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Why Strength Training Is the Workout You Need If You’re Trying to Lose Weight

When you think about the best type of workouts for weight loss, your mind might not immediately jump to strength training, but it should. While it’s definitely true that cardio workouts get your heart working harder and as a result, help your body burn calories, strength training is what’s really going to give your weight-loss goals that extra boost.

Before we really get into it, we want to make it clear that weight loss as a goal isn’t necessarily for everyone. For anyone who has a history of disordered eating, even if you’re in recovery, you should speak with a doctor before you pursue any weight-loss goal, including starting a new exercise routine. And even if you don’t have a history of disordered eating, it’s really important to have realistic expectations and make sure you’re pursuing weight loss in a healthy way. Results can be incredibly difficult to come by, may take a very long time to achieve, and are also really hard to maintain. Also important to remember: Exercise is only part of the equation. You have to create a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you consume in a day) in order to lose weight, which requires not just working out, but also being cognizant about what you’re eating, making sure to eat quality calories and watch portion sizes. You need to get good sleep, regularly. You need to have lowered stress levels. You need to take care of your other bodily needs. With so many factors at play, it’s no wonder weight loss is a very unique experience for every person.

If weight loss is a goal of yours, incorporating strength training into your routine is key. Here’s the thing, while strength training may not give you the instant heart-pounding, sweat-dripping satisfaction of, say, Zumba or an indoor cycling class, in the long run, building lean muscle definitely works in favor of your weight-loss goals. The short version? Having more muscle means your body burns more calories at rest. The long version? Read on for more on why strength training is the best exercise for weight loss.

STRENGTH TRAINING HELPS BUILD LEAN MUSCLE

“Aerobic exercise is actually the most effective in losing weight, however, it’s not the best at burning fat and increasing lean mass (muscle),” says Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., founder of TS Fitness. When you’re losing weight strictly through cardio, it’s normal to lose muscle and fat. And if resistance training isn’t a part of your plan to counteract this, you could actually be slowing down your metabolism by losing lean muscle mass, rather than revving it up (which can lead to weight-loss plateaus).

Strength training is better at much building muscle than a cardio-only routine, explains Michaela Devries-Aboud, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at McMaster University. “When you lift weights, you overload the muscle and it works to adapt to be able to lift more weight. The way the muscle adapts is by increasing something called myofibrillar size (the contractile units of the muscle),” she explains. Resistance training stimulates this growth, which leads to an increase in muscle mass over time. “And while aerobic exercise can also [stimulate this process], this increase is not as great as it is with resistance exercise.”

MORE MUSCLE = A HIGHER BMR (BASE METABOLIC RATE)

Having more lean muscle means your body will burn more calories at rest. Having more muscle increases your everyday base metabolic rate, or BMR (AKA, how many calories your body would burn just to keep itself running if you did nothing but binge on Netflix all day). “Muscle mass is a more metabolically expensive tissue,” explains Devries-Aboud. “The metabolic demand of a pound of muscle is greater than it is for a pound of fat, so just sitting around, the amount of energy needed to maintain a pound of muscle per day is greater than that of a pound of fat. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn throughout the day.”

“Muscle is constantly being broken down, recreated, and synthesized, and all these processes require energy. The more muscle you have, the more energy it takes for this process,” adds Tamir. So by building more muscle, you’re stoking the fires of your metabolism. By increasing your BMR and burning more calories at rest, you’re also increasing your calorie deficit, which is necessary for weight loss. (Get all of the formulas and information you need to figure out how many calories you should eat for weight loss.)

And don’t freak out if you don’t see huge results on the scale: “Go by how your clothes fit, because muscle is more compact than fat,” suggests Devries-Aboud. If you’re not losing as much weight as you think you should be, you’re probably building muscle as you’re losing fat, and that’s a good thing! (And no, you won’t get bulky.)

“That new muscle has a huge influence on decreasing body fat,” explains Holly Perkins, B.S., C.S.C.S. “The net result is that you are tighter and leaner, regardless of what the scale says.”

YOU’LL STILL BURN CALORIES DURING A STRENGTH WORKOUT

Even though cardio gets a lot of the credit when it comes to calorie-torching workouts, you can still get a great burn during a strength-training session by adding in some heart-pumping elements. There are several things you can do maximize your burn, says Perkins: Move faster between exercises, don’t rest between sets, move quickly during each set, increase your reps, and choose heavier weights (but don’t go so heavy that you risk injury, of course). Or, “add a five-minute cardio burst in-between strength moves: Hop on the treadmill and jog or sprint for five minutes,” says Perkins.

“These methods work mostly because they increase your heart rate during the workout,” she explains. “An increase in heart rate means a greater need for fuel, and a greater need for fuel means that your body will demand more calories. Also, as a result of an intense workout, your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, will [go up and] result in more calories being burned after the workout. Think of EPOC as a temporary boost to your metabolism.” This is known as the afterburn effect.

HERE’S HOW TO ADD STRENGTH TRAINING INTO YOUR WEIGHT-LOSS PLAN

At the end of the day, you still have to burn more calories than you take in to lose weight, and even though building muscle can help keep that up long-term, it’s still important to chip away at calories on a day-to-day basis. “Having a challenging cardiovascular routine helps in your caloric deficit,” says Tamir.

