Why to incorporate weight lifting into exercise regimen

Everyone seems to accept the fact that diet and cardio/endurance exercise are important for weight loss and generalized fitness.  Strength training/resistance training/weight training (call it what you want) often falls on the back-burner.  However, it should be an integral part of your overall fitness regimen for many reasons.  Let’s first look at a study published by Dr. Westcott in 1991 – still holds true for today.

Participants in the study were split into two groups: the first group (endurance training) exercised on a stationary bike for 30 minutes, while the second group (endurance and weight training) exercised on the bike for 15 minutes and then did weights for 15 minutes.  Analysis at the end of the study revealed that the endurance only group lost 3 pounds of fat and 1/2 pound of lean body mass for total weight loss of 3.5 pounds.  The endurance and weight training group lost 8 pounds – gaining 2 pounds of lean body mass (muscle) but losing 10 pounds of fat.


Use it or lose it

I wish they had analyzed another group of subjects – an inactivity group which probably would have shown an increase in weight, with an increase in fat mass but decrease in lean body mass.   Without regular use, muscles will atrophy (or shrink). 

This study shows not only a clear benefit of weight training on fat mass, but also a much more favorable impact on body composition (e.g. body fat percentage).  Being skinny with no muscle tone is not impressive and doesn’t turn heads.  Worse yet, lack of muscle makes one prone to injuries. 

Consider integrating weights/strength training into your regimen – you will certainly enjoy the added benefits.

Westcott, W. Fitness Management. November, 1991.


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