You’ve probably seen them at the gym. They’re big, they don’t say much, and they are preoccupied with lifting.
Most gyms have at least one large group of muscle-bound men taking over the weight-lifting section. While plenty of people scoff at power-lifters as being vain and single-minded, you might nave noticed they also have relatively small ratios of body fat.
While the Arnold Schwarzenegger look is best achieved with extreme crash diets and dehydration, most of the weight lifters at a gym will not look like Mister Universe, but they won’t look like a pudgy North Korean Olympic lifter either. That’s because weight lifting burns fat. And as a number of dieters have discovered, it does so at quite an intense pace.
Weight loss is nothing more than a simple equation: with around 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, losing a pound is nothing more than the difference between how much you eat and how much energy you expend. Once 3,500 calories accumulate from that deficit, the person loses a pound.
That is, of course, conventional wisdom. The reality is that things are trickier, like the pressure that comes from intense dieting, both physical (starvation) and psychological (hunger stress). Any diet program, particularly the pre-packaged, pre-portioned lines, have quite the reduced caloric content, with some meal plans hovering under 1400. This is a lot less than the human body requires, of course, regardless of gender, so the body slowly goes into starvation mode, and starts to ‘eat itself’.
That’s where anaerobic exercising comes in. While cardio is very good for burning calories, your metabolism quickly gets used to the training you do on a regular basis and slows down to conserve energy. Anaerobic exercise, like weight lifting, jumpstarts it back up. Therefore in order to properly lose weight, you need to lift weights.
The other thing weight-lifting helps you do during a diet is ensure that your body maintains the muscle mass under the strain of a diet. (This is a time when 'Use it or lose it' is very true.)
Moderate exercise with dumbbells is adequate in the beginning, and you can easily move to some light barbell lifts even if you don't have the desire to become a 'weight lifter'. Muscle development uses up energy, so you would be doing your body a very big favour by lifting during a diet. This can be easily achieved in the gym or at home with nothing more than a few weights, hard work, and determination. Just remember to pace yourself and not overdo it, as too much lifting can have dire consequences, especially in a weakened state, during a diet.
Weightlifting can be very good exercise on its own, but it is extremely good during diets, both to maintain your muscle mass and to boost your metabolism from the lull that any diets naturally lead to.