Raise your hand if you wouldn’t mind dropping a couple pounds.
OK, pretty much everybody.
A lean and healthy body is one of the most sought after prizes in North America today, and yet, it’s a feat so few manage to achieve.
One of the biggest obstacles people face when they decide to lose weight is they just don’t know where to start.
This isn’t because there’s a lack of information. It’s the exact opposite. That little device you’re reading this article on can easily dig up the answer to anything you want to know (except things like ‘the meaning of life’, or an accurate weather forecast). The real cause of confusion is the overwhelming amount of information available.
Google ‘weight loss’ and you will get 261,000,000 results. Sifting through this information you quickly find that one article contradicts the next.
It’s no wonder knowing where to start is so overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be this way.
No matter what you are looking to achieve in fitness, the base of your success will always be strength.
How does building strength help you lose weight? Here are five ways.
1. Strength helps Build Lean Muscle Tissue
Building a whole bunch of muscle may or may not be your goal, but building some lean muscle will play a major role in helping you lose weight.
Lean tissue requires a lot of calories in order to survive. This means that very bit of muscle tissue you add to your body will boost your metabolism. A faster metabolism means you burn more calories throughout the day. Even while you sleep.
As if that’s not good enough, muscle tissue also looks great. It’s what gives women their curves and men their V-shaped physiques.
Maybe bulking up isn’t exactly at the top of your to-do list. That’s OK. Since muscle tissue is denser than fat, one pound of muscle is actually smaller than one pound of fat. When you add muscle and shed fat you look leaner and smaller, even if you weigh the same amount.
Muscle is your friend, even if getting smaller is the goal.
2. Strength Improves Performance in the Gym
The stronger you get the more calories you will burn during your workouts. This is because training for strength will improve how well you do everything.
You’re able to lift more weight, push harder during circuits, and produce more power and speed during your cardio workouts.
This all means you’re burning more calories per workout, even if the workout lasts the same length of time.
In a world where time is the ultimate asset, burning more calories in the same amount of time is a nice bonus brought to you by strength training.
3. Strength Builds Mental Resilience
Getting in great shape is hard. If it were easy there would be a lot more people walking around looking lean and healthy.
One of the biggest reasons people don’t reach their goals is because they don’t stick with it long enough to make it. Eventually the process of losing weight feels long and drawn out, motivation begins to wane, and eventually, one bad habit at a time, the plan falls apart.
Fortunately, strength training will give you a leg up in the longevity and resilience game. Show me someone who has built up their strength and I will show you one tough individual.
Strength training will build more mental toughness than almost anything.
Get stronger, build mental toughness, and stay in the game long enough to enjoy the fruits of your hard work.
4. Strength Helps Prevent Injury
Nothing will take the wind out of your sails like a sidelining injury.
Not only does it make it difficult to continue your workout plan (or impossible, depending on the injury), it has potential to deflate your motivation like nothing else.
Building strength also builds physical durability.
If strength is Michael Jordan, then durability is Scottie Pippen. Where you see one you see the other, and together they win. A lot.
By strengthening the muscles around the joints, as well as the tendons themselves, you begin to bulletproof your body. This helps you stay in the game so you can keep making strides in your weight loss journey.
5. Building Strength is Empowering
When you set out to lose weight, seeing results is crucial to your future success.
In order to keep doing something, people need this thing called positive feedback. If we don’t get it, we eventually stop doing that thing.
Losing weight is no different. If we don’t get positive feedback in the form of results, we abandon ship.
Positive feedback supercharges our motivation and heightens our focus. The more positive feedback the better.
While seeing positive feedback in the form of actual weight loss is ideal, seeing it in other forms can be just as powerful.
Strength gains can come pretty quickly, especially if you’re new to it. Going to the gym and being able to lift more weight every week is not only motivating, it’s highly empowering.
The process of losing weight should be an empowering one. Feeling capable, and seeing evidence of your ever growing strength provides empowerment by the boat load. This will motivate you to eat better food, get enough sleep, and continue to workout regularly; all of these things contributing to your goal of losing weight.
Losing weight can be an overwhelming process, but it doesn’t need to be. Focusing your efforts on building strength will not only burn more fat than you would without strength training. You will also boost your performance in and out of the gym, build physical and mental resilience, and create a powerful positive feedback loop to keep you motivated throughout the entire process.
When you decide to lose weight, avoid the confusion and follow this potent piece of advice.
When in doubt, get stronger.
Written by Mitch Heaslip, FFL Results Trainer