Lifting weights to lose stomach fat
"As you age, you lose muscle mass whether you like it or not," says study coauthor Rania Mekary.Having a lot of that visceral fat, regardless of how much you weigh, increases risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.A new study from Harvard reveals that the best way to burn belly fat is not through running, swimming, or cycling."Even 48 hours after you've weight trained, you're still burning more calories than a person who did not lift weights." Although this study zeroed in on the effects of 20 minutes per day of weight training, the results suggest that spending additional time lifting can be even more beneficial.TRAINING PLAN: The Real Weight-Loss Workout The big reason why weight training is so effective at beefing up and diminishing fat might seem obvious: By pumping iron, you're continually building and maintaining muscle, which doesn't necessarily happen when you rely solely on cardio for exercise. "When you weight train and build more strength and muscle mass, over the long-term, your muscles will adapt in a way that they are able to take in more oxygen," Mekary says.The researchers assessed fat gain by measuring the men's waist circumferences, which they say provides a far more accurate picture of health than body weight does.Community Q&A In the world of fitness, it is common knowledge that losing fat with weights is not only effective, but simple.Taking in oxygen is necessary for the body to be able to burn fat, she explains.While cardiovascular exercise is important to ensure whole-body health, it turns out the true ticket to a trim waistline is daily strength training."Other studies have found that even between sets, during these very short breaks, your muscles are pumped up and you continue to burn calories," Mekary says.Weight training should be combined with a healthy eating habits, daily activities and aerobic exercise as part of a well-rounded healthy lifestyle.When you burn more calories than you eat, you lose weight."With the loss of lean muscle, you therefore gain more fat mass, which we know weighs less than lean muscle." For guys, this age-related shift in body composition can be especially troublesome, because they tend to accumulate that flab in and around the gut.Although the men in the study who did both kinds of exercise staved off the most amount of fat gain as they aged, when the effects of one type of workout were compared directly to the other, it became clear that weight training trumps aerobic exercise in its ability to keep off excess fat.
"We found a dose-response relationship between weight training and waist circumference," says Mekary. But at 20 minutes per day, you will see results." However, transforming your muscles into fat-burning machines takes time, Mekary says.Lifting weights burns calories, although not as much as aerobic activity such as running, bicycling or swimming."When you have more mitochondria, your body is able to burn more fat as a source of energy." The fat-shredding doesn't end once you put down the barbells, either.Through this process of increasing oxygen uptake, the muscles develop more mitochondria, the energy sparkplugs in muscle cells.If you're just starting to strength train, you can't expect a svelte physique right away.
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