Weight training builds lean muscle mass.
For most people starting a diet and exercise program, the goal is weight loss. In some instances you may not notice a change on the scale, but you may find your clothes becoming looser as you start to lose inches. This change can be attributed to a loss in body fat and a simultaneous gain of lean muscle mass.
Body Fat Versus Lean Muscle
A pound is a pound no matter if it's lean muscle or fat. The difference is in the density of each, with muscle being much more dense than fat. When you start an exercise program you will begin to add muscle to your body along with burning calories from fat. If you were to burn 3,500 calories you would lose one pound. If, at the same time, you added one pound of muscle you would not see the change on the scale but you would still have burned fat.
Gaining Muscle Mass Through Strength Training
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends resistance training for every major muscle group two to three times per week. The training may consist of free weights, machine weights, resistance bands or body weight and should involve two to four sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise.
Cardiovascular Exercise to Lose Body Fat
To lose body fat you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume. Cardiovascular exercise is an effective tool for burning many calories quickly. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. The number of calories you burn depends on the mode of activity you choose, your body weight and how intensely you choose to work. For example, a 150-pound person would burn approximately 190 calories in one hour of walking at 3.5 miles per hour, while the same person would burn 612 calories in the same hour jogging at 6 miles per hour.
Combining Strength and Cardiovascular Training
A solid exercise program that combines resistance and cardiovascular training can lead to a loss in body fat and gain in lean muscle. The change may not show on the scale but it will likely be evident in the fit of your clothes. It's important to remember that diet plays a key role in weight loss and eating back the calories you burn through cardiovascular exercise can prevent you from reaching your fat-loss goals. Always consult with your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program.