I want to lose weight: I should go for a walk, shouldn’t I?

Everyone knows that exercise is a key to weight loss. Many people think that aerobic exercise is the best form of exercise to achieve this weight loss. People will spend hours walking on the street or on treadmills or on the street, on cross trainers and on bikes. But what would you say if someone told you that weight training is a more effective weight loss method?

Fat is one of the body’s major sources of fuel. In order to get rid of that fat, you need to use it up. An important thing to consider with this is your “metabolic rate”, or, how quickly your body will use its fuel. Muscles burn calories, so it stands to reason that the more muscle you have in your body, the more calories you will burn. This creates an increase in metabolic rate. The way to increase your muscle mass is through resistance exercise.

Studies have shown that a weights session can increase your metabolic rate for up to 4 hours after a weights session. This means that your body is still using up energy at a greater rate up to 4 hours after finishing! This fat burning rate is much higher than that produced by running or walking.

Weights will also increase your “basal metabolic rate”, or the rate at which fat is broken down while you are not exercising.  Again, research shows this to be a higher rate than that caused by running or walking.

While aerobic exercise will burn calories, it teaches your body to become as efficient as possible with its fuel (fat) in order to be able to go for longer and longer. While this has great benefits for other things, and does burn calories, it is not necessarily the best way of losing weight. The best way to lose weight is for the body to become as inefficient as possible with energy. By doing this it burns more fuel, in this case, fat. Some of the leanest athletes in the world are sprinters. They are power athletes and don’t run any further than 100m at a time. All their training is in the weights room.

The other key point to weight loss is diet – or not dieting as the case should be. According to research by respected American nutritionist Debra Waterhouse, diets involving reduced calorie intake are actually bad for women. The body contains many types of enzymes, but the main ones concerned with fat cells are, in unscientific terms, ones that help burn fat, and ones that help hold onto fat. It may interest you to know that as you “diet”, the activity of enzymes that hold onto fat increases (because you are starving them), and the activity of enzymes that burn fat decreases (because there is less need for them). So, as soon as your caloric intake is increased, the likelihood of putting on weight is significantly higher than if you try to lose weight through “proper” eating and exercise.

If weight loss is a major concern for you, don’t "diet" - eat properly, do some weights and see the difference.