What is the best form of exercise for losing weight?
Whenever I am asked about keeping weight off or losing weight I always make the same suggestion to both men and women, weightlifting. Men are usually surprised because they think that this is a way to gain weight not lose it. Women are surprised for a completely different reason. There is a misconception that weightlifting is not a proper exercise for women. The maxim goes that it isn’t feminine, and men don’t like strong women and if you lift weights you will instantly transform into the Incredible Hulk. This is wrong for a number of reasons. Lifting weights will probably make you look better and more attractive to the opposite sex no matter what gender you are (or the same sex for that matter if you are so inclined) as long as you don’t overdue it. Bodybuilders, both male and female, spend obsessive amounts of time lifting weights, taking supplements, dieting and drinking protein shakes and sometimes taking illegal steroids to look the way they do and it still requires a lot of effort. Thinking that you will be transformed into something like that just by pumping a little iron three times a week is plain silly.
Weightlifting and Strength training are the best exercise for men and women for two reasons:
Looks: More muscle tone will make you look better. (Even if you don’t care about feeling better and increased strength.) Cardio and aerobics will help you lose weight but you will also lose muscle tone. Also it is much easier to target problem areas through strength training. You are also less likely to lose fat places you want it, like in the bust for women, then you would through cardio.
Metabolism: You get more bang for your buck from strength training than cardio. Even if you burn more calories with a session of aerobics in an hour, weightlifting increases your metabolism more. That means you will start burning more calories when you aren’t exercising and as you get more used to weight training you will start to burn more calories during your weight training sessions. That saves you time. Plus, you can increase the amount of calories you burn by increasing the weight that you lift. So if you start with five pound dumbbells the first weeks and move up to ten pound dumbbells two weeks later, you have increased the amount of calories you are burning in the same amount of time significantly. Cardio can’t do that for you, and it will continue as long as you gradual increase the weight until you are at the level you want to be.
Despite the fact that this is the best kind of exercise for weight loss so many women are still resistant to it. The truth is that you won’t loss weight no matter what you do if you eat an unhealthy diet but if you are trying to eat healthy and still not where you want to be, continuing to do aerobics and hoping for different results is just foolish. There is no better combination for you than a healthy diet and a regular regime of strength training.
One of the factors that makes many people dismiss strength training at first is that it can be more strenuous to start. It is important to start slow, three times a week, and not to use weights heavier than you can handle. Also your body needs at least a day to heal, so never do strength training two days in a row. You are increasing your chance of injury. If you start slowly your soreness will be minimal and after just a month you will probably never feel soreness after strength training. In fact, you may feel worse when you skip a day than the day after you work out.
One of the other benefits of strength training is that it can be more fun than other forms of exercise. If you are trying to lose a large amount of weight you can mark your progress by your ability to increase the number of reps you are capable of doing or the amount of weight you can handle. (depending on your preference) With aerobics or cardio, the only way to increase your results is to do more of it and take more time. Weightlifting offers a more time efficient alternative.
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