Does Resistance Training Make You Gain Weight?
Many people stay away from resistance training because they mistakenly believe that it will make them gain weight or “bulk up.” Believing in this myth could prevent you from reaching your health and fitness goals. In fact, resistance exercise actually helps prevent weight gain, improves body composition and provides long-term health benefits.
Here are Some Key Benefits:
- Resistance training increases calorie burn both due to the acute effects of a training session and to the long-term effects of increased muscle mass. Research has shown that you may continue to burn calories for several days after a resistance training session and that the increase in muscle mass can boost your metabolism.
- The term body composition refers to the relative proportion of fat tissue (body fat) and fat-free tissue (muscle, bone, organs and connective tissue) in your body. Physical inactivity, poor diet, aging and chronic disease can cause muscle loss and fat gain. Resistance training can stop and/or reverse these changes. Unless you are specifically training, eating and supplementing with the purpose of maximizing muscle size you will not “bulk up.”
- Consistent resistance training can significantly improve your strength. As you lose strength, you also will likely see declines in overall function, slower gait speed, increased fall risk, loss of independence and poor quality of life.
- Resistance training has been proven to have other health benefits, including treating cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and many cancers. Resistance training also is linked to many positive mental health outcomes, including improved cognition, self-esteem, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
You don't need a gym or a fancy weight set up to benefit from resistance training. Small weights (dumbbells, barbells), kettlebells, bands - anything that builds strength - will give you a great start. Make it an essential part of your fitness program - it's essential for weight loss and weight maintenance. If you are new to resistance exercise start slowly, progress gradually and consider a professional trainer to help you succeed.