Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Weight Training With A Weight Loss Goal

In a weight loss, or fat loss phase as I prefer to call it, weight training is considered a very important ingredient to the equation. The main emphasis of weight training in the fat loss phase is maintenance of muscle tissue.

Muscle tissue shapes and forms the contours of the body. I'm not saying you can change the shape of a muscle because that's physically impossible. It does, however, have a discernable shape that is reflected on the male or female body. So, if all emphasis were placed on cardiovascular or energy system development (ESD), as I call it, there would definitely be some muscle wasting going on.

This causes a loss in shape or lack of shape improvement when in a weight loss phase. Muscle is considered the primary indicator of metabolism. Basically, it single handedly determines how many calories the body burns. So if you lose muscle through exercise or dieting, you burn fewer calories through daily processes.

So, in a weight loss training program, we want to maintain or even add muscle to our frame through proper exercise prescription. The use of compound movements needs to be emphasized. This includes, but is not limited to, various forms of: squats ,deadlifts , pulls and pushes. Specific examples would be barbell squats, barbell bench press, chin ups, etc.

The frequency of weight training can vary, but keep in mind that maintenance of muscle tissue is the goal. The majority of training should be based on ESD. Weight workouts should include circuit training, supersets, tri sets, etc. to burn up energy and/or stimulate growth hormone which has been linked to fat mobilization and usage. Still, one session of the week should be devoted to lifting as heavy a weight as possible in good form. This is the most important lifting session of the week as far as muscle is concerned in a weight loss phase. By placing an overload on the system, the body has little choice but to hold onto that energy consuming tissue called muscle.

Repetitions for all lifts during each training session are going to be highly individual to the trainee. Beginners and women need to use a higher repetition range due to having less neurologically efficient central nervous systems. Basically, this means they aren't able to use as much muscle per repetition as someone with more experience. Both populations obviously improve with training. Intermediate and advanced trainees, on the other hand, need to use lower ranges. The one exception is when growth hormone or lactate producing workouts are to be performed. For this type of workout the range needs to be from 12-20.

One quick side note. Women shouldn't be afraid to lift heavy weights. I see it all the time at every gym I've ever been to. Lots of cardio and very little weight training. Most women need to get stronger. The concern of getting "big, bulky muscles" is so outdated it makes me sick. If you sit and worry about getting these "big, bulky muscles", consider all the men out there who are doing everything they know to get "big, bulky muscles" and are having a hard time achieving that. Men have a distinct advantage, with few exceptions from the female population, in stimulating muscle growth. The hormone, testosterone, is one of the main factors in this process. Women produce much less of it and therefore have a harder time adding muscle mass. I'm not saying women can't add muscle, it just might take a little longer or be a little harder to accomplish. Now make the necessary changes in your program and get started!

Paul Yost is the Owner/Operator of Paramount Training Systems, a personal training company based in Houston, TX. He also works as a Strength and Conditioning Coach in professional baseball. Find more about his services and information at:


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