How many of you are avid weight trainers? Or are you going crazy with cardio? If you are spending hours on a piece of cardio equipment and not seeing the results you want then it’s time to change things up.
Personally I do 2 days/ week of HIIT training about 10-20 minutes followed by low intensity cardio. I take the kids to the park, clean the house or just keep moving. Doing this helps to deplete your glycogen stores and then your body can switch over to using fat for fuel.
3-4x/week I am lifting heavy to gain lean calorie burning muscle. I don’t believe you need to spend hours in the gym to achieve a healthy body. My weight training sessions are about an hour long including warm up and cool down. I have a plan in place and usually workout from home!
If weight training is not a part of your weekly exercise plan, this article will explain 5 major benefits of weight training (besides a more lean and toned body!)
1. Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin sensitivity is the body’s ability to utilize carbohydrates either for immediate energy or for correct storing of carbs. Those individuals who have a high amount of insulin sensitivity can use carbs much more efficiently than those who are not insulin sensitive (aka are Insulin Resistant).
When you are insulin sensitive your body either uses carbs for immediate energy, or stores them in the form of muscle glycogen for later use, instead of being stored as fat. It’s easy to see why staying healthy and lean year round, while still enjoying the foods you love, becomes much easier when you are insulin sensitive!
On the other hand, if you have poor insulin sensitivity, i.e. are insulin resistant, your body will store carbohydrates in the form of fat tissue or remain in the bloodstream. Short term, this means excess fat gain and long term this can lead to diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
There have been a plethora of studies that note marked improvement in insulin sensitivity when weight training is applied to a regular workout routine(1-3).
2. Burn More Calories (EVEN WHEN YOU SLEEP!)
Muscle mass is a highly metabolically active tissue. It requires fuel and energy in the form of calories to be maintained and to function. (Unlike fat tissue, which is not very metabolically active at all, and requires no energy to be maintained, because it IS energy!)
Adding more muscle to your frame, as a result of weight training, will therefore boost your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) (4). This helps you burn more calories, even when you sleep! You will in turn be able eat more food and increase insulin sensitivity! (The benefits of which you learned above).
To put this in perspective, adding just 1lb of muscle tissue to your frame may be able to raise RMR by about 10 calories or more per day (5,6)! While it seems like a low number at first glance, what would happen if you added 15lbs of muscle to your frame? That’s and extra 150 calories that you could burn every single day without even getting out of bed! Over a year this will absolutely add up and result in total fat loss.
3. Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease is among the leading causes of death in the US and an estimated 1/3 of Americans have hypertension. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 deaths in the US are due to heart disease (7)! While the general recommendation in the past has been prescribing aerobic exercise to improve heart health, some studies suggest that weight training may be just as effective, if not more so, in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, than cardio is (8)!
4. Combat Age-Related Decline in Muscle Mass
One of the metabolic issues that occurs with age is the onset of a condition called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is known as the age-related decline in muscle mass that can lead to loss of muscle function, weaker muscles and a slower metabolism.
Some studies suggest that adding weight training sessions 3 times per week can significantly improve body composition and strength in the population of sedentary elders (9).
5. Stronger Bones
Unfortunately, research is indicating that adults who did not weight train in their younger years, nor currently weight train, can experience reductions in bone density up to 3% each year which leads to the onset of conditions like osteoporosis.
Clearly, the numbers are against you as you age; however, if you spend time weight training in your younger years you are less likely to experience age-related declines in bone density.
In fact, one study in young males, who weight trained 3x per week for 24 weeks, were able to increase their bone density between 2.7 and 7.7%, == Regardless of which %, that’s enough to combat the 1-3% decline caused by age each year (10)!
The research suggests that you should be adding some weight training to your routine in addition to healthy eating. My recommendation would be to start slow and do what you can in the time you have. If this means 10-15 minutes thats awesome!
Download a copy of my FREE Leg workout plan here.
Again to recap the benefits of weight training are:
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Burn more calories
- A healthy heart
- Prevent sarcopenia
- Increased bone density
If you are looking for a done for you weight training & nutrition plan as well as daily accountability from me check out my Wild Side Wellness program. It is a 7 week wellness program. This is NOT a quick fix but a lifestyle plan. The focus is on improved energy, fat loss and gut & hormone health.
You will receive:
- Weekly meal plans
- Nutrition strategies: carb-cycling & intermittent fasting
- 175 + recipe cookbook
- home & gym workout plans (diastasis recti conscious)
- Info on hormone balancing, gut health, mindset, fasting & more
- Daily access to me
- Private Facebook group
- Nassis, George P., et al. “Aerobic exercise training improves insulin sensitivity without changes in body weight, body fat, adiponectin, and inflammatory markers in overweight and obese girls.” Metabolism 54.11 (2005): 1472-1479.
- Prior, Steven J., et al. “Increased skeletal muscle capillarization after aerobic exercise training and weight loss improves insulin sensitivity in adults with IGT.” Diabetes Care 37.5 (2014): 1469-1475.
- Botezelli, José D., et al. “Strength Training Prevents Hyperinsulinemia, Insulin Resistance, and Inflammation Independent of Weight Loss in Fructose-Fed Animals.” Scientific Reports 6 (2016).
- Cardoso, Gabrielle Aparecida, et al. “The effects of green tea consumption and resistance training on body composition and resting metabolic rate in overweight or obese women.” Journal of medicinal food 16.2 (2013): 120-127.
- http://www.acefitness.org/fitnessqanda/fitnessqanda_display.aspx?itemid=358. Accessed March 22, 2013. In this article, ACE Chief Science author quotes 7-10 calories burned per pound of muscle. The article references a book he wrote in 2006. ↩
- Wang Z, Ying Z, Bosy-westphal A, et al. Evaluation of specific metabolic rates of major organs and tissues: comparison between men and women. Am J Hum Biol. 2011;23(3):333-8. This more recent study in 2011 study concluded one pound of muscle burns roughly 6 calories. ↩
- Tanasescu, Mihaela, et al. “Exercise type and intensity in relation to coronary heart disease in men.” Jama 288.16 (2002): 1994-2000.
- de Vries, Nienke M. et al. “The Coach2move Approach”. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy 38.4 (2015): 169-182. Web.
- Almstedt, Hawley C., et al. “Changes in bone mineral density in response to 24 weeks of resistance training in college-age men and women.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 25.4 (2011): 1098-1103.