You may have heard that cardio is the only way to go when you want to drop extra pounds. The truth is cardio is one way, but it certainly isn’t the only way to lose weight. Strength training will also help you trim unwanted weight. Here’s the scoop.

Strength training helps you build more muscle
Lean muscle is more compact than fat so even if you don’t lose pounds, you’ll likely lose inches. That means you’ll look leaner in your clothing. It also means you’ll burn calories more efficiently. Muscle burns more calories than fat, even at rest, thus supporting overall weight and health goals. On average you can expect to burn an extra 100 or so calories for every three pounds of muscle you gain. Get those dumbbells moving!

Pair strength training with cardio
Cardio alone promotes fat as well as muscle loss. That means you may be unintentionally undermining your weight loss program. You won’t burn as many calories as with cardio, but you will build more muscle. Strength training provides a much needed balance to the program. In fact, each training program complements the other help you perform both more efficiently.

weightsBurn fat faster
When you pair with a nutritionally sound diet, strength training can help you burn more fat than cardio can. You’ll get more bang for your workout buck, too. Ramp up results even more by reducing or eliminating breaks between sets.

Schedule time to get lean
Strength training twice each week produces results comparable to three times each week. That’s good news for the time pressed. Even better, you only need about 30 minutes of strength training per session. Start with weights you can lift (and maintain form) for at least ten reps. You can build up from there. Proper form is key to targeting muscles and reducing likelihood of injury. Complete at least two sets per move with rest breaks of 30 to 60 seconds to start. You can reduce this as you build strength and stamina.

Pull out the tape measure to track progress
Remember, muscle weighs more than fat so don’t count on scale numbers to feel successful. Instead, pay attention to the tape measure or how your clothes fit. You will look leaner and your clothes won’t feel as snug. Other measures matter, too. Notice if you have more energy, less anxiety or insomnia. When it comes to strength training you can count on losing fat and gaining muscle. More importantly, you can celebrate your investment in yourself and your overall health. Here’s to a leaner, fitter you.