It’s not uncommon for the colder months to add a few pounds to waistlines across the county. The food’s a little richer, people may spend a little more time in front of the sofa, and they may retire their warm-weather runs.
But running isn’t the only way to manage weight. Although it seems to be what most people believe is the best form of exercise for weight loss, it’s not the only show in town.
New research from Australia is showing weight training offers comparable fat loss to aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. Strength training can be easily done indoors, whether at home or at a community center or gym.
Researchers looked at 58 previously published studies that included over 3,000 participants, none of which had any previous strength training experience. They worked out in sessions for about 45-60 minutes, an average of three times per week.
On average, they lost about 1.3 percent of total body fat or the equivalent of about 1.2 pounds.
Muscle can help you lose fat in a couple of ways. One is that it increases your metabolism. Muscle is rather “expensive” and it uses up a lot of calories, allowing you to burn more fat each day. Next, performing exercise requires more energy usage.
Building muscle can also change the way a person eats as they begin to experience some of the benefits of muscle, potentially propelling them to eat in a way that supports greater muscle growth and strength.
Featuring plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, a muscle-building diet is inherently healthy and promotes fat loss.
Overall, however, strength training still isn’t the best approach to weight loss. It may be a tool, but it’s still not as beneficial as diet. Include a workout routine to support dietary efforts and you’ll optimize results, but take some comfort in the fact that you don’t have to run your way to weight loss.