Weight loss is an issue that challenges our society to become healthier and encourages us to improve our body image, and it seems that women feel its influence the most.
From my experience, many women avoid the weight room and focus predominately on cardio and endless crunches for weight loss. It may surprise you that the reason many women find weight loss challenging is because of an imbalance in three key elements that must be combined for optimal weight-loss success: cardio, resistance training and proper nutrition.
Cardio vs. Resistance Training
The difference between cardio and resistance training is that cardio burns calories immediately during the workout. Once you are done, your calorie burning tapers off. So, the amount of calories shown on the treadmill is the amount of calories you burned.
However, when you resistance train, you can expect to not only burn more calories during the workout (depending on the intensity of the workout) but you can also expect to burn calories all day long and up to 24-48 hours after you leave the gym during your muscles' repair process. During that process, you should provide your body with carbohydrates (energy) and protein to replenish the muscles with proper nutrition.
Lift Weights to Lose Weight
Many women avoid resistance training out of fear that they will “bulk up.” Let me put your nerves at ease by clarifying that women simply do not possess nearly as much testosterone (the hormone mainly responsible for building muscle) to achieve huge muscles naturally.
A key element in resistance training is recruiting as many muscles groups as possible. It’s simple: The larger the muscle groups, the more calories they can burn. That said, you cannot “spot train” — do endless crunches — working the abs. This is a very small muscle group that cannot burn nearly enough calories to achieve the results you want to achieve. You must remove the layer of fat tissue lying underneath the skin on top of the muscles (subcutaneous fat) to even see the definition in the muscles.
More Incentive to Resistance Train
Resistance training also serves to promote and maintain muscle integrity, strength and function to allow you to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) as you age. This is the idea that working out helps us maintain our independence as we age and gives us the ability to function to our full potential while we are younger. Remember: If you don’t use your muscle, you lose your muscle (this is called muscle atrophy in which case you actually lose muscle tissue).
Our bodies naturally want to be active, so don’t deprive them of doing so.
In conclusion: YES! Women should be in the weight room doing some resistance training, for weight loss as well as overall wellness.
Lift well – live well.