The two most frequently recommended means for reducing body weight are dietary restrictions and aerobic exercise. Unfortunately, neither of these methods replaces muscle tissue, recharges our resting metabolism or addresses the underlying cause of weight gain in the majority of adults. Men and women who do not strength train lose 5 to 7 pounds of muscle each decade of adult life due to disuse atrophy. This loss of active lean tissue is largely responsible for a 3 to 5 percent metabolic rate reduction each decade of adult life. Less muscle and slower metabolism lead to fewer calories used and more calories that are stored as fat. This process results in15 to17 pounds more body fat each decade of adult life.
Dieting is clearly the best choice for cutting calories and for decreasing body weight. However, approximately 25 percent of the weight lost during low-calorie diets is muscle, which further reduces the resting metabolism and makes it extremely difficult to maintain the lower body weight. Obviously, if less muscle is the underlying cause of fat gain anything that further reduces muscle tissue is counterproductive to long-term weight loss.
Although beneficial in many respects, aerobic activity does not add muscle tissue nor stimulate a significant increase in resting metabolism. By itself, or in combination with dieting, aerobic exercise is not the best approach to permanent weight loss. To replace muscle and recharge resting metabolism, strength training must be performed on a regular basis. Studies have shown that adding just 3 pounds of muscle increases resting metabolic rate by about 7 percent.
In addition to a sensible nutrition plan and reasonable amounts of aerobic activity, 2 to 3 weekly sessions of basic strength exercise are recommended for the best permanent weight loss results. Two months of combined strength and endurance exercise can decrease fat weight by almost 9 pounds, increase lean weight by about 3 pounds, and raise resting metabolic rate by approximately 7 percent. The endurance exercise enhances cardiovascular fitness, the strength training increases muscular skeletal fitness, and the combination improves overall physical capacity and personal appearance. Perhaps the most important aspect of any weight management program is compliance. strength training a key component of a weight management program.
Keep in mind that the two-part problem associated with the aging process (muscle loss and fat gain) requires a two-part solution (muscle replacement and fat reduction). With almost 70 percent of American men and women overweight, it is time to make basic strength training a key component of a weight management program.
Remember the proper mechanics during strength training to avoid injury and get the full potential out of your efforts. If you are new to strength training or unsure if your mechanics are correct, please call me. (818)515-5427
The human body is built to conserve energy and cheat during exercise. This fact creates many potential problems for exercisers leading to muscle imbalances, joint pain and dysfunction.
Steven Greene is a fitness and exercise
specialist, as well as a nutrition, weight management and lifestyle
coach in Los Angeles.
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