My Goal is Weight loss…….. How do I achieve it with training?

I have spent the last 8 years training athletes for various activities and modalities of sport and one consistent theme I have discovered is that weightlifting is the most effective tool for increasing one’s fat metabolism and by doing so, decreasing their body fat.  Time and time again we see that when athletes focus on their weightlifting efforts, they see great gains in their lean body mass and in return decreased body fat percentages. Weightlifting preferably in the form of deadlifts, squats, presses, and other multi-joint, compound movements. In the preceding paragraphs we are going to discuss why this is and what you can do with the information.
Why?  Unless you are a professional athlete that trains and practices for several hours each day, the large majority of your daily caloric expenditure comes from your Basal Metabolic Rate (or BMR), the calories burned to sustain your bodily functions on a daily basis. You see, for every pound of lean muscle that you add, you will burn approximately 50 calories more per day. That might not sound like much but keep in mind if you swap out 5 pounds of fat for 5 pounds of muscle, you will burn close to 300 extra calories a day before you even hit the gym. Furthermore, intense weight training results in an afterburn effect where your metabolism is elevated for up to 38 hours after your training session. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, and you can read more about EPOC HERE. Not to mention all the other wonderful benefits of lifting such as improved bone density, ligament and tendon function, increased coordination between muscle fibers to allow us to move better. Doing cardio alone, will only decrease your BMR as time goes on. This turns into an uphill battle as your BMR keeps dropping, you’ll need to increase the amount of cardio you do to create the same deficit. Without weight training, you’ll lose muscle which will actually account for some weight loss, and you might even lose a few pounds of fat if your diet is decent, but it’s unlikely you will achieve (or maintain) the level of fat loss you desire.

“Won’t weights make me bulky?”

Getting big and muscular is very hard to do. Just ask any average male. It takes years of hard work, the right training program, and a lot of food . . . it just doesn’t happen by accident. Weight training will add a few pounds of needed lean body mass which will in turn make you leaner and give you a better looking physique. Women simply don’t have the levels of testosterone needed to support the type of muscle growth you fear. Unless you are taking anabolic steroids, gaining too much muscle is probably the least of your worries. And if you are taking steroids, gaining muscle is still probably the least of your issues……think liver damage and other deficiencies in organ function.

“Marathon runners are skinny, shouldn’t I run to become thinner?
That makes as much sense as playing basketball to get taller. This logical fallacy is commonplace in fitness as many people are quick to make hasty generalizations. In any sport, genetics certainly play an important role. The best runners are thin because skinny people make for better runners. Just as the best basketball players are tall, the best runners are thin. In fact, many people who take up running end up “skinny fat”, a physique denoted by a lack of lean muscle mass and often accompanied by a noticeable amount of fat or “doughy” appearance. These people are known to complain about being unable to lose the last the few pounds of fat around their midsection while sipping on a fruit smoothie or over a lunch of whole grain pasta.

What can I do about this?

So how do I go about increasing my lean body mass and improving my body composition?
Definitely focus on the strength component in our group workouts. If you want to get more experienced with lifting, consider signing up for the Olympic Lifting classes with Chris Fischer and/or the Powerlifting classes with Jeff Robison. You’ll focus on the core lifts, increasing strength, lean body mass, and overall performance. Many of the clients in these classes have leaned out while getting stronger at the same time. Also, look into signing up for a nutritional consult or even the upcoming nutrition “clinics” that are absolutely FREE! You’ll get some useful instruction on how to dial in your nutrition so that you can improve your body composition and performance with a sustainable approach.

Olympic Lifting Sign up HERE

Power Lifting Sign up HERE

Dates for the FREE Nutrition Clinics are:

April 25th 2013, May 9th, 2013, May 23, 2013, June 6th, 2013, June 20, 2013.  6:30 pm at No Excuses CrossFit. More will be posted later.