So, here’s a pretty exciting new study for ya.
Researchers from the Obesity Journal performed a study on 10,500 men over a period 12 years to see if weight lifting prevented increases in waist circumference over the years.
Let’s go on a side-trail, real quick.
Waist circumference is one of the best ways to measure body composition, in my opinion. BMI can be inaccurate if you have a lot of muscle mass, and the scale doesn’t take a lot of factors into account, but just spits out a number.
I’ve had multiple clients who have lost a significant amount of fat, but actually had the scale GO UP a few pounds. This usually ends up with my having to explain that they’ve lost fat mass (as evidenced by how much better their shirt fits now), but have gained muscle mass.
Gaining muscle mass is a good thing!
With waist circumference, people can actually see that they’re losing fat. Over the period of a month, the scale may not change much, but one can actually visually see that they’ve lost an inch or two around their waist.
BACK TO THE STUDY.
So, anyways, the researchers found that men who regularly lifted weights >25 minutes/day had a smaller increase in waist circumference over a period of 12 years when compared to both men who did not lift weights, and men who just did cardio alone.
So, what can we learn from this?
If you want to prevent weight gain over time, then lifting weights can help you to ward off gaining fat. However, I believe that this is also proof that those who are currently trying to lose weight should lift weights as well.
Why is that?
For a couple of reasons.
1. First, weight training builds muscle mass, and muscle burns calories. The more muscle mass that you have, the more calories that your body is going to burn at rest. The more calories that you burn at rest and throughout the day just going about your business, the easier it’s going to be to lose weight and to keep from gaining fat.
Picture it this way. If you have a steam engine with a just a few cars attached to it, it’s only going to need X amount of coal to get it to where it wants to be. Any extra coal is just overkill, and doesn’t do you any good.
However, if you add 3 train cars to that locomotive you’re going to need just a little bit more fuel than you originally did. Add 3 more, and the fuel needs increase even more. If you continue to add more and more train cars to that steam engine you’re going to eventually end up having to use a much larger amount of fuel than you originally needed just to get the train to move anywhere.
It’s the same with losing weight. By slowly increasing muscle mass through a regular weight training program, you increase the amount of fuel that’s needed just for you to survive. Because fat is stored energy, your body draws off of those reserves to get you through the day.
2. Second, studies show that you burn more calories throughout the day after a weight-training workout compared to your traditional cardio workout.
After weight lifting, you actually increase something called EPOC, your Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. It’s a fancy way of ultimately saying that you stoke your metabolism after lifting weights.
Now, you do this through cardio training as well, but not to the extent that you do through lifting weights. After a weight-training workout, EPOC can actually be elevated for up to 48 hours afterwards.
This could make a rather drastic difference in the long term! Just like monthly installments into a savings account, all of those hours of elevated metabolism can quickly add up into something much larger than expected as well.
If you want to lose weight, don’t forsake the weight room. Most people automatically assume that they need to head for the treadmill anytime they gain an extra pound or two, and though I still believe that cardio is a good thing, I don’t believe that extended endurance training is the best way to lose weight (that’s another blog for another day).
Lifting weights boosts your resting metabolism through two ways: bigger muscles, and increased EPOC after workouts.
SOOO, if you want to lose weight, you may want to start to learn how to pick up some.
Here’s the study if you wanna check it out.