One of the most common mistakes I come across when talking to people about their fat loss goals is that they are not including resistance training into their routines. Their training will mainly consist of steady state cardio and some form of dieting.
In my experience I have often found that a lot of people, especially women, are deterred by resistance training for numerous reasons. For guys it can simply be not knowing what to do or where to start and for women it’s often the case that they fear they will get large muscles by training with weights. However this is not the case. Ladies will never put on huge amount of muscle mass regardless of how much they lift because females simply don’t have the hormones to get a big physique, of course everyone has different profiles and each individual will respond differently to training. The funny thing is women generally want to tone up and lose fat mass, but avoid resistance training which is a vital element that will help them achieve this goal. The benefits of an effective resistance training programme will help improve muscle tone, strength and muscle sensitivity to insulin. Not only this but by adding resistance training regularly into your routine you will burn more calories and burn more fat. I know you are probably thinking this sounds too good to be true, so I will explain further why I believe everyone should include some form of resistance training into their routine.
Muscle that is well trained, lean and toned will utilize sugar and fat more efficiently than an untrained muscle. This is mainly because a trained muscle is a lot more sensitive to the hormone insulin and this is vital for the use of fats and sugars. The more trained muscle a person has the more capacity the individual will have to burn fat as a fuel source even when the person is at rest. Overall this means that a person with more lean and toned muscle will have a greater metabolic rate and will have a greater ability to lose body fat, as they will burn more calories overall and have more muscle to utilize the fat stores. Which we all agree sounds fantastic!
An additional benefit of resistance training is that it helps to prevent muscle and bone loss as we age. This is because you gradually lose muscle when you get older. If you are inactive and don’t undertake physical activity, then this reduction in muscle mass can cause weaknesses as a result of not carrying out weight bearing activities. If there is less muscle pulling on bony attachments then this can result in bone thinning and as a result can decrease bone density and increase the likelihood of getting health problems such as osteoporosis. By undertaking resistance training and weight bearing activity it increases muscle mass and stimulates bone density thus reducing the chances of health issues and injuries. Awesome.
Ok so this all sounds fantastic but do you have to spend all day in the gym to get these results? Well no, if you can find time to do this sort of training just twice a week it will be enough to stop muscle wastage. You don’t even have to spend hours in your session. A well planned session can take as little time as 30-45 minutes and no longer than an hour, and with just a set of dumbbells it can be done almost anywhere you don’t even have to leave the house. That adds up to no more than 2 hours per week, I believe that most people can spare that amount of time in their daily routines.
So we have covered the training aspect now we need to talk about the nutrition side. In order to help you tone up and increase muscle mass which will help you lose weight, you need to create optimal conditions for your body to adapt and this means good nutrition. One of the most important macronutrients that I find a lot of women under consume is protein. Protein is vital for growth and repair and is essential to helping you achieve your goals. The amount of protein a person should consume is very much dependent on their age, size, gender and their activity level. As a person trains more, there is a significant increase in the demand for protein by the body. For example a sedentary adult only needs to consume around 0.8 grams per kilogram of their bodyweight per day to maintain their muscle mass however when this person carries out activity especially resistance training this demand increases to around 1.6 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day. This therefore means that you have to make a significant effort to increase your intake of protein when you carry out this kind of training and this is very important in helping you to get where you want to be.
The best sources of protein are ones that have a high biological value (BV) which essentially means that they are good quality. The best sources are whey protein, milk and eggs as these have a high BV score. There are many more issues that also need to be considered such as absorption and hormone balance but these are beyond the scope of this blog for today!
Hopefully by now I have convinced you of the importance of adding resistance training into your routine, I truly believe that if you adopt a good balanced concurrent training routine (consists of aerobic and resistance elements) and a well-balanced diet and supplementation plan then you can get the figure that you want.