Strength Training Science in Plain English

Strength training is a dieter’s best friend, and anyone interested in weight loss or fitness has probably read or been told that strength training is important. But, why? Well, strength training is one way of getting your body to build stronger muscles. Stronger muscles are bigger muscles, and more muscle mass means a faster metabolism. But, how does that work? Well, if you want the facts on strength training and why its such a crucial part of weight loss and fitness success, then read on! This guide to the basics of strength training science will help you understand what you need to know, without any jargon or lingo.

What Does Strength Training Do?
Basically, strength training subjects your muscles to light trauma so that they wake up and prepare in case it happens again. It’s like how hearing a harmless but spooky noise in your yard might make you run out and buy a better deadbolt for your front door in case there’s a burglar. Strength training is a way of gently and gradually increasing the work your muscles have to do so that they decide to grow bigger. During strength training, you do a little bit of damage to your muscles so that they know they’re not strong enough yet to complete the tasks you need them to do, and then you give your body a day or two off to build bigger, better muscles that can handle the work. If you’re trying to lose weight, the muscle you’ll build from strength training is your new best friend.

What’s So Special About Muscle?
Muscles are active tissues, constantly breaking down and rebuilding. In order to carry out those processes, muscles need to use up calories twenty four hours a day, which is why strength training spells dieting success. Because the cells in your muscles are working hard and breaking down calories all the time, it’ll be easier for you to burn through the foods that you eat and the fat that you’ve stored. When you increase the amount of muscle tissue in your body through strength training, you burn more calories, plain and simple.

How Much More Will I Burn?
For every pound of muscle you gain from strength training, your body will burn approximately 50 more calories every day. That’s the difference between a cup of skim milk and a cup of whole milk! If you build a single pound of muscle through strength training, you’ll be burning an extra 50 calories every single day, even if you lay around on the couch watching TV. You’ll even burn more calories in your sleep. Strength training may feel like a lot of work and exertion in the moment when you’re doing it, but in the long run, it’s the lazy person’s way to lose weight!

How Does It Affect My System Overall?
When you build muscle, your whole system will have to step up its pace to move nutrients to the muscles. That means that regular strength training causes an overall metabolic boost that makes you tear through fat cells more quickly, and will help you feel more consistently energetic. If you stick to a fitness program that includes regular strength training, you’ll lose extra weight more quickly, and you’ll be able to eat more than you currently can without gaining weight.

Do I Have To Keep Doing It?
The bad news is that yes, if you stop strength training, you will start to lose some of the muscle you’ve built, and your metabolism will start to slow down accordingly. But the good news is that once you get into the habit of regular strength training, you won’t want to stop! Quite simply, exercise makes you feel good on a chemical, hormonal level. Exercise and the feeling of accomplishment you get from it raises the levels of “happy” chemicals known as endorphins in your brain. Plus, studies at Harvard and at Tufts University have shown that regular strength training even has a measurable positive effect on the feelings and attitudes of chronically depressed men and women, and helps them regain balance! So, building muscle is good for your mental health as well as your physical health. Not only will you look better because of strength training and your increased metabolism, you’ll feel better too

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