Many women stick to cardio and flexibility workouts in their weight loss plans because of the common fear about bulking up. But this isn’t so because the female body isn’t naturally designed to be as bulky as the male body; the higher testosterone and, thus, greater muscle ratio in men is behind it.
Strength training using free weights has numerous benefits for women who want to shed excess pounds. The challenge lies in attaining balance between strength training, cardio and flexibility exercises since each element contributes to the goal.
Increase in Fat and Calorie Burning
Muscle burns calories in greater quantities and in a faster manner than fat – and that’s why men are more likely to lose weight faster than women. According to numerous studies, the body burns 50 calories more for each added pound of muscle gain and on a daily basis, at that!
So, if you gain one pound of muscle from the combination of diet and weight training, then you’re burning 350 calories more in a week. Just imagine the speed with which your body can shed its excess pounds while also gaining a toned physique.
Muscle also burns fat even when the body is at rest, even when you’re sleeping or sitting. The effect is similar to that of high intensity interval training (HIIT) wherein the body continues to burn fats and calories for the next 24-48 hours after completion of the workout.
Plus, you can also apply the principles of HIIT in weight training. You will then get the benefits of both so you end up with both a slim body and a toned physique.
Increase in Basal Metabolic Rate
Weight training also increases the body’s basal metabolic rate. Studies have shown that resistance training can increase it by as much as 15%, an impressive increase when you’re becoming frustrated with the progress of your plan.
Basically, you will be burning about 300 calories more every day with the 15% increase; the assumption is that you’re already burning 2,000 calories every day. The 300 calories, by the way, is equivalent to a Mars chocolate bar but we don’t recommend eating one per day just because you will be burning it, so to speak, anyway. Healthy eating habits are still a must when you’re trying to lose weight.
Yet another benefit of weight training is stronger muscles, tendons and ligaments. These, in turn, contribute to reduced risk of injury during exercise and increased flexibility.