Weight loss is at the forefront of many of our minds as the new year comes round, and with that goal comes a commitment to cleaning up the diet and doing more physical activity. By and large, this increase in physical activity (“exercise”) means doing more cardio.
And, make no mistake, cardio certainly has its place in supporting cardiometabolic health, increasing daily energy expenditure, and helping weight loss.
Weightlifting (i.e. resistance training) also should be a mainstay of any health and fitness regimen.
This is why we include personalized resistance-training programs with every entry into our transformation challenges.
If you’ve been on the fence about picking up the weights, here are three reasons to start weightlifting for weight loss this winter.
#1 Boosts Metabolism
We all know that cardio helps burn calories, and certain forms of cardio, such as interval training or HIIT, not only help burn calories during the workout, but for hours and hours after the workout is over (aka the “afterburn effect”).
But, here’s the thing…
Resistance training can also boost metabolism by increasing your energy expenditure during the workout and for hours afterwards. Moreover, lifting weights also helps build muscle and strength. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns (even at rest).
What this means is that more muscle = more calorie burning.
And, if you’re worried about being “bulky” or “blocky”...don’t be. It takes YEARS and YEARS of eating tons and tons of calories (along with a lot of “chemical enhancements”) to become a bodybuilder.
All of this is to say that lifting weights won’t make you look like an IFBB pro, but it can help you look and feel better all the while improving your cardiometabolic health.
#2 Combats Holiday Weight Gain
Let’s be real…the holiday season is a time that many of us eschew our healthy eating and exercise habits and indulge in the finer fare of the holidays. Inevitably, this leads to weight gain.
Adding a few weekly resistance training sessions to your workout schedule can help you increase your overall weekly expenditure, thereby staving on the holiday weight “creep” that sabotages so many individuals.
#3 Heighten Mood
Much of the focus on resistance training is on building muscle or burning calories, but there’s one HUGE benefit that’s often under-emphasized -- improves mood.
Intense exercise like resistance-training causes the brain to release a number of feel good chemicals, including dopamine, serotonin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and endorphins.
Furthermore, a 2018 meta-analysis found that resistance training may help reduce depressive symptoms, no matter how hard or long the workout is. In other words, even if you only have 10-15 minutes to set aside for training each day, it can help boost mood!
#4 Make Good on Your New Year’s Resolutions
When the new year comes around, motivation is high and many people diligently stick to their diet and exercise plan. However, with each passing week, the number of individuals adhering to their resolutions dwindles, which is one of the contributing factors to why so many people give up on their resolutions come February and March.
But, that doesn’t have to be the case.
By committing to your goals each and every day, you can stay true to your convictions and resolutions.
This is one of the reasons that joining a transformation challenge can be helpful. You have added incentive, motivation, and encouragement to continue pursuing your goals. Everyone who enters our transformation challenge gets access to our private Facebook group where you can interact and get advice from other like-minded individuals.
Plus, resistance training workouts largely take place indoors -- away from the cold, wind, and snow.
This time of year the weather can be a deterrent for many individuals who look to jogging or running as their primary form of exercise, leading them to eschew their daily workout(s) and miss out on their health and fitness goals.
- Gordon BR, McDowell CP, Hallgren M, Meyer JD, Lyons M, Herring MP. Association of Efficacy of Resistance Exercise Training With Depressive Symptoms: Meta-analysis and Meta-regression Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018;75(6):566–576. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.0572