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Want to Avoid the Holiday Spread on your Waistline??

Nov 4, 2015

1. You'll Lose 40 Percent More Fat

This might be the biggest secret in fat loss. While you've no doubt been told that aerobic exercise is the key to losing belly flab, weight training is actually far more valuable. Case in point: Penn State University researchers put overweight people on a reduced-calorie diet, and divided them into three groups—one that didn't exercise, another that performed aerobic exercise 3 days a week, and a third that did both aerobic exercise and weight training 3 days a week. The results: Each of the groups lost nearly the same amount of weight—about 21 pounds. But the lifters shed about 6 more pounds of fat than did those who didn't pump iron. Why? Because their weight loss was almost pure fat, while the other two groups lost just 15 pounds of lard, along with several pounds of muscle. Do the math and you'll see that weights led to 40 percent greater fat loss.

2. You'll Burn More Calories

Lifting increases the calories you burn while you're sitting on the couch. One reason: Your muscles need energy to repair and upgrade your muscle fibers after each resistance training workout. For instance, a University of Wisconsin study found that when people performed a total-body workout comprised of just three exercises, their metabolisms were elevated for 39 hours afterward. But what about during your workout? Christopher Scott, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at the University of Southern Maine, began using an advanced method to estimate energy expenditure during exercise; his data indicated that weight training burns more calories than originally thought—up to 71 percent more. Based on these findings, it's estimated that performing just one circuit of eight exercises—which takes about 8 minutes—can expend 159 to 231 calories. That's about the same as running at a 6-minute-mile pace for the same duration.

3. Your Clothes Will Fit Better

If you don't lift weights, you can say goodbye to those nice toned arms. Research shows that between the ages of 25 and 50, you're likely to lose 10 percent of the total muscle on your body. And that number will double by the time you're 60. Worse yet, it's likely that lost muscle is replaced by fat over time, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The scientists found that even people who maintained their body weight for up to 38 years lost three pounds of muscle and added three pounds of fat every decade.

4. You'll Handle Stress Better

Break a sweat in the weight room and you'll stay cool under pressure. Texas A&M University scientists determined that the fittest people exhibited lower levels of stress hormones than those who were the least fit. And in another study, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia found that the blood pressure levels of people with the most muscle returned to normal the fastest after a stressful situation, compared to those who had the least muscle.

5. You'll Sleep Better

Lifting hard helps you rest easier. Australian researchers observed that patients who performed three total-body weight workouts a week for 8 weeks experienced a 23 percent improvement in sleep quality. In fact, the participants were able to fall asleep faster and slept longer than before they started lifting weights.

6. You'll Get in Shape Faster

The term "cardio" shouldn't just describe aerobic exercise. A study at the University of Hawaii found that high tempo training with weights raises your heart rate 15 beats per minute higher than running at about 60 percent to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. According to the researchers, this approach not only strengthens your muscles, it provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of aerobic exercise. So you save time without sacrificing results.

You can achieve your health and fitness goals with the help of Fitness Together Personal Trainer. Fitness Together Chapel Hill offers one-on-one sessions with experienced personal trainers who will develop a workout program tailored to your needs and goals. An important part of their program is Nutrition Together, which provides nutritional counseling to complement your workouts. Visit us today at www.fitnesstogether.com/chapelhill.

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