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Aerobics Is Not The Key To Weight Loss

Barbara Brenseke

For more definition, lift heavier.(Photo: arsenik/istockphoto.com)

When you are trying to change your physique there are things that you must do to make the most out of your efforts. Different changes will require different actions. The cause and effect relationship between what you do and how it effects the outcome is most evident when you are pushing your body to look, feel, or perform differently.

If you just want to run off the pounds and not watch your calories, you won't succeed. The same is true if you are trying to eat properly to get you stronger, it just won't happen. Here's why, when you exercise your metabolism begins to speed up. What follows is your appetite increases. So the same amount of calories you ate to feel full before, is now increased so your body can preserve precious muscle mass. It doesn't make sense to burn more calories if you are not going to keep track of the calories going in.

Bottom line, eating more protein will not directly cause a person to become more flexible, faster, or stronger. At the same time, yoga, weight training, and sprints will not necessarily get you thinner. Of course eating protein can help you get stronger and sprints can help you to lose weight, but these are not the primary effects.

If you want to lose weight, an exercise program is imperative, yet, still secondary to what and how much you eat. If you want to become stronger or perform better, diet is imperative and still not as important as training. You must diet to get leaner, you must train to get stronger. Don't try to solely to run off the pounds, and don't eat gobs of protein to get stronger if you are going to sit on the couch and play X-box.

You may have been told that running is the ultimate fat burner but the effects of running stop the minute you hop off the treadmill. Build more muscle and you'll keep your body burning fat all day long. According to one study, adding just two sessions of heavy lifting each week can reduce your body fat by three percent without cutting calories. Another study from the University of Alabama showed that dieters who lifted heavy weights lost the same amount of weight as dieters who did just cardio, but all the weight lost by the weight lifters was primarily fat while the cardio group lost muscle along with some fat. Adding muscle translated to smaller clothing sizes than their less muscular counterparts.

If you want more definition, lift heavier. Women are always hesitant about lifting heavy because they don't want to look like a body builder. This can't be further from the truth, since women cannot get bigger muscles because of low testosterone levels. Lifting heavier has the potential to make women more defined.

You may burn more calories during your 1-hour cardio class than you would lifting weights for an hour, but a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who did weight training burned an average of 100 more calories during the 24 hours after their training session ended. And the effect is magnified when you increase the weight, as explained in a study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Women who lifted more weight for fewer reps (85 percent of their max load for 8 reps) burned nearly twice as many calories during the two hours after their workout than when they did more reps with a lighter weight (45 percent of their max load for 15 reps).

Lifting lighter weights for more reps is great for building muscle endurance, but if you want to increase your strength, increasing your weight load is key. Add compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and rows to your heavy weights and you'll be amazed at how fast you'll build strength.

Your body is born with pre-conceived places it wants to store fat, a University of Alabama study found that the women who lifted weights lost more intra-abdominal fat (deep belly fat) than those who just did cardio. This not only helps you lose your belly fat and look better in a bathing suit, but it also lessens your risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers.

Lifting heavier weights and building strength as a result comes with a big self-esteem boost. Your strength will not only show in your lean, toned body, but in your attitude as well.

Barbara is the owner of Train For the Game in Bellmore. She is a strength and conditioning coach who works with athletes and people of all ages.

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