Muscle Growth for Better Health and Weight Loss

high knees exercise

Being thin is not the same as being healthy. If you are someone who has never been happy with their weight or shape or body type, it’s important to try to turn that around. One way to do that is to shift the focus away from losing weight and onto building strength for bone health, joint health, and mental health. You might be surprised to see that you lose weight and feel better about your body in the process.

If you want to build lean muscle mass, adding strength training can help you burn more calories, even if you substitute it for running or other cardio workouts sometimes.

Strength Training for Weight Loss

Strength training does not just burn calories while you’re exercising, but it gives your metabolism a boost that can last for hours afterwards, known as the afterburn effect or Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which helps you to burn even more calories. One study even found that you burn additional calories for up to 38 hours after high intensity, short duration exercises like strength training.

As there is little or no rest between these bodyweight exercises, your heart rate can jump to up to 80% of your max, which will burn calories in a very short amount of time. The more muscles that are recruited in an exercise, means the more calories you burn, and the more effective the exercise is. Bodyweight exercises also allow for a full range of motion in the joints, meaning that you feel better as you carry on with your day, which gives you more motivation to take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the grocery store, and play with your kids, without feeling stiff or uncomfortable.

Combining Cardio and Strength Training for Muscle Growth

If you’re looking for maximum strength and calorie burn, a mix of cardio and strength training is the most effective way to reach this goal. How can you do that without spending hours working out?

High-intensity workouts are particularly effective because they push your metabolism into high gear. Plus, there is a high afterburn effect. This means that your body will continue to burn calories after your bodyweight training while you relax on the couch.

star crunches exercise for women

Anytime – Anywhere 

Good intentions often fail due to lack of time, and busy days don’t leave much room for sweaty workouts. The good thing about bodyweight training is that you don’t have to toil away in the gym after a stressful day. Bodyweight training puts an end to all your time-related excuses. A 20-minute workout only makes up 1.4% of your day. Surely, you have time for that. Just throw on your workout clothes, clear some space in the living room, open the adidas Training app and get started on your workout. There will still be enough time afterwards to cook dinner and enjoy a pleasant evening with your loved ones.

Remember:

Don’t get discouraged if it takes time to drop some weight. Gradual weight loss (0.5 to 1 kg per week, or about 1 to 2 lb per week) is healthier and a lifestyle change will keep it off. Make sure to work out regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Most importantly, always listen to your body.

Bodyweight Training as Functional Fitness

You might have heard the term functional fitness or functional training and wondered what it means. Think of functional fitness as “real life” movements that help your body prepare for “real life” stress in the safest and most efficient way possible.

Think about it: Do you ever lift a water bottle like you’re doing a biceps curl? Probably not. But, you are squatting and lifting and rotating every day, right? And falling on the ground and getting back up – maybe playing with kids?

Bodyweight exercises are a huge component of functional training. Bodyweight training engages multiple muscle groups during each exercise and leaves an endless amount of room for progressions and variety as you become fitter, stronger and healthier while minimizing injury and maximizing lean muscle growth!

overhead squat

5 Reasons to Start Bodyweight Training

1. No equipment necessary:

You can literally start now, no matter where you are. Get up and do some jumping jacks, squats or even a HIIT workout. All you need is your body and some space to move.

2. Growth mindset:  

You are in control of your health and happiness. Any negative barrier or excuse you might have set up for yourself regarding your potential and goals is basically destroyed by the convenience, versatility and effectiveness of bodyweight training. Change your mindset, change your life.

pre-run stretch

3. Calorie burners and muscle growth:

Isolating a single muscle group on a machine in the gym is nothing compared to the calories you burn in a bodyweight workout. Plus, the more muscles you recruit during exercise, the more calories you’re going to burn.

4. Your muscles want to work together:

Let’s look at the push-up for example: biceps, triceps, shoulders, core (abs, lower back, hips), glutes and legs. Despite some muscles working harder than others during this movement, all of those muscles are actively participating in the push-up. When a muscle isn’t helping in the way that it should, that’s when you get movement compensations that can lead to pain and injury. It’s always critical that you pay attention to your form and nail that right at the beginning. Bodyweight training teaches your body how to work together as a team.

5. Neverending variety:

Bodyweight training never gets boring. There are always more exercises to learn, challenges to overcome and more burpees to be done. The adidas Training app is packed with different workouts and exercises to keep you motivated and strong. Try something new for your next workout and challenge yourself!

Takeaway

Did this inspire you to give bodyweight training a go? Or perhaps you’re a bodyweight training fanatic already and have your favorite workouts? Just remember to focus on training as a way to improve your overall fitness. It’s not just about weight loss – that’s the icing on the cake. Strength comes in many forms and bodyweight training can give you the confidence to reach your fitness goals and beyond. 

***

RATE THIS ARTICLE NOW

Lunden Souza Lunden Souza is an Online Fitness & Lifestyle Transformation Coach. She helps people all over the world create a sustainable healthy lifestyle, so they'll never have to "start over" again! Connect with @lifelikelunden for real-life strategies to get on track for long-term health in both body and mind. View all posts by Lunden Souza »