Weight Loss or Fat Loss?
I started with the above because many people, (including many doctors) when mentioning their fitness goals, state that they want to lose weight, when in fact the goal should be to LOSE FAT. Lose the fat and the scales will reflect it in overall weight loss. The reason I say LOSE FAT is because a smart Trainer knows that a person’s muscle mass controls metabolism to a large degree, so It stands to reason that losing fat and keeping your muscle will help metabolism and speed your fat loss goals. Everyone who is trying to improve their health by reducing fat should keep this in mind. A person’s training or exercise program should reflect this as well.
Everyone should include some training to increase their strength and muscle, along with their cardio training.Think of it this way.. every pound of muscle you put on could help to burn as much fat as if you added an extra 3-4 miles of walking to your program each week.
Before we go any further, let me dispel a common myth. Don’t be afraid of putting on too much muscle… it just won’t happen. To give you an example; when I first started training, I trained body builder style. I was 155 pounds at 6 feet tall and I wanted to be massive. I was told I had good genetics for body building and it still took me 5 years to reach my goal of 210 lean pounds. This was with very large calorie consumption and intense heavy workouts each day. Even at this weight I still just look “fit” when I have my clothes on. So have no fear of getting too big… even with great genetics, it won’t happen.
Resistance training will help to improve your strength so you have less chance of accidentally pulling or tearing a muscle. It can help to reduce back pain. Stronger leg muscles can help support your knee joints and reduce chance of injury to that area. Stronger arms and shoulders can reduce the chance of rotator cuff or elbow injuries. The list goes on and on… The benefits of including some resistance training in your fat loss program far outweigh any negatives, in fact I can’t think of any negative effect to come from a properly designed and supervised resistance program, other than the possible extra time commitment. Even then, there are ways to include resistance training with your cardio work. You could carry weights in your hands while walking, or wear ankle weights or a heavy back pack while you walk or run stairs. Use a little imagination and you can think of many ways to include resistance training in your fat loss workouts.
A final note; If you are one of the very, very rare few who seems to gain muscle just by looking at weights and you are getting more muscular than you want. Just reduce the amount of resistance you use and maintain your muscle mass where you like it. So Fat Loss, not just weight loss, should be your goal. Try it, and see if you don’t start reaching your goals sooner.