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Fat Loss & Resistance Exercise...

There is not a personal trainer among us who hasn't heard this... "But I don't want big muscles...". This is generally the beginner's argument against performing resistance exercises. Ordinarily the demographics of these clients, or potential clients, are ill-informed women of all ages, as well as unconditioned (and sometimes not so honest) men, age 25 and older. The question is, what do you say in response? If you are providing personal trainer services to the general public, not specializing in particular segments of the population (i.e. youth, athletes, etc.), the above demographics just happen to represent