Pump Up Slim Down

If have been killing yourself doing cardio exercises yet you don’t seem to lose a pound, it’s time to pump iron.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, only 21 percent of women strength train for 2 or more times a week. This is because women are afraid that they’ll bulk up if they do. But actually, strength training is the "fastest fat-burning method" available.

Two sessions can reduce overall body fat by 3 percentage points in just 10 weeks, even if you don’t cut calories. That’s about 3 inches off your waist and hips. Strength training also gives your metabolism a long term boost, which helps keep your body fit.

Burn calories

Cardio exercises burn more calories than strength training during 30 sessions, but strength training torches more overall. According to a study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, women who did hour-long strength training workouts burned an average of 100 more calories 24 hours later (afterburn) than they did when they hadn’t lifted weights. 3 sessions a week would add up to 15,600 calories a year, or about 4 ½ pounds of fat. To increase the "afterburn," simply add more weight on your bar.

According to the study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, "women burned nearly twice as many calories in the two hours after their workout when they lifted 85 percent of their max load for eight reps than when they did more reps (15) at a lower weight (45 percent of their max)."

Another benefit of strength training is making the metabolism more active. According to Kenneth Walsh, director of Boston University School of Medicine’s Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute, "that effect is to burn extra calories, because muscle, unlike fat, is metabolically active." This means muscle burns calories even when you do not hit the gym. Replacing say 10 pound of muscle with 10 pounds of lean muscle will have you burning an extra 25-50 calories without breaking a sweat.

Target trouble spots

Remember that it’s not important just to lose weight; where you lose weight also matters. A lot of women have tried to get rid of their muffin tops only to end up losing bra size.

In a recent study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the researchers looked at dieters who strength trained 3 times a week and compared them with those who did cardio exercises 3 times a weeks. Both groups ate the same number of calories.

The researchers found that although both groups lost the same amount of weight – 26 pounds – the strength trainers lost pure fat. In contrast, the aerobic exercisers weight loss came from valuable muscle. Researchers also found that lifting weights is better at trimming abdominal fat that cardio exercises.

Rachel Cosgrove, owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California advices exercisers not to rely solely on the scale to track their progress. Muscle is denser than fat. It puts the same amount of weight into less space. "Often, our clients’ scales won’t drop as fast, but they’ll fit into smaller jeans."

Source: MSN