The Psychology Of Fitness

Mindsets, Body Types and Everything In Between
Ultimate Physique Rules #2 ~ Strength Training is Essential

Ultimate Physique Rules #2 ~ Strength Training is Essential

Strength Training should be the cornerstone of any Fat Loss program.  If you’re trying to simply lose weight, then it’s less important.  But if you’re trying to lose fat, look better and stay that way long-term, then strength training is of the utmost importance.  The question is why? 

Here’s 12 Reasons:

1 – Muscle is more metabolically active.  The numbers cited for this increase in energy expenditure (the additional calories burnt) per day range from 12 – 50 calories for every pound of muscle gained.  If people are trying to sell you something, than the number is closer to 50 calories.  If people are going off pure science, than it’s closer to 12.  Fat on the other hand burns from 2-6 calories per day.  At it’s very worst then muscle burns at least 2 times the amount of calories per day than fat. 

What is known though is that the more muscle and lean you are, the more you can eat and “cheat” with foods.  I wouldn’t do this while trying to lose fat.  With simple maintenance though, the more muscle you have, the more leeway in terms of the foods/calories you can consume.

2 – Strength Training Increases your metabolism for up to 38 hours post exercise – This means that you will be burning more calories, without any conscious effort on your part following an intense strength training workout.

3 – Muscle takes up less space than fat.  In other words, having more muscle makes you look thinner. Do I really need to add more than that sentence? 

4 – Sarcopenia – the fancy word for muscle loss that occurs naturally with age – can only be fought off with strength training.  Many people under-estimate how important muscle is as you age.  From 25 – 50, average muscle loss is about one-fifth to one-quarter pound per year.  That means about 2-3 pounds of muscle per decade.  Most of this can be thwarted with Strength-Training. 

After 50 though, muscle loss goes off a cliff and a sedentary individual will lose up to a pound of muscle per year.  In this example, if you’re a sedentary male at 160 pounds with 20% bodyfat, you have 124 pounds of LBM.   By the time you reach retirement age, that will drop to 109 pounds of LBM.  The saddest part, is that more than likely, your actual weight won’t drop.  That means that by 65 you’re still 160 pounds, but now you’re 32% bodyfat. 

The ONLY way to stave off that muscle loss is through strength training.  Not dieting, not running more and not taking special supplements. 

5 – Strength training benefits muscle building and fat burning hormones.  Probably, the most important hormone for heart disease, insulin, becomes more sensitive with regular strength training.  This means your body will release less insulin in response to glucose in your blood(which is a good thing).  Growth hormone and testosterone levels increase, which gives both guys and women more vitality and energy. 

6 – The more muscle you have, the longer you will live, on average.  The correlation between muscle mass and longevity is one of the strongest correlations there is – beating out almost every other factor from one’s cholesterol levels to income.   The added benefit of having more muscle, besides simply living longer, is that the person tends to be a more active and healthy individual. 

7 – Strength Training increases bone health and decreases fractures among the elderly.  Bone health, although it sounds like a problem for the elderly only, starts when you’re in your teens and twenties.  Which means, the earlier you start strength training (and keep it up), the more likely you are to have stronger bones as you age. With that said, starting strength training at any age will help with bone health. 

8 – Almost all fat loss studies show that compared with diet and aerobics, diet with strength training  participants will lose more fat and look better.  Almost EVERY SINGLE STUDY. 

9 – Studies have shown that the more muscle mass you have, the better your blood lipids, the lower your risk for falling prey to Type 2 Diabetes and the less visceral fat you have.  Visceral fat, as opposed to subcutaneous fat (under your skin), is the fat around your organs.  The fat around your organs is much more dangerous on a whole because it interferes with how well that organ works. 

10 – Men and Women will get stronger from strength training.  Being stronger makes every day activities easier.  What’s more important though is that 99% of women will not gain “size” or “bulk” from strength training.  Instead, they’ll get stronger, will typically lose fat and look smaller from the denser (aka, toned) look.  Why won’t women gain “size”?  They produce far too little testosterone.  Women make anywhere from 1/16th to 1/100th the amount of testosterone as men.  And personally, if you think gaining muscle is so easy – it’s not.  Men don’t take steroids simply because it’s “easy” to build muscle. 

11 – Strength training can be a great stress reliever and has been shown to decrease depression.  Not only will you look better, but you’ll feel better. 

12 – Personally, my favorite reason – You can always progress with Strength Training.   This will be a separate “Rule” but for now, know that there are countless ways to work out harder with strength training.  This means you can start as a complete novice and it would take you literally years, if not decades, before you’ve tried all of the different lifting models out there.  Beyond that, you can adjust the volume and intensity to best match your lifestyle, personality and time limitations.  The same can not be said for simple aerobic conditioning. 

With those 12 reasons why Strength Training is beneficial, the question remains, what should you do? 

Start with these three steps:
1 – Learn the basic Strength Training Movements.
You can learn more about them:  Here – The Best Methods For Fat Loss – Exercise part 1 and Part 2
Or here with the Level 2 workout video.
2 – Work your way up to using at least 70% of your 1 rep max at least 1 -2x’s per week.  For example if you can lift 100 pounds 1 time, you should be using at least 70 pounds. 
3 – Use Strength Training Methods at least 3-4 days per week for Fat Loss.

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