It's a little known and under appreciated fact that the more muscle you have the more calories you burn, and a higher resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the result. As you can plainly see, resistance training is essential to fat loss and maintaining lean body mass (muscle).
In fact, it's as important as aerobics if not more so.
The truth is, if a person has limited time for either weight training or aerobics, I would recommend the weight training over the aerobics.
Several recent studies have found that resistance training maintains resting metabolic rate (RMR) better than aerobics and studies have shown resistance training is far superior to aerobics for maintaining the metabolically active tissue we need (muscle!) for a superior fat burning metabolism while on a diet. Lean muscle mass is the active tissue that burns calories and maintains our metabolic rate.
Your metabolism is the rate at which your body oxidizes (burns) calories to live.
About 10 percent of your total daily energy expenditure is used to convert the food you eat into fuel or blubber (fat). Another 20 percent or so is accounted for by exercise and the everyday physical activities of life. I don't believe these figures are written in stone, but you can get an idea of where the calories you eat are going at least.
However, the biggest block of energy is consumed by your resting metabolic rate (RMR), which accounts for 70 percent of your daily expenditure. Your RMR is basically the amount of energy used to fuel essential functions such as temperature regulation, breathing, blood circulation and so on.
With the RMR accounting for this big a chunk of your daily calories, it behooves you to focus on the RMR as a key spot to manipulate.
Can the RMR be altered? Of course!
Your RMR is ultimately controlled by your genetic makeup, but age, gender, and body composition also play an important role. Altering your body composition by increasing your muscle mass and decreasing bodyfat will increase RMR.
For example, people who are naturally blessed with a higher RMR will burn up to 200 calories more each day, even when they perform identical activities.
Weight lifting is the only exercise that has been proven to keep a persons metabolism elevated over long periods of time. Resistance training will burn approximately the same number of calories as if you went for a run or hopped around in an aerobics class, but the calorie burning and metabolism raising effects of weight training continue far after the activity has ended.
Aerobic exercise can never offer that benefit.
After aerobic exercise, RMR returns to normal within an hour or so, resulting in the consumption of a few additional calories. Big deal.
After weight lifting, RMR remains elevated for up to 15 hours! Bottom line, weight training builds muscle and muscle is approximately four times more metabolically active than body fat. The goal of any successful diet should be to gain muscle and lose fat, and that rule applies to everyone regardless of background, sex, or age.
Weight train three to four days per week using rest periods of 30-60 seconds between sets. Workout no longer than an hour to keep anabolic (muscle building) hormones high and catabolic (muscle wasting) hormones low.
Overtraining is a quick way to lose muscle along with bodyfat, which ultimately sabotages long term fat loss.
Maintaining muscle mass is always the goal and a key factor to maintaining a high metabolic rate so fat loss continues at a slow and steady pace.
I highly recommend being a member of a decent health club/gym that has an adequate weight room, though a small investment in a decent set of dumbbells and a bench will give you a perfectly reasonable home gym.
Basic dumbbell and free weight exercise guides are available in every fitness magazine, online, or book store. Consult the weight training report in this e-book for more indepth information regarding weight training and the different exercises and routines to follow.
Bodybuilders and other people already serious about their weight training may want to consult my book Priming the Anabolic Environment for more advanced routines and tips.
Attempt to lose no more than 1-1.5 pounds of fat per week. Quick weight loss schemes are a sure fired way of losing muscle mass and which only leads to metabolic problems in the long run.
When ever I hear of some person who lost a large amount of weight in a very short amount of time, I know they gave up a large amount of muscle mass, water, and even bone tissue along with the fat. I know they will be unsuccessful in the long run.
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Metabolism. There isn’t perhaps a more frequently used word in the weight loss (and weight gain) vocabulary than this. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to overhear people talking about their struggles or triumphs over the holiday bulge or love handles in terms of whether their metabolism is working, or not.