In my last blog I stated that a critical element in any weight loss or weight control program is strength training. Building muscle helps with weight loss in many ways. Of course you burn up some calories while doing the actual exercises, and also for a period of time immediately after you stop, something we call the exercise "after burn." However, the muscle benefits go way beyond that alone. Adding a little muscle to your frame increases your overall metabolic rate. You burn more calories day and night, both when you are active, and even at rest. One scientific study showed that adding three extra pounds of muscle, something easily attained in a several month weight training program, increased metabolic rate by 7 percent. You become a better calorie burning machine.
In addition, many dieters tend to starve themselves a little. Unfortunately when your body senses a "starvation mode," it tends to lose or give up muscle tissue (the good metabolically active stuff) and tries instead to hold on to the fat stores. This unwanted muscle loss actually makes your scale weight look better temporarily but you have not lost body fat, and you have lowered your overall metabolic rate, making you more likely to gain, not lose, further weight.
So, for effective permanent weight loss and control:
- Eat right
- Do aerobic/cardiovascular exercises (30 to 60 minutes daily, if possible)
- Pump some iron (2 to 3 times a week)
Only doing these three things in combination give you the best odds of winning the weight loss game.
For more information, read A Ket to Losing Fat: Part 1.