Strength Training, Weight Loss & its Relationship with your Metabolism
Strength Training, Weight Loss, and Metabolism. How do those three words relate? I think it is a pretty good guess if I were to say each of us has tried to lose weight or thought about it. We play with diet changes, workout fads, maybe even supplements but when it comes down to it calories in versus calories out is how we lose and gain weight. But, we can help the process of weight loss occur and help to ward of gradual weight gain that happens because of metabolism changes as we age. A few weeks ago I was doing some continuing education and the webinar I was listening to was all about strength training and its effect on weight loss and they had some interesting statistics that have stuck with me.
- On average our metabolism slows gradually as we age leading to 5-7 pounds of weight gain every decade after the age of 20.
- Women have an average of 5lbs of muscle loss per decade when no strength training occurs.
- Strength training an average of 3x/week on a regular basis at a moderate intensity for 20-30 minutes increases your RMR (resting metabolic rate) 5-7%, that's approximately 110-120 calories a day.
- Strength training reduces fat mass.
- Strength training gives you an increased metabolic rate that lasts 3 days post workout.
- 70% of Americans are overweight or obese.
- Fewer than 5% of the U.S. meet minimal exercise requirements.
- 99% of people who use diet alone for weight loss, gain all of the weight they lost back within 6 months to 1 year.
The important take away from all of this information: We must strength train to lose weight and more importantly we must strength train to keep our resting metabolic rates up to maintain a healthy weight as age. And...as women we need to strength train to keep our muscle mass up and our bones strong! Oh and 1 more thing, ladies lifting weights will not make you get big!
8 Myths about Pilates Debunked
When I tell people I’m a Pilates instructor, I get mixed reactions. Some gush about how much they love the practice, and how it’s helped realign their bodies. Others aren’t as familiar with Pilates, and many have misconceptions. Here are 8 of the most common myths—debunked!
1. Pilates is only for women Pilates was created by Joe Pilates while in a British internment camp in Germany during World War I. He developed the practice of using the mind to control muscles, initially calling it “Contrology,” while exercising with fellow inmates. Pilates is for men and women, as the practice focuses on core muscles and building balance throughout the body to provide support for the spine and joints.
2. Pilates goes really slow The speed or pace at which Pilates is practiced can vary based on the intensity of the work. Specificity is lost when certain movements are completed fast—leaving all the work to larger, primary muscle groups. Moving at a slower pace often intensifies the work by pinpointing smaller muscles and perfecting form. Once you perfect your form then you can increase the speed, if needed, to further challenge your body.
3. Pilates is only for ballerinas Dancers took to Joe Pilates when he first arrived in the U.S., as his exercise style became known for improving flexibility, stamina, and strength. While Pilates is still popular in the dance community, other types of athletes have added the practice to their routines as well. Pilates is so versatile, its programs can be tailored to your individual needs. For that reason,Pilates is also a great compliment to physical therapy. It can help accelerate rehabilitation and progress, since the low impact movements can range in difficulty and resistance.
4. Pilates is for old people False! Often someone finds their way to Pilates after an injury, or when the fitness routine that worked in the past no longer fits their abilities. But that doesn’t mean Pilates is just for seniors. Pilates helps with functional movements and moves the body in all planes of motion, allowing you to stay mobile and fit as you age. The younger you are when you start the better off you will be—and you may even be able to continue your favorite activities longer.
5. I’m not flexible—I won’t be any good at it It can be challenging to attempt to do things you aren’t good at—but why not get better? Having a limited range of motion in any joint can be uncomfortable, and it could lead to injury because forcing our other joints to work harder to compensate. With the help of Pilates, your flexibility can only improve.
6. Pilates is easy I’ve had friends and clients tell me the Pilates classes they tried at the gym or on a DVD at home were super easy. Friends, you probably weren’t doing it right. Pilates works to improve the strength of your smaller, stabilizing muscles and when you aren’t in the correct positions those muscles may not be working to their maximum potential—the big muscles you work more often begin to take over. To get the most out of Pilates, it’s important to work with good form, and to work with control and specificity of the movements. Take a one-on-one session or a small group class to get the corrections you need. It won’t be so easy any more and your hard work will pay off!
7. Pilates equipment is expensive You don’t need to buy a reformer to get the most out of your Pilates practice. Pilates can be done without any equipment, and a lot of the smaller tools are very affordable. A magic circle, foam roller, Fletcher Towel, and small weighted balls will challenge your Pilates workouts without breaking the bank.
8. Pilates and Yoga are the same Pilates and Yoga have some similarities, but they are very different. Yoga is an ancient practice with roots in meditation, relaxation, and reflection, and most forms of yoga encourage your body to relax and flow freely through postures. Pilates, on the other had, is relatively new—it was created in the 1920s, and the technique emphasizes structure and attention to detail, ensuring small muscles are engaged. While different, the two practices complement each other nicely. You can use yoga to improve your flexibility to deepen your range of motion for Pilates, and Pilates will improve your core strength to increase your endurance for Yoga.
Build a Strong Foundation with Pilates & Yoga
I love a hard hitting intense workout session just as much as anyone. My love for movement came from years of soccer, gymnastics, running, softball, and swimming. As I got older and my passion turned to training specifically for sports the how and they why of movement became fascinating to me. I wanted to be more faster, stronger, and more fit. With more intense training came aches, pains, and a few injuries. I knew something had to change if I wanted to keep up the level of intensity and the frequency. At this time I found Pilates and a few years later added yoga to my practice.
Upon walking into a Pilates studio for the first time I had a minor injury but felt like I was still very strong and could do most any form of exercise. After just a few sessions I learned that this was going to be a very challenging journey and that I needed to switch my mindset of harder, faster, more to slower, deeper, and more precise.
In sports, training is very specific to the movements needed for the actions you will be completing. The body however will find the path of least resistance to get the job done. So, when training for a sport when doing the same repetitive movement over and over again our larger muscles begin to take over and create compensation patterns leading to less than ideal movement patterns, unbalanced musculature and weakened structures. Here is where Pilates and yoga come into the picture...
Pilates and yoga practices both require a lot of mental focus and attention. They require you to slow down and think about where the movement is coming from and by doing this you start to build a stronger foundation to then more successfully move from. By gaining awareness of what muscles are working versus what should be working you can begin to change your muscle patterning. When we begin to strengthen our smaller muscles, that are used for stability we increase our overall balance within the body. This is very important, now when asked to do a larger movement you have the base of support to work from. Once your foundation is strong you can move faster, add weight and increase the frequency and duration. When working with clients I always use this model of training whether it be in Pilates, running, or strength training; stability, strength, endurance, and power. Each step is a building block and until we can successfully move with stability there is no need to add in weight, you wouldn't drive a car over an unstable bridge, would you? Sometimes it can be hard to slow down but I promise it's worth it.