It's almost March. This means that we have surpassed the sixth week of 2017. Roughly, according to some random statistics websites that I found, four to six weeks is right around the time people drop their New Year's resolutions. Unsurprisingly, most of those websites also conveyed that 25-30% of New Year's resolutions are centered around health/fitness or weight loss. Now I can't 100% validate those numbers, because the surveys were based on very small populations (~1,000 people in comparison to millions in the nation), but most conversations you have with people would probably suggest this to be fairly accurate.
Often times, when people talk about weight loss, they automatically think of calorie restriction and treadmills, FitBits and power walking. Weight loss is obviously an important health goal for a majority of the population, largely due to the obesity epidemic happening across the world. I don't think I need to go into the details of the health issues regarding obesity, as they are largely well known.
I think one thing that is often not thought of when trying to lose weight, is the incorporation or focus on strength training. I believe this to be essential not only for weight loss and improvement of body composition (how much body fat you have versus non-fat), but also for well roundedness.
In Part 1 of "Why Strength?", I talked about how strength training increases your body's ability to generate force, and therefore do more work. When trying to lose weight, you need to strength train in order to move with a higher work and power output. This higher work output utilizes increases your ability to use energy throughout your workouts.
Strength training also increases muscle size, which is important to losing weight regardless of whether you want tone or muscle size. You see, a pound of muscle weighs as much as a pound of fat, but it takes up far less space and actually uses energy. Fat uses no energy, as it is the excess energy you consume (in the form of food) reconfigured into a form that can be stored for later use. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body utilizes. Combine that with the appropriate diet, and you see they wheels starting turning a bit faster towards that goal!
If I lost you there, I'll try to break it down to be a little more streamlined to make a little more sense. Fat is excess energy, so it doesn't use energy. Muscle moves mass, and in the process uses energy. The more mass you move, the more energy you have to use. So the more muscle you have, the more energy you use, and when paired with the proper diet that energy comes from fat.
Now, I don't endorse solely weight training to lose weight. That would be ridiculously hard, and if I'm honest, you would probably never hit your goal. Personally, I suggest a
combination of both weight training and high intensity exercise (think sprints, stadiums, and circuits). However, I find weight training to be an imperative factor in whether or not people obtain their weight loss and body composition goals!