You may already know strength training burns more fat than cardio. In fact, you can burn about 35% more fat with strength training than you can with aerobic exercise.
It also helps build muscle, which is an essential way to help you create a strong, healthy body.
It’s also easy to get wrong! Getting it wrong means getting discouraged, failing to see results, and maybe even injuring yourself.
Follow these 5 tips to make sure you get it right.
1. Find someone to teach you how to do it.
Strength training can be intimidating. At home or at the gym, there are a dizzying array of options to choose from.
And knowing how to use the ones you choose is pretty much half the battle.
2. Understand what actually burns the calories and builds the muscle.
It’s not the workout.
It’s the recovery.
When you exercise you literally break muscle fibers. When you recover, the body burns fat to grab the raw materials it needs to rebuild your muscles.
This is one reason why strength training is so effective. Instead of huffing and puffing for an hour to burn a number of calories that doesn’t even really cover your last meal, you give your body a great reason to start dipping into those fat resources now.
But if you don’t handle the recovery period well you will limit the benefit you receive. So reach for your water bottle and eat plenty of protein.
Don’t reach for over-the-counter pain medication. You’ll kill the pain but you’ll load your body up with toxins. If your body can’t get rid of those toxins they’ll end up tucking them right back into a fat cell. If you’ve tried strength training before but didn’t lose weight, this is at least part of the answer.
Instead, take an Epsom Salt bath, use a personal massager, or turn to hot and cold therapy to ease aching muscles.
3. Avoid overtraining.
Pushing yourself too far might make you feel virtuous for half a second, but it won’t help you meet your fitness goals.
First, you’re not giving your body what it needs to recover. So the fat loss never happens. This is the other reason some people have never lost weight while weight training. They go and do it every single day to their max, and don’t give their body the time it needs.
And then there’s the fact that pushing yourself to the point of pain is a good way to talk yourself into stopping. Pushing yourself to the point of injury means you’ll pretty much be forced to stop.
4. But don’t stop altogether.
You don’t want to be sedentary, so take the time to engage in some light movement on recovery days. A 20-minute walk will do just fine, but make sure you do something.
You’ll work some of the soreness out, and you’ll give yourself an extra fat-burning boost.
It will also keep you in the exercise habit. And if you’ve been struggling to get fit, you already know staying in the habit is the biggest challenge of all!