Most people associate strength training with getting ‘bigger’ as opposed to ‘smaller’. They perceive that strength training builds muscle and increases body weight, whereas cardiovascular training burns calories and decreases body weight.

That’s why overweight individuals are most likely to choose some form of cardiovascular activity such as walking, cycling, running or swimming. These activities definitely burn calories and as long as the total number of calories expended exceeds the total number of calories consumed, the result is reduced body weight. Whether the reduction in body weight is a result of reduced fat deposits or reduced muscle mass is another question.

Like dieting, cardiovascular exercise is helpful in reducing body weight with some of this weight being fat, however it does not have a positive effect on the maintenance of muscle, which is very important for permanent body composition management and for stimulating the metabolism (to the tune of an extra 7-8% per day). Perhaps the most compelling reason to include proper strength training when on a low-calorie diet is the preservation of metabolically active muscle tissue. Research has revealed that without it up to 25% of the weight lost is muscle tissue.

Which is why strength training is essential for improving body composition and enhancing physical appearance. Without question, strength training is the most important ingredient in the fat loss solution.