There is more to weight training than just gaining strength and building muscles; using dumbbells or body weight compound movements like push-ups also affects you on a molecular level.
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A new study published in The FASEB (The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) journal suggests that weight training shrinks body fat — yes, you read that right!
To explain how resistance training promotes fat reduction, let’s dive into the study findings.
The Benefits of Resistance Training
There’s a common misconception in the fitness community that committing to hypertrophic or bodybuilding is done purely for aesthetic reasons. However, this may be the case for some people, but for others, resistance training is a healthy addition to their workout routine—sure, they want to look good, but that’s not the only reason they workout.
This mindset is why our home fitness library BodyRock+ is so popular: our workouts help people build confidence and healthy bodies.
Resistance training, after all, isn’t just for bodybuilders or fitness models. It’s for everyone who wants to live a better life.
In addition to 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (75 minutes for vigorous exercise), it’s recommended that adults dedicate 2 days a week to resistance training (weight lifting, yoga, bodyweight exercises) for optimal health.
Here’s a quick rundown on the known health benefits of resistance training:
- Added strength and muscle gains
- Maintains and supports bone, joint and muscle health as you age
- Boosts your metabolism for more calories burned after a workout (EPOC)
- It helps you lose weight
- Improved balance
- For more robust mental health
- Improved energy levels
- For good heart health
The University of Kentucky joined forces with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to investigate how resistance training affects more than just muscle growth.
The study was conducted on “adult bodybuilding rats” by immobilizing leg muscles and encouraging them to move freely through their cage; to simulate aerobic exercise.
Researchers drew blood and tissue samples before and after the rats engaged in aerobic activity (walking throughout the cage) and what they found was pretty remarkable.
- Before: The rats muscles contained high levels of miR-1 — miR-1 is a microRNA that prevents muscle growth.
- After: The rats muscles were empty of miR-1, but the microRNA was found in vast supply in nearby fat cells and in blood vesicles (blood vesicles are message bubbles allowing cells to talk).
To double-check their findings, they replicated the study on rats in humans by taking blood and tissue samples before subjecting human participants to an exhausting lower-body workout. And guess what, the same phenomenon occurred.
Resistance Training and Fat Loss
The study findings allow us to better understand how resistance training cranks up your metabolism for greater weight loss.
What researchers discovered about the effects of weight lifting on the body were:
- It triggers EPOC for 24 hours after a workout
- Those who lift weights infrequently as compared to never are less likely to be obese
- If you frequently lift weights - after 6 months - your muscles become metabolically active, so you’ll burn more calories
The crazy part was all these benefits could be explained on a molecular level by the phenomenon called cellular crosstalk. In a nutshell, after lifting weights, your muscles generate “message bubbles” (vesicles) then sends them into the bloodstream; the strange part was the vesicles would zero in on nearby fat cells. What researchers discovered was vesicles were redepositing miR-1 from the muscles into fat cells. Once miR-1 was in the fat cells, it signalled the fat cell to dissolve into fatty acid - fatty acid is food for other cells; thus, promoting greater fat loss.
The other benefit to miR-1 exiting the muscles is, it allowed for greater muscle growth. Ultimately, the takeaway is commit to both aerobic workouts and resistance training — or a combo of the two to ensure your best health!
If you’re interested in adding weights to your workouts, check out our BodyRock store for everything you need to build the ultimate home gym — from dumbbells, to bars, to benches and resistance bands!
If you’re starting your home gym from scratch, we recommend dumbbells and resistance bands as your foundational pieces. They’re versatile, affordable and--as you get stronger--you can adapt your use of them and still be challenged. (Example: going from a bilateral dumbbell Romanian deadlift to a unilateral dumbbell Romanian deadlift.)
Take Your Workout to the Next Level with Weight Training
Resistance training is more than just bulking up; it packs many health benefits and encourages fat loss. So if you’re looking to take your game to the next level, it’s time to tune into BodyRock+ and start working out those muscles for TOTAL HEALTH GAINS!
If you’re looking for some BodyRock+ resistance-based workouts, try:
- For beginners: Beginner Strength
- For beginners: Beginner Yoga
- For intermediate fitness levels: Sculpt & Burn 2.0
- For intermediate fitness levels: Denetra B Fit
- For intermediate-advanced fitness level: The Pyramid Challenge