Losing fat should be simple— take in fewer calories in your diet than
you use during metabolism or exercise and the pounds will melt away.
Unfortunately, your body tries to keep you at a constant weight; it’s
called your weight set-point. If you go on a weight loss diet, your
body’s weight control center makes you hungry and slows down your
metabolism, which makes you gain back the weight you lost. Fortunately,
you can change your weight set-point by increasing muscle mass. The best
way to add muscle is to lift weights.
Avoid the Trap
are incredibly active tissues. At rest, they burn calories
continuously. When muscles contract, they really turn up the heat.
During exercise, muscle metabolism can increase as much as 15-20 times
above rest. Scientists, using a technique called direct calorimetry,
found that the body’s heat-generating capacity is directly proportional
to muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the greater your metabolic
rate. The best way to stoke your metabolic fire is to add muscle and
then keep your new tissue active.
There are right and
wrong ways to lose weight. Think of what happened to your girlfriend
after she lost 20 or 30 pounds. Did she look healthy and athletic, or
did she appear gaunt and drawn with a lot of excess skin? Probably, she
looked terrible. She looked more like a patient with anorexia than the
picture of health. And to make matters worse, she probably gained all
the weight back and then some within six to eight months.
Her problem: A good
portion of her lost weight was muscle tissue. Losing muscle slows
metabolism, which makes it difficult to maintain fat loss. She dug
herself in an energy deficit hole that made weight gain inevitable.
Don’t fall into the same trap that your girlfriend did. Build muscle
through weight training, and you will find it much easier to lose weight
and keep it off.
Yo-Yo Dieting: Uh Oh!
Americans are clearly losing the “battle of the bulge.” Recent
studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed
that over 50 percent of Americans are obese or overweight. What is most
alarming is that the population obesity rate has increased a whopping 50
percent since 1991. While we don’t totally understand the reasons for
the obesity explosion, lack of exercise and excess calories in the diet
are at the core of the problem.
women spend their lives on yo-yo diets— endless cycles of losing weight
and gaining it back again. These women are suckers for any crackpot
diet that comes along. Sometimes they restrict calories, other times
fat, and still other times carbohydrates. In the short run, these women
usually lose some weight, but they usually gain back what they lost and
PHAT (Pretty Hot and Tempting) Instead of Fat
When are the busiest
times of the year in the gym? Right after the New Year and a month or
two before summer. Why? Because people want to lose fat so they can look
better. After the New Year, they have to make amends for a month of
porking out. Just before summer, they realize that they will soon have
to display their Moby whale bodies on the beaches of the world. Sure,
they want to be healthier, but health takes a back seat to looks every
time. If they can combine good health and looks— all the better.
(usually without exercise) is by far the most popular weight loss
strategy in America. Unfortunately, people lose muscle mass as well as
fat. Most studies show that if you lose 20 pounds from a weight-loss
diet without exercise, nearly 30 percent of the weight loss will be from
Sure, you will have
lost weight. But, have you gotten closer to your goal of looking better
in a swimsuit or sexier in your clothes? Not by a long shot. More
typically, you look like you just completed extended chemotherapy
What if you could lose
weight but look better? That’s what you want, right? Scientific studies
have shown that this is not only possible, but also probably the key to
permanent weight loss. With the right diet and exercise program, you
can maintain almost all your muscle mass, even when you lose substantial
amounts of weight.
Dr. William Kraemer
and colleagues from Penn State and Ball State Universities found that
people who combined caloric restriction with a weight training and
aerobic exercise program maintained muscle mass while making sizable
improvements in strength, body composition and aerobic capacity. The
study included three groups: Subjects who dieted but didn’t exercise;
those who dieted and did aerobic exercise; and those who dieted and did
aerobics and weight training. In 12 weeks, each group lost the same
amount of weight— about 20 pounds. The big difference between groups was
the amount of muscle lost. People who dieted without exercising lost
nearly seven pounds of muscle. Interestingly, those who dieted and did
aerobics lost over four pounds of muscle. Only the group that dieted
while also lifting weights and doing aerobics maintained muscle mass.
They lost only about 1/2 pound of muscle, even though they lost a
substantial amount of body weight. The bottom line from this study: When
you add weight training and aerobics to your weight loss program, you
lose more fat and less muscle.