Moral of the story: Do both strength training and cardio, says Tamir. It’s important to include both types of training in a successful weight-loss plan. In general, Tamir recommends strength training three to four times a week for 45 to 60 minutes. “Strength training also gives you the ability to endure more during your aerobic training,” notes Tamir. “The stronger you are, the less effort it takes for you to complete aerobic exercise.”

This means you can increase your performance in cardio-based activities: “For example, having strong glutes for running helps you go faster for longer, which burns more calories. And doing exercises to strengthen your core can help you maintain form for biking, which can also help you burn more calories,” says Tamir.

So no need to ditch the dance cardio or treadmill workout—just throw some weights into your routine a few times a week, too.

The post Why Strength Training Is the Workout You Need If You’re Trying to Lose Weight appeared first on Under Armour.

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HIIT for Beginners Week 2: Bodyweight Strength Circuit

WELCOME TO HIIT FOR BEGINNERS!

Today’s session features a body weight-only interval training strength circuit that can easily be done in a small space at home. In the workout video below, we’ll focus on multimuscle moves designed to bring your heart rate up while also building strength and endurance. Listen to your body throughout the sessions, and modify or skip any moves that are too much for your current fitness level. (I’ll also provide options throughout the routines to help you make it work for you.)

HIIT FOR BEGINNERS WEEK 2: BODY-WEIGHT STRENGTH CIRCUIT

This workout can be logged as “Calisthenics” in your MyFitnessPal app.

Tell us when you’ve completed this week’s workout. Share it in the comments below, or tag us in your checkins @MyFitnessPal so we can cheer you on!

HERE IS YOUR WEEK 2 WORKOUT SCHEDULE:

Day 1: HIIT for Beginners: Body-Weight Strength Circuit

Day 2: Moderate-Intensity Cardio (walking, cycling or try this steady-state session)

Day 3: Active Rest Day

Day 4:  Total-Body Strength Training (try this 30-minute session)

Day 5: Stretching or Flexibility Work (try this 8-minute total-body stretch)

Day 6: HIIT for Beginners: Walking Intervals

Day 7: Active Rest Day

Looking for a full at-home program that includes everything from high-intensity interval training to total-body strength training, brain fitness, prehab exercises and more? Check out “Walk STRONG: 6 Week Total Transformation System!” This balanced program has everything you need to succeed, including online support and accountability. Save 20% when you use the exclusive MyFitnessPal promo code “3Z74EZAT” at checkout on Amazon.com.

The post HIIT for Beginners Week 2: Bodyweight Strength Circuit appeared first on Under Armour.

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Fall Back into Fitness Day 4: Strength Circuits

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Day four of the Fall Back into Fitness Event is circuit training. Circuit training refers to a series of resistance training exercises performed in a circuit fashion,  with little to no rest in between.

In the workout video, I’ll take you through circuits that include multi-muscle moves like squat curl to presses, deadlifts, pushups and more exercises designed to keep your heart rate up while you sculpt your entire body. We’ll use a heavier set and a lighter set of dumbbells. I’ll offer modifications throughout the routine that use a sturdy chair, so feel free to adjust it to meet your needs and current fitness level.

Prefer to do your own thing? Awesome! Schedule 20–60 minutes of your favorite circuit-style, total-body strength-training workout.

Log this workout in your MyFitnessPal app as “CIRCUIT TRAINING, GENERAL”

Hey, Team! Let us know once you’ve completed your workout today! Tell us about it in the comments below, or tag us in your social media check-ins  #MFPFallIntoFitness @myfitnesspal so we can cheer you on!

The post Fall Back into Fitness Day 4: Strength Circuits appeared first on Hello Healthy.

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Fall Back into Fitness Day 1: Total-Body Strength Training

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Welcome to the first day of our Fall Back into Fitness Event! Today’s workout video is all about total-body strength training.

What you’ll need:

  1. Dumbbells
  • A heavier set for larger muscle groups (legs, chest and back)
  • A lighter set for the arms, shoulders and upper back
  1. Sturdy chair
  • The chair will help target your major muscle groups with exercises like squat sits, chest presses, bent-over rows, overhead presses, biceps curls, lunges, triceps extensions, planks and standing cross crunches.

Instead of using a specific rep count, we’ll focus on time under tension during the exercises, so feel free to adjust the amount of repetitions based on your current fitness level. The goal is to hit muscular fatigue while still using proper form and alignment during each rep.

Prefer to do your own thing? Awesome! Schedule 20–60 minutes of your favorite strength-training workout that targets the whole body. Be sure to hit every major muscle group and aim to work to muscular fatigue. Check in with us here or on social media once you’re done.

Log this workout in your MyFitnessPal app as “CIRCUIT TRAINING, GENERAL”

Hey, Team! Let us know once you’ve completed your workout today! Tell us about it in the comments below, or tag us in your social media check-ins #MFPFallIntoFitness @myfitnesspal so we can cheer you on!

The post Fall Back into Fitness Day 1: Total-Body Strength Training appeared first on Hello Healthy.

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