4 Ways That Strength Workouts Can Help You Burn Fat and Get Fit
You may have heard conventional wisdom claim that the best way to lose weight and become fit is through cardio exercise. Doing cardio burns calories and can be a fun way to exercise. However, cardio stops working for fat-loss once you stop moving. Since the body is smart at adapting to stress, you will have to do harder cardio workouts or longer runs once you get used to it. Cardio also won’t make you stronger since it doesn’t challenge your ability to create more force. Strength-training, on the other hand, can actually burn more calories post workout than cardio, increase your performance in group fitness classes by making your body stronger, and decrease your risk of injury.
At WFC we offer Starting Strength, a strength training system that utilizes barbell training to build muscle throughout your entire body and help you meet your fat loss goals. In this article we’ll explore 4 ways that building a foundation of strength can help improve your fitness performance in class and with fat burning:
Burns more calories post-workout
Improves speed and agility
Prevents you from plateauing
Burns More Calories Post-Workout The act of lifting weights burns more calories post-workout than cardio exercise. You just need to make sure you’re progressing in weight so your body is continuously challenged, and including compound exercises, notably the four basic barbell exercises: squats, deadlifts, presses, and bench presses, which will focus on your larger muscle groups and give you a full-body workout. Barbell training challenges your entire system to get stronger. Doing this type of training will increase your muscle mass over time and increase your BMR (basal metabolic rate). Your BMR is how many calories a day your body burns just to go about your activities of daily living (not including workouts or extra energy expenditures). This is because the metabolic demand for a pound of muscle is substantially more than the demand for a pound of fat. So, having more muscle on your body means you’re actually burning more calories even if you’re just having a rest day. And when you’re working out, a heavy set of deadlifts will make your body use up more calories for days, instead of just for the time you’re running on the treadmill.
Prevents Injuries Building a foundation of strength will improve your body awareness, ability to balance, and athleticism, helping you stay healthy and avoid injuries. Having increased strength can make you more powerful, faster, and coordinated. Your bone density and body composition will improve, in addition to your endurance. Instead of your body adapting to the same motions for endless repetitions, resulting in overuse injuries i.e. in the case of running, you’ll continue to build strength in efficient workouts that won’t take up hours of your day. Strength training will keep you healthy and able to perform for a lifetime, not just a single 5K race. Did you know? One study showed that 24 weeks of training is enough to raise your resting metabolism. There was a: 9% increase in resting metabolism for men 4% increase in resting metabolism for women
Improves Speed and Agility Because strength training stimulates muscle growth and the ability of your body to produce the force that you need to perform a given task, you’ll also notice improvements in your speed, such as your sprint times and running economy, since you will have more muscle mass to put behind each stride. You’ll also see gains in your agility, or how quickly you can transition from one movement pattern to another. This transition time is improved by how well you can produce maximum force, which strength-building can increase.
Prevents You from Plateauing Have you ever started a workout regimen, only to find your weight and fitness levels plateauing after a month or two? This could be because you weren’t making incremental increases in strength, slowly increasing the stress and weight placed on the body over time. You will be able to continuously progress, rather than reach a limit on how much you can improve. Using traditional machines you’d find at the gym can be limiting (there are only so many pins you can adjust). Barbell training allows for incremental loading, as barbells use special fractional plates that will allow you to increase your strength slowly over time, in increments as small as 1/4th of a pound. This means you’ll be able to continually challenge yourself and build more muscle, so you can continue to improve.
Building a foundation of strength can help you push harder, safely, in group classes and burn more fat during each workout. If you’re only doing cardio workouts to get in shape, you may want to consider adding a strength training program to your fitness schedule or workout routine.
*Interested in seeing how strength training can help you feel fit and confident? Sign up for your Starting Strength intro today!