Wondering why you should focus on strength training exercises as you endeavor to burn fat? Many people learn that they can’t burn a ton of calories through exercise and immediately give up on hitting the gym—a huge mistake for health, beauty, and general well-being. Here are seven important reasons to burn fat and build muscle at the same time.
Burning fat and losing weight certainly offers benefits to your health, but not nearly to the extent that proactive exercise and muscle building will. By building muscle, you can make sure you’re not slipping into the highly unhealthy ‘skinny fat’ category.
Strict dieting can have a negative impact on your mood, although some diets are better or worse than others. Exercising and building muscle, on the other hand, will allow you to improve your overall well-being and mood.
Even if you’re exercising to burn fat, it’s simply not as efficient as exercising with the intention of building muscle. Muscle burns fat at rest, and for anyone who isn’t already athletic strength training will offer comparable or even superior caloric burn. That means exercises that build muscle get residual benefits long after you stop exercising.
This one’s crucial. When you’ve been carrying extra weight for long enough, your body learns to love that weight. That makes it very difficult for even the strictest diets to overcome your capacity for homeostasis and make you lose weight permanently. Building muscle allows you to gain all the aesthetic benefits of weight loss without forcing you to fight against homeostasis; your weight on the scale may not change much, but you’ll love the way you look.
Building muscle is a great way to make sure you don’t even up with loose skin after significant weight loss. That’s not to say you’re going to want to fill in all the lost space with muscle—you probably don’t want that level of bulk! But well-defined and shaped muscles will give a better shape to your skin, something you’ll appreciate if you’ve lost elasticity.
If you’re like most people striving to burn fat, your metabolism isn’t as great as you’d like. This can be hormonal due to illnesses or aging, can be a natural result of years of poor diet, or simply be genetic. Regardless of why, there’s one consistent solution—building muscle. Not only does consistent straight training and improved musculature directly burn calories, improving your resting metabolism, it improves your hormone profile in a way that will impact your body in a very noticeable way.
Intense strength training offers huge benefits to any dieter, simply due to the impact it has on hunger. When you engage in more intense exercise, especially around cravings, you’ll notice a significant drop-off in hunger and desire for food. Compare this with lighter exercise, which can stimulate hunger instead.
Of course, these are all great reasons to build muscle while you burn fat—but what about…
Time. Strength training doesn’t take much time out of your week, as long as you plan it properly and stick to your regimen. Even including warm-ups and cooldown, you can be in and out of the gym in an hour—and you only need to be there a few times a week.
Bulk. Many people don’t want to take up strength training because they don’t want to end up enormous, but this isn’t a realistic worry. People work very hard and eat a LOT of protein to get big; it’s not something you’re going to stumble into by accident while eating to burn fat.
Expense. You don’t need access to a pricey gym or expensive home equipment to do strength training. Any form of resistance training will get the job done—pushups, pullups, and body weight squats can take you quite ways. And if you do want to graduate to the gym or a home setup, standard barbells are all you’re going to want to work with anyway for a quick, effective, efficient regimen.
Remember, it’s not about getting strong or bulky. It’s about building a healthy body that will keep you lean and low-fat.