For many years, aerobic exercise was considered the optimal method for women attempting to lose weight. Using equipment such as stair climbers, treadmills, stationary bikes, etc. was thought to be the “ideal” way to lose weight.
Although aerobic exercise provides many benefits and is excellent for your heart and lungs, too much of it could hinder your efforts at losing body fat. Unfortunately, many women do not understand the true value of adding a weight resistance routine to their aerobic exercise program.
There are many popular myths on why women have turned away from using weights. Probably the most popular one is: “If I lift weights I will bulk up and look like a body builder.” This is far from the truth, as women do not have enough of the hormone called testosterone. Testosterone is dominant in males and is responsible for muscle growth. Therefore, because of hormone levels and women’s genetic makeup, it is very difficult for women to “bulk up.” In addition, women would have to train for hours on end and eat a very specific diet in order to look like a “bodybuilder.”
One of the reasons weight training will help women decrease their body fat and lose inches is because increasing the amount of muscle tissue raises metabolism. Muscle tissue is much more metabolically active than fat tissue; it burns 25% more calories than fat tissue. Men typically have an easier time than women losing fat because they ten to have more muscle overall.
Therefore, if you have been trying (unsuccessfully) to lose 10-15 pounds, despite all the hours spent on the stair climber or in step aerobics class, then try adding weight training to your workout. That simple change can help you break through the plateau you may have reached by performing only aerobic exercise.
It is important to note that you should not stop exercising aerobically, but maybe rethink putting 100% of your efforts into aerobic exercise alone. By adding weight training, you will lose inches, burn more fat and change the shape of your body. In addition, weight training helps build stronger bones to help protect you against osteoporosis, which is the degeneration of bone associated with insufficient calcium in the diet.
Strength training also has been shown to benefit individuals with certain types of arthritis. But one of the best benefits of weight training is a better quality of life. Everyday activities such as gardening, carrying groceries or playing with your children become easier. Life becomes more enjoyable and you feel more vibrant!
Therefore the best approach for people wishing to reduce their body fat is to incorporate aerobic exercise and strength training and follow a well-balanced, low fat high fiber diet. If strength training is new to you, follow the advice of a certified personal trainer. This will ensure that you are exercising safely and effectively. And as always, consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program.