How does strength training support weight loss?
A common misconception we see is people believing in order to lose weight they need to do a tonne of cardio or HIIT training. It's common to hear people talk about how they use exercise as a way to 'offset' their diet. But what role does strength training have in losing weight? It's likely still one of the most overlooked qualities that should be maintained as we age.... and here's why.
Weight Loss Is About Energy Balance
If we are talking weight loss it comes back to one simple principle... thermodynamics. Energy is both consumed (food) & used (movement, eating, living etc.) and depending on the balance of these two sides of the equation, we'll either gain weight, maintain weight, or lose weight. See the image below.
Exercise Doesn't Burn As Many Calories As You Think
Despite what most people believe, exercise doesn't actually help you burn that many calories. Even your Apple Watch is lying to you. You didn't burn 700 calories in your 1hr of exercise. There are multiple factors that go into how much energy you use in day, the most commonly referenced ones are Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), Thermogenic Effect of Food (TEF) & Exercise.
BMR - basically the daily body processes that keep you alive.
NEAT - Everything you do day to day including working, cooking, cleaning etc.
TEF - The energy required to digest & process food
Exercise - Your planned exercise regime
You don't need to know all of this, but the bottom line is that you don't have AS MUCH control as you'd like over the energy your body can burn. The best thing you can do that side of the equation is simply try to live an active lifestyle where you move often and have fun! Where Does Strength Training Come In?
Well there's 2 main reasons that strength or resistance training should be a part of everyone's week.
1. More muscle mass = more energy burned at a resting state
Up above we talked about BMR which is the bodies natural energy burning processes. Muscle tissue uses a lot of energy to stay alive, it is energy costly. If you are able to build more muscle mass through dedicated strength training, your body will be in a better position to burn energy at a resting state for a longer period. It's a more sustainable way to think about keeping weight off forever. 2. More strength = more movement for a longer time
The stronger you are and the more muscle mass you have, the longer you will be able to maintain movement as a part of your life. If you are 80 yrs old but are still able to go for regular walks, do your shopping and so on, that's great! On the flip side, an 80 yr old who hasn't been able to maintain their strength or muscle mass will likely struggle with daily tasks and eventually be limited in terms of their mobility. The longer you can maintain an active & mobile lifestyle, the longer you will be able to avoid the weight-gain effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
So there you go! It's a bit of a long way around but hopefully you get the idea now. Strength training is a vital part of staying healthy & active, especially as we age. Don't miss out on those benefits! If you find yourself getting on in years and want to explore some training options that will suit your level, check out our minimalist program here! It's a basic program that takes around 30-45 minutes, 3x a week and is designed to help beginners with limited time to start getting stronger & moving better!
Alternatively check out our other programs or in-person training options on our website! Peace! - Sam