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You’re just trying to lose weight. Getting stronger seems like an unrealistic goal right now. So the idea of strength training makes you think, “One thing at a time!” But it doesn’t have to be either/or. You can actually lose weight effectively through strength training if you’re strategic.

In fact, strength training is smart because it helps with stabilization. Your body needs to get stronger to get fit, or you may cause damage. It's important to strength train safely and at an appropriate level.

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When you do this wisely, strength training for weight loss is actually really effective. Here’s the deal:

Strength Training For Weight Loss Versus Cardio

strength training weight loss 3 (1).jpgIt’s a common myth that cardio is the only way to lose weight. Most people think that weight and fat loss are the same thing—but they aren’t. When you focus on cardio, you lose fat, but you also lose muscle. Instead of shaping your body, cardio just helps you dump calories.

Strength training, on the other hand, burns fat while building muscle. Cardio may burn more calories per minute, but strength training burns more calories per day. When you lift, your body is still burning calories hours after you’re done exercising. Cardio only burns calories when you're moving! For men, weight training boosts resting metabolism by an average of 9%.

Strength Training Offers Many Benefits

strength training weight loss.jpgBesides burning more calories per day than cardio and helping build muscle while shedding fat, strength training has a number of benefits for weight loss.

Some benefits of strength training are:

  • Protects your joints and muscles
  • Shapes your body while you trim down
  • Sets you up for future toning
  • Offers more variety than plain cardio
  • Still works the heart and lungs to a degree

Getting Started with Strength Training

strength training weight loss 2 (1).jpgSince cardio does burn more calories per minute and is the most effective exercise for cardiovascular health, it’s best to combine the benefits of cardio and strength training.

To get started on a smart weight loss plan, schedule cardio 2-3 times a week and strength training 3-4 times a week. Be sure to plan out your strength training routine so you don’t waste time wandering at the gym.

These are some of the best strength training moves to start with:

  • Pushups (or modified pushups on your knees)
  • Pull Ups (or lat pulldowns with lower weights for beginners)
  • Weighted Squats (or air squats for beginners)
  • Planks (start with 10 seconds and build up)

You’ll want to start with basic exercises like these and short, frequent sets. For example, start all exercises at just 8-10 reps- but alternate exercises and perform 2-4 sets of each exercise per workout. Once you’ve begun to get stronger, add more reps to each set.  About every two weeks, you can add five pounds to your exercises, too.

Making Strength Training for Weight Loss Count

strength training weight loss 1 (1).jpgOne of the reasons a lot of people don’t realize strength training is smart for weight loss is because they don’t know how to maximize its impact. For strength training to help you shed serious pounds, be sure to:

  • Eat healthy so you have the ability to grow muscle
  • Intensify your exercises as they get easier
  • Mix up your routine
  • Get input from a trainer if something isn’t working for you
  • Try strength building classes so you have accountability
  • Stretch well
  • Keep doing a little cardio

Strength training for weight loss is for people who are serious about getting the physique they want, and won’t settle for “just less fat.” If you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll get the body shape you want and lose weight at the same time.

Gold’s Gym SoCal is an association of separate clubs—click here for info.

Get started with this FREE 30 Minute High Impact Workout Guide:

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