As far as you know, you’re doing everything right to keep losing weight. You’re hitting your calorie and activity targets. You’re on the treadmill every day. You’ve got Shake Days and Cleanse Days down to an art form, and you’re eating balanced meals and controlling your portions while also getting plenty of fruits and veggies daily.
Are you still having trouble losing those last few pounds? If so, you’ve reached the dreaded weight-loss plateau. For some, it feels as if their bodies have suddenly slammed on the brakes and that fat burning has slowed to a crawl.
Though diet is still regarded as the most important step for any weight-management plan, resistance training is crucial in achieving not only fat loss, but also total-body, long-term transformation.
In combination with fewer calories, resistance training accelerates fat loss, improvements in body composition, and better heart health. Lifting weights is one of the most effective forms of exercise, particularly when using whole-body and free-weight exercises to shed body fat. Researchers also found that when it comes to weight training, the higher the intensity, the better the chances for fat loss and muscle retention.
When combined with diet, resistance exercises are more effective at inducing responses in body compositional changes than either aerobic exercise or diet alone. For example, choosing free weights over resistance bands or running over walking provided greater fat-loss benefits to subjects.
In addition, cardio exercises are quite effective, if not more effective, than resistance training for burning fat—especially in the form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). But cardio won’t help you retain or boost muscle as you lose weight, which is essential for maintaining or improving metabolism.
For long-lasting improvements of body composition, there’s no better way than weights. It takes just a few days a week of resistance training, combined with a nutritious weight-loss system, to start revving up fat burning once again.
Clark JE. Diet, exercise or diet with exercise: comparing the effectiveness of treatment options for weight-loss and changes in fitness for adults (18–65 years old) who are overfat, or obese; systematic review and meta-analysis. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2015; 14: 31.