Weight training does not make me lose weight…

To increase metabolism, you need to gain more muscles. However, quite often women avoid weight training and stick to cardio workout believing that resistance workout “does not burn fat.” It is WRONG!

A woman working out on a leg press machine

Weight training may keep your metabolism as high as 15% more throughout the day.

Weight Training Speeds Up Metabolism

It is true that slow twitching fibers, which are the main muscle fibers used during cardio workout, use more fat during cardio workout than fast twitching fibers which are used during weight training. However weight training uses more calories overall if you consider the time after the workout. For example, one study looked at two groups of women for a period of three months. The first group walked one hour a day for five days a week,; the second group did weight training twice a week. At the end of the study, the former group did not increase energy expenditure throughout the day; the latter increased their daily energy expenditure (or metabolism) by 15%!

Weight Training Makes You Lean, Not Bulky

There are a couple more reasons why women don’t like to do weight training. One reason is that they don’t want to bulk up. Well, this won’t happen unless you are a lucky one out of 5,000. Most women don’t have enough of the “male” hormone to create huge muscles like men do. You need to have a special gene and then, if you lift weights intensely five days a week, you may be able to bulk up yourself, but it is almost impossible to do so for most of us. You can firm up, but not bulk up from weight training.

Another reason is that many people don’t see “weight loss” by weight training. This may be true on the scale. If you do weight training, you lose fat but also gain muscles. If you lose 3 pounds of body fat and gain 3 pounds of muscles, the scale does not show you any difference, but in a mirror, you will look much slimmer, since muscle is much denser than body fat and occupies much less space despite the same weight. If you don’t get it, try this. First, think about a balloon and a penny. Their weight is about same. However, if you blow up the balloon and throw it in water, it will float, but if you throw in the penny, it will sink. This is because the penny is much denser than the blown up balloon (probably the size of the balloon is 100 times larger than that of the penny).

Next, try this experiment. Take a tablespoon of “Crisco©” and put it in a bowl of water. It will float. Then throw the same weight of beef of chicken meat (probably 3 times less in size comparing to the heap of Crisco) in the water, it will sink! This is because meat (muscles) is much denser than fat.

Here is a link to Wall Street Journal video article about a woman and weight training: “Bikini Bodybuilding: One Woman’s Experience.

Burn More Calories From Body Fat

If you are still not convinced, here is another fact. A sedentary woman burns about 50% of her calories from carbohydrate in the body (glucose and glycogen) and 50% from body fat. On the other hand, a physically active woman burns about 70% of her calories from body fat. Further, during the workout, an unfit woman needs about 20 to 30 minutes to start burning body fat (before that, she is burning carbohydrate stored in the body), but women with more muscles may be able to turn on the switch much earlier (as early as 10 minutes) and can burn more body fat during the same period of time.

I am not saying that cardio workout is not important. It is. It is essential for the cardiovascular system. What I am saying is that weight training is very important if you want to lose weight. (See Progression section about interval/circuit training, which will cover both cardio and weight training.)

Back to “Exercise”.

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