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Strength Training and Weight Loss

Did you know that resistance training does much more than build strong muscles and bones?  Research in the past few years has confirmed that lifting weights changes your metabolism in ways that improve health and well-being.  Weight loss, improved blood pressure, cholesterol levels, insulin sensitivity, lipid profiles, cardiovascular function and body composition are all benefits of weight training.

Resistance exercise also improves resting metabolic rate.  That means that you body burns energy faster when you are not moving.

A review of research studies noted that resistance training programs typically boost muscle mass by a minimum of 2.2-4.4 pounds.  Many studies show that weight training programs also reduce visceral fat (which is actually inside the abdominal cavity and isn’t easily seen).  Visceral fat is associated with the development of abnormal cholesterol levels, hypertension, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The overload of resistance training stimulates muscles to activate specialized hormones that are involved in prompting the body to burn more fat.  Over time, the increase in muscle size from resistance training triggers the body to burn more calories during exercise.  These muscle adaptations from resistance exercise also increase your resting metabolic rate (the calories you burn at rest), thus helping achieve weight loss goals.

Many different resistance training techniques can increase muscle mass and reduce body fat.  Recent research on weight training found that volume-number of sets x repetitions x load (amount of weight)- is a critical factor in improving muscle mass.

The study found a clear relationship between the number of sets you do and hypertrophy, the scientific terms for muscle growth.  In counting weekly sets per muscle group, the researchers found that significant muscle growth occurred with the following: <5 sets (+5.4%); 5-9 sets (+6.5%); and >10 sets (+9.6%).

Consult with a certified personal trainer to get help developing an effective program for your personal weight loss needs.

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