Weight Training can Speed up Your Metabolism and Help you Lose Weight and Stomach Fat
Weight Training can help you to decrease your body fat percentage so that you will finally be able to see your abdominal muscles.
Most people know that lifting weights can improve strength, and build lean muscle, but many people don't realize how important strength training is for maintaining a healthy metabolism.
When you lose muscle,
your metabolism slows down!
If you've read my page on getting six pack abs and a flat stomach, then you know that we all lose a significant amount of lean muscle as we age. And as a result our metabolism slows down.
One set of statistics shows that from the age of 20-50, the average woman loses about 5 pounds of muscle every 10 years. What this means is that over those 30 years, the average woman loses 15 pounds of muscle (guys a little less thanks to testosterone).
Physiologists estimate that your body burns 35-50 calories a day for each pound of muscle you have. So, if you lose 10-15 pounds of lean muscle you metabolism will slow down by 500-750 calories per day.
This is one of the secrets to why it is so much harder to lose body fat as we age. We lose muscle and our metabolism slows down.
If you are 50 your body likely burns 2000-6000 calories less per week compared to when you were 20. And if you're over 20, it may not be as drastic yet, but the steady loss of muscle mass plagues us all, unless...
we do something about it.
Weight Training can help to maintain your lean muscle mass and support a healthy metabolism, and it can also add new lean muscle to speed up your metabolism.
Dieting and Muscle Loss
As a natural bodybuilder, I have dieted many times to lose weight and decrease my body fat. And, unfortunately, I know that when you lose weight some of the weight loss is from lean tissue.
The percentage of lean muscle that you lose when dieting to lose weight depends on the nature of your weight loss program.
Starvation diets and extreme low calorie diets can wreak havoc on your metabolism for 2 reasons. First, your body starts to conserve fat and keep it stored for energy, and second your body will start to breakdown your lean muscle tissue to use as energy.
Many people find that they lose weight initially, when they go on a severely restricted caloric intake, but then they hit a plateau or gain the weight back-- partly because the loss of muscle is slowing down the metabolism.
If you perform regular weight training when you are dieting, you will maintain more of your lean muscle and likely have more lasting success.
Weight Training Recommendations
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends weight training 2-3 times per week, covering most of the major muscle groups.
This is a minimum for adding lean muscle mass. If you want to improve your overall health, you should do a full body strength training routine 2-3 times a week.
If your goal is to add a significant amount of lean muscle and significantly improve your strength, you should consider using a split routine and lifting weight 4-6 days per week.
But, in order to help lose body fat and keep your metabolism healthy 2-3 times per week is sufficient.
A Hidden Secret of Weight Training
There is another secret benefit of strength training with weights.
When you perform a workout with weights, your metabolism is sped up for hours after you've completed your workout.
There are 2 general types of exercise: aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise.
Aerobic Exercise means the body creates energy in the presence of oxygen, and aerobic activities include jogging, swimming, walking, or biking.
Aerobic exercise burns a ton of calories because it is a continuous activity, but after you stop exercising your body very quickly returns to its normal level of calories burned per minute.
However, with anaerobic exercise your body will burn more calories per minute even when you stop exercising.
Anaerobic Exercise means that energy is created without oxygen, and anaerobic activities include sprinting, jumping, and weight lifting.
Because sprinting and weight lifting are anaerobic activities it takes your body more time to recover and rebuild following a workout, so your metabolism is elevated for an extended period of time if you strength train.
Of course, the time your metabolism is sped up depends the intensity and length of your workout session.
Don't get so caught up in whether it's 1 hour or 12 hours, just understand that weight training give your metabolism a boost even when you've finished your workout.
Summary of Weight Training and Metabolism
The bottom line is that weight training will speed up your metabolism in a variety of ways.
It will help to maintain your current level of lean muscle so that you have a healthy metabolism.
It will add lean muscle and increase your metabolism.
It will help you to maintain lean muscle if you are dieting to lose weight.
And, it will speed up your metabolism for hours after you've stopped working out.
Remember that if you want a nice stomach, you must lose body fat. If you can speed up your metabolism through weight training, your body will burn more fat and your abdominal muscles will look better.
It takes a comprehensive approach to get six pack abs and flatten your stomach, so don't forget the weights.
Yours in Health,
Return to Six Pack Abs from Weight Lifting and Training
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