There are a ton of weight room myths: You have to be a bodybuilding babe or a Hulk Hogan Adonis to enter… it’s full of clanks and grunts and sweaty smells… it’s not female-friendly. Phooey! Weight rooms have come along way from the 80s and 90s. They’re WAY less intimidating and WAY more serene – some are even downright luxurious! And lifting brings with it benefits you can’t ignore. To spell them out, I went to Adam Petropolis, District Manager of Core Concepts Personal Training at Mountainside Fitness in Mesa. Adam is a lifelong athlete whose passion switched from competing in sports to the academia of exercise science. He holds a BS in Exercise & Wellness from ASU and has over a decade of professional fitness experience under his weight belt.
Trainer Q&A: Adam Petropolis District Manager of Core Concepts Personal Training at Mountainside Fitness
Q: What are the benefits of weight lifting?
A: The benefits to a weight lifting program are endless, from the obvious increases in strength, muscle and improved definition to the less apparent improvements in bone density, posture and insulin sensitivity. But, I’ve decided to emphasize one of the benefits that many exercise enthusiasts fail to recognize – that weight lifting provides a permanent increase in metabolism.
You may have heard before that “muscle burns fat.” I’m here to tell you that statement is true. In fact, increasing lean muscle tissue will have a profound impact on your metabolism and your ability to burn fat. Most people, with the goal of “fat-loss,” spend endless hours per week doing cardio, but fail to incorporate weight lifting. I’m going to give you ample reason to do both.
In 1991, Dr. Wayne Wescott Ph.D. conducted an eight week exercise study. He placed participants in two groups. Both groups exercised for 30 minutes. Group 1 did cardio (aerobic) exercise for the full 30 minutes while Group 2 did 15 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of weight training. After the 8 weeks was complete, measurments were taken and the results were clear.
Group 1: (cardio only) lost 3.5 lbs (-3 lbs from fat and -.5 lbs from muscle).
Group 2: (cardio + weights) lost 8 lbs (-10 lbs from fat and +2 lbs. from muscle).
As you can see, both groups lost weight. Yet, the group that incoprporated weight lifting lost 3x as much body fat. That’s 333% more fat loss while spending the same amount of time exercising! But there’s a very fine detail that could easily go unnoticed: Look at what happened to the lean muscle for both groups. The “cardio only” group actually lost ½ a pound of muscle while the group that incorporated weight lifting gained 2 lbs. of muscle. In other words, the group that did “cardio only” lost less weight AND they also lost their ability to lose more fat by sacraficing their precious fat-burning machinery – MUSCLE! It’s a no-brainer! If your goal is to lose fat, cardio AND weight training should be employed.
Now that you’ve seen the impact that weight training can have on your fat-loss regimen, the next step is getting off the “cardio craze” and over to the weight floor. Like anything, there’s a right way and a wrong way – so if you’re a little nervous, or not sure how to begin, I highly suggest asking for help from a certified fitness professional. The guidance you receive today will save you mental and physical anguish in the future. Yours in health!