Not all studies agree
with Dr. Kraemer’s research. Other investigators have shown that adding
weight training to a weight loss diet program makes no contribution to
maintaining muscle mass or improving overall body composition. Why was
Dr. Kraemer’s group successful while other researchers came up empty
handed? Kraemer’s study carefully controlled the exercise intensity,
using personal trainers to make sure that people actually did the work.
Look around in any
health club. Some people spend more time socializing than working hard.
You can’t build muscle and lose fat by looking at yourself in the mirror
or talking to your friend on the next machine. Push yourself when you
do resistive or aerobic exercises. You don’t have to exercise for hours
and hours, but you do need to be serious about your program. Which is why I prefer to workout in the comfort of my own home. I go to the basement in my workout clothes, do my workout and I'm done! No fuss, I don't have to think about what I'm doing it's already done for me!
The Joys of Muscle Mass
Until recently, health
experts downplayed resistive exercise as an important component in a
health promotion program. However, many recent studies have demonstrated
that this type of exercise deserves a central place in your fitness and
weight control program.
People with more
muscle have a higher metabolic rate. While metabolic rate drops during
rapid weight loss— regardless of whether you maintain muscle mass— over
the long term, maintaining muscle mass seems to be the most important
factor determining whether you can keep the weight off. As discussed,
you are certainly going to look better if, after losing weight, you have
maintained your muscle mass. People on “yo-yo” weight control programs
tend to lose muscle during periods of weight loss and replace it with
fat during periods of weight gain.
Muscle is critical for
quality of life. People who lose a lot of muscle mass during their
weight loss programs usually lose some fitness. They can’t do as much
physically, so their performance declines when skiing, playing golf,
hitting a tennis ball, or carrying groceries.
Muscle holds a lot of
your body water and is essential for regulating body temperature. Losing
muscle mass during a weight loss program robs your body of its precious
water stores. Less body water means you will have more trouble
regulating heat and body temperature. Muscle water loss also decreases
your blood volume, which can impair endurance capacity.
Finally, muscle mass
is critical to bone health. Many studies show that muscle and bone
strength are highly related. Women lose bone mass with age. Maintaining
muscle strength and mass helps prevent age-related bone mass loss and
Final Frontier of Fat Management
building muscle is not the magic bullet for weight management. It
helps— a lot— but it’s not the total answer. Most studies, including Dr.
Kraemer’s, show that you lower your metabolic rate whenever you lose
weight; regardless of whether or not you maintain muscle mass.
Maintaining muscle mass certainly prevents some, but not all, of the
decrease. This has confused researchers and is the subject of intense
study. If muscle mass is closely linked to metabolic rate, why is
metabolism depressed even when you maintain muscle mass?
The answer lies in the
complex genetic controls of body weight and fat stores. Your body
maintains a balance in its tissues to survive. When you remove fat from
fat cells, you disturb their balance. They initiate complex
physiological control mechanisms to maintain the biological status quo.
Over the short term, increased muscle mass cannot compensate fully for
these natural controls. However, over the long term, the natural links
between muscle mass and metabolic rate most likely reestablish
Certainly, from the
standpoint of the primary directive of looking good in your clothes or
swimsuit, losing fat while gaining muscle is the key. If you want to
lose weight and improve your appearance, your direction is clear— eat
less, but include weight training and aerobics in your program. If you
don’t do resistive exercises while trying to lose weight, you are going
to lose muscle mass and will not get the results you want.
So the moral of the story is do weight training! If you have no clue where to even start then maybe it's time to get support in helping you chose a program and fitness routine to meet your needs and get you the body you want. I encourage you to check out my site and the many fitness programs that beachbody has to offer!
I am getting ready to start Chalean Extreme
on Monday the 16th! Even though I have done weight lifting programs in the past Chalene does a program with lean phasing over a period of 90 days. She teaches you how to lift heavy weights, eat healthy and get the results that you want! So if you are interested in trying this program in the comfort of your own home please join my site
and I'd be glad to hook you up with everything you need to get started! Just think in 90 days from now you could be healthier, happier and on your way to a total lifestyle change! Not another fad diet!!!
Labels: weight lifting, weight loss, why you should lift weights, women