Most people only associate weight training with building muscle and increasing strength. Few people realize the impact weight training has on fat loss. Here's why: Weight training increases your lean body mass. Increasing your lean body mass speeds up your metabolic rate so you burn more calories at rest - and the number of calories you burn at rest (your basal metabolic rate) is directly proportional to the amount of muscle you carry.
For example, if man weighs 176 pounds with a body fat of 19%, his lean body mass is 142.6 pounds and his basal metabolic rate is 1770 calories per day. Suppose he drops his body fat to 9%, and then he builds back up to 176 pounds, while maintaining his bodyfat at only 9%. His lean body mass is now 160 pounds with a basal metabolic rate of 1940 calories per day.
He now burns 170 calories a day more than before, with no additional exercise or calorie restriction! He even burns more calories when he's doing absolutely nothing (even while he sits at his desk, watches TV or snoozes). Does an extra 170 calories a day make a difference? Well, let's do the math: There are 3500 calories in a pound of stored body fat. Three thousand five hundred calories divided by 170 extra calories burned per day equals an extra pound of body fat lost every 20.5 days, which adds up to 17.7 pounds of extra fat lost per year with no additional activity.
It's a common misconception that if you have a lot of weight to lose, you should lose the fat with cardio first before starting a weight-training program. Actually, the opposite is true; weight training always accelerates fat loss, although it happens primarily through an indirect mechanism. Muscle is metabolically active tissue that burns fat, and lifting weights builds muscle, therefore weight training must be a part of every fat loss program. This doesn't mean you need to look like or train like a bodybuilder, unless that's your goal. It simply means that weight training is equally as important as aerobic training even when your goal is fat loss. Aerobics by itself doesn't cut it.
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