When we make the decision to lose weight we want to focus on losing unhealthy body fat and not healthy muscle.
We may think that "dieting" or "cardio" without any kind of strength training is all we need to get us to our weight-loss goal. The scale number may in fact change, but without strength training you'll lose healthy muscle, and that's not what we want when we're trying to lose weight. We need that healthy muscle.
Muscles are "calorie hungry." The more lean muscle you have the more calories you burn even at rest. According to the American Council on Exercise, "Muscle is very active tissue with high energy requirements for maintenance and rebuilding processes. Even while we sleep, our skeletal muscles are responsible for more than 25% of our calorie use. An increase in muscle tissue causes a corresponding increase in our metabolic rate; likewise, a decrease in muscle tissue causes a corresponding decrease in our metabolic rate."
A basic full body strength training routine two or three times a week will help you build healthy lean muscle while blasting unwanted, unhealthy body fat. Strengthening of the fundamental movement patterns is a good place to start: Squat, Pull, Push, Press, Hinge, Core.
When you begin a strength based program be sure to start with a weight you can comfortably lift while keeping good form. As your body adapts to these new demands you'll gradually increase the weight.
Here's a workout example using the fundamental movement patterns:
By sticking with these basic movement patterns you'll help strengthen your whole body. Add in 30 minutes or more of walking a few times and week and you'll be well on your way to building healthy muscle while losing unhealthy body fat.
As you gain lean muscle and become stronger, you'll learn how to move your body better. The potential for injury from a sudden fall, or lifting something heavy off the floor will decrease.
Also, numerous studies show the mental benefits of exercise should not be overlooked. Your feel good hormones, serotonin and norepinephrine, are naturally elevated through exercise. This offers an antidepressant effect and especially helps with anxiety and/or depression. So whenever you're feeling gloomy or blue, just hit the weights and before you know it, you'll be feeling much better.
Weight loss or fat loss, what's the big deal? Now you know. Focusing on losing unhealthy body fat and gaining healthy lean muscle by committing to a balanced, progressive, and consistent strength training program should be a priority in your quest for healthy living.
The scale is not a accurate picture of how "healthy" your body is. Your body fat percentage is a much better indicator. Taking your age, height, and weight into consideration, a healthy range for the average fit women should be between 21% and 30%. For the average fit man the range should be between 14% and 24%.
"Nothing happens until something moves."
One arm row Hinge
Thank you to my 85 year old model!
Useful practical information and a workout or two...