Why strength training is important … at any size


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There’s a common misconception that people who need to lose a significant amount of weight needn’t bother with resistance training. Apparently, the thought is that until you lose a good portion of the extra fat on your body, why bother toning your muscles?

Well you may not be able to see those six-pack abs right away, but Ashlee Parker, a certified personal trainer in Birmingham, Ala., wants people to know that the worst thing you can do, for your health and weight-loss efforts, is skimp on strength training.

“You need both resistance training and cardio,” Parker explains, “because, well, picture a graph. With cardio, your metabolic rate goes up, but once you get off the cardio machine, it falls back down — like falling off pa cliff. With resistance training, your heart rate is up and the difference is, when you stop lifting, your metabolic rate stays up longer.”

This additional boost in your metabolic rate is what helps you burn more calories, even when at rest following a workout.

The best type of resistance training for weight loss is circuit training, Parker says. Moving from one strength exercise to the next in rapid succession gets your heart rate up — in a sense giving you a cardio and strength workout in one. By not stopping between, for example, a round of push-ups, squats and bicep curls, you can tone muscle as you increase your cardiovascular health and burn fat.

Burning fat and toning muscle? Sounds like circuit training is a winner, no matter how much weight you have to lose.