Strength Training Could be the Key to Long-Term Weight Loss

How often have you used a diet, any diet, even one recommended by the Health Hound only to lose the weight you wanted in the beginning, and then put it all back on again few months later? It’s called the “Yo-Yo” effect, and its very common.

There are many ways diet gurus have suggested to break the Yo-Yo cycle, but if the Hound knows one thing, the best way to “break” anything is to apply a little muscle to it! And the same is true for long-term weightloss. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, research shows that no matter what type of diet and exercise plan you choose, adding strength training to build lean muscle to your regimen is the way to go!

Why the Yo-Yo?

Obviously, losing weight starts with eating less; that goes without saying. At its most basic level, fat is simply stored energy that the body could not consume when too many calories are eaten. Start to eat less – less calories in, more fat stores that need to be burned.

When you first go on a calorie reducing diet, your body will draw on its fat stored energy reserves to sustain itself, and you will lose weight. But the problem is starving the body does not bring lasting results. First of all the rapid and initial weight loss you see in the first few days of any diet is mostly water. Then the yo-yo effect occurs whenever you return to a normal level of caloric intake, your body will “remember” the shortage it just went through, and will reflexively slow your metabolism, and store additional reserves for future shortages. The best way to snap the body out of that is by taxing it a bit with muscle-building and endurance training.

Pump it Up

According to an article published June 11th, 2012 in The Hindu a recent report released by Ingo Froboese, fitness trainer and a professor at the Health Centre of the German Sport University in Cologne, said “Since muscles consume energy, muscle-building training – and consequently a higher proportion of muscle in the body – is one of the building blocks for a lasting increase in energy turnover, and the key to long term weight loss.”

Now wait a minute – I can hear the growling – how can you lose weight by building muscle mass -isn’t that how people gain weight? Well yes, you can go from a 98-pound weakling, to a 200 pound “Charles Atlas” by pumping iron, but that is not the kind of intense body building workouts The Hound is suggesting.

Here’s the deal, the secret to effective and permanent weight loss is to increase your body’s Resting Metabolism Rate, or RMR. RMR is the rate at which your body consumes calories when at rest. Guess where your body uses up the bulk of the calories you eat – in lean muscle mass. Muscle tissue is active even when not in motion, muscles use calories – fat does not, it just lies there like the blob it is.

But muscle is like a racecar, at the starting line with its engine revving, always ready to “go-go-go.” The more lean muscle mass you have the more calories you burn.

Even the best calorie reducing diet without strength training and resistance exercise does little or nothing to increase RMR. This is why diet alone can never lead to permanent weight loss. And even aerobics and other cardio workouts usually used to burn calories and slim down, do little to raise RMR. That is why fitness pros like Froboese, all suggest adding weightlifting to any exercise for effective and long term weight loss.

And what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander. Strength and endurance training is a great way for women to take off weight and keep it off too! And don’t be afraid ladies; weightlifting isn’t going to make you look like The Incredible Hulk, but it may make your girlfriends green with envy! Thanks to Mother Nature, most women just do not have enough testosterone to develop a “manly physique”. And besides, we are not talking about a heavy 2 hour a day Mr. Universe pumping iron session. As part of a regimen to raise RMR, moderate weight lifting, or resistance training, 2 – 3 times a week is all it should take.

The bottomline is just eating less slows metabolism – strength training and weight lifting increases it. Dieting plus endurance and strength training leads to a slimmer healthier you.

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20 Comments

  1. Dieting and life long better eating and exercise habits can always be improved by additional new information and re-enforcement of the good values, so YES, please continue with the newsletters and blogs.
    Helping to eliminate the myths and misconceptions goes a long way to bring more people into a healthy life and reduces our health care burdens and provides for better enjoyment of life.

  2. I know muscle uses energy and this helps with weight loss, but I have a hard time finding a good book, or good beginning routine. I have done internet searches and I end up with a bunch of conflicting informaton…don’t use the “leg lift” because it’s hard on your knees, is an example. There are also cautionary stories about routines that don’t exercise all the muscles in a group. I could use some help with this.

    • It depends upon what type of learner you are. The best approach is to find a trainer who could walk you through the basics and set up a good plan/routine for you. Find someone affordable, but with good credentials.

      • I joined a gym that has a cardio and strength group class and it has 3-4 min of cardio followed by 3-4 minutes of weights and by the end of the class you have worked every muscle group in your body. That has helped me greatly!

    • Get this book its called {Body for Life} it will jump start you’re weight loss. I read it and that is how I have lost 50 pounds, that and I take vitamins. I don’t eat what he says to eat but I do do the exercises in his program.

  3. After recently completing several diets and having the yoyo effect- the one thing that I think was hardest was avoiding the old habits I had. I’m a sugar-holic. When I went on my diet, I only allowed myself to have fattening and sugary things once a week on the weekend (normal stuff like fast food) but when I finally hit my weight loss goal- I was like, “I deserve this- I’m going to eat this ice cream, pizza, pasta, etc.” I was rewarding myself with food- which is what put the weight back on quickly. I felt that I had deprived myself even though I ate it in moderation because I used to eat that stuff almost daily.

  4. So I started a low calorie diet a few months ago and dropped 20 lbs pretty easily…then I joined a gym and 2-3 days a week I do a cardio and strength class which includes weights. Suddenly my weight loss has come to a screetching halt. I have not gained any weight but I have not lost the 2-3 lbs per week that I have since I started. I have not deviated from my diet either. So I was wondering if it was because of the strenght class because I have learned that muscle weighs more than fat. Thanks

    • Try staying off the scale for a while. Just judge your gains by the way your clothes fit. I have had my emphasis on weight training for a few years now (as opposed to cardio) and find that I weigh a bit more but am 1 to 2 sizes smaller then when I weighed less.

      • I am still about 40lbs away from where I NEED to be…the scales are still not moving very well but my clothes are falling off so I know that I’m still doing good. I just don’t understand that when someone changes their eating and exercise as drastically as I have why the results have slowed so much…I knew I wouldn’t loose as fast as I was in the beginning but going 2 week without losing or gaining a single pound is hard to “digest” :)

      • I’m going to add the raspberry ketones into my regiment after reading the blog on the positive results you reported. Maybe that will help.

    • That’s right, muscle dose weigh more than fat. When you exercise, you are gaining muscle and losing fat. but, you have to expect those plateaus because you’re body is saying what is going on, then it taps into you’re reserve, you’re body fat. So don’t give up..

  5. Yes You are right that Strength coaching will really a help a lot to reduce weight loss. I am taking Nuvoryn and it really help me a lot to reduce my weight. And yes after reading your article I thought that we have to take care of our selves than and than you can lose your weight. Thank You.

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