our body adapts by producing micro tears during exercise and rebuilding those micro tears through nutrition and rest. Through rebuilding those micro tears our muscles will grow and in strength and size to cope with the stress that has been placed on it. Gaining this strength means that daily activities will become easier to perform and we will find ourselves being more functionally able.

  • Increased BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and metabolism - this is a very good thing for us who want to lose weight. BMR is the amount of energy we need just to stay alive, so if our muscle mass increases even slightly, our BMR will rise meaning that we will use more energy just by doing absolutely nothing. We just need to think of muscles as our engines, the larger the engine, the more fuel it needs to function. Our daily metabolic rate will also rise meaning that we will burn our fuel faster than someone that has limited muscle mass. This is because muscle mass is more metabolically active, it needs to be fed much more than fat mass does and it is our fuels first choice to feed the muscles, it is essential for our function and to keep the muscles working. So the more muscle mass we have, the more energy and food we eat will be used to serve as fuel for muscles. EXAMPLE - there are two people both weighing in at 80kg, however, one of them does regular resistance training and the other does none. They both eat 2000 calories daily of carbohydrates. The person who does regular resistance training will have a much less chance of gaining body fat as a higher percentage of the eaten carbs will be used to fuel the muscles.

  • Reduced body fat - this is an effect of higher BMR and metabolic rate also. As stated above, the more muscle mass we have the more percentage of carbs eaten will be used as energy. This means that less will be stored as body fat. As we do aerobic exercise, our bodies tend to use more body fat as fuel (read steady state cardio for weight loss blog). If we have more muscles mass, our bodies will use more body fat as fuel during aerobic exercise to keep feeding our muscle mass.

  • Stronger bones - as our muscle mass adapts, our bones will also have to adapt to the stress also. Our bones will become stronger and less brittle. Resistance training is also helpful for those who have arthritis diseases. As our muscles adapt around our bones, our bones will also become stronger especially as we age.

To give ourselves the best chance of effectively training for lean muscle mass, we need to know how to effectively let our muscles recover for full recovery. If we continuously put stress on out bodies without letting it adapt and recover, we will find ourselves suffering instead of reaping the benefits. This means adequate rest and recovery is needed if we want our bodies to reap the weight loss benefits of resistance training. Some of the ways we can rest are:

  • Days with no physical or low intensity physical activity (rest days)

  • Nutrition - taking in protein and unprocessed carbs pre and post workout especially

  • Adequate sleep

  • Massage or stretching - this increases blood flow and lengthens muscles back to its relaxed state

  • Meditation or anything that mentally relaxes you

General rule of thumb for recovery is that if you are still sore from previous resistance training, don't train that same muscle group again until soreness is gone. Soreness will last longer for those initially starting out resistance training as our bodies need to adapt the most as it is foreign territory for our muscles. The more advanced we are at resistance training, we will find that we recover faster.

As we go along our journey to better health and weight loss, we need to understand the importance of resistance training. It is a vital part of our health and weight loss and should be incorporated as a staple part of our exercise regime. Once we start to consistently perform resistance training, we will start to be able to feel the difference ourselves in our daily lives, the way we move and function will be a lot easier and more efficient. And while we move and function better, the whole time our metabolism is rising and we are using more fuel for energy instead of storage. Win win situation if you ask me.

I hope this blog post has given you some clarity in terms of how and why we should implement resistance training into our training programs. Since we now understand what it can do for us health and weight loss wise, I hope we all implement some sort of resistance training in the future.