Resistance exercise carries with it so many benefits. From getting stronger to strengthening bones to preserving muscle mass when dieting, resistance exercise has a large amount of benefits.
When aiming to lose fat resistance training can be a very important and necessary tool. Many peoples first step when wanting to lose weight, is to cut calories extremely low and very quickly as well as up the cardio and this never ends well (the result is an unwanted fat to fat free mass loss ratio (in other words, they lose more muscle than fat) ending up with an undesired body composition).
When losing fat you are almost always going to lose some portion of fat-free mass, however, the goal is to lose as little muscle mass as possible while shedding that unwanted fat. That is where resistance exercise comes into play. See, when you perform some form of exercise that stresses your muscles significantly you are telling your body, I need this muscle, use another source for energy. If, however, our muscles are predominantly sedentary, they seem unnecessary to our body and it will break them down to provide sufficient energy. Unfortunately, our bodies want to hold onto fat and do not mind as much, breaking down muscle tissue for its energy, when in an energy deficit. We need to give our body a “reason” to preserve muscle and use fat for fuel. A solid resistance exercise program, stressing our muscles, is that “reason”.
How should you implement a resistance workout into your overall program?
– Frequency: 2-3 non-consecutive days a week. Monday, Wednesday & Friday. Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday. Monday and Wednesday. Tuesday and Thursday.
– Sets & Reps: 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions
– Rest: 45-90 seconds (depending on goals and weight/load being used). Generally speaking, the higher the load the higher the rest interval.
– Exercises: Compound movements such as squats, bench press, rows, military press, deadlift, etc.
Programming is much more than these 4 factors, this is just a very basic and general outline for making an effective resistance training workout during a weight loss phase to “signal” your body to preserve your muscle mass.
Lastly, you should always consult your physician before starting a new exercise program and should always make safety a number one priority. Listen to your body, consult the right professionals, and stay safe. Remember the main goal is overall health and wellness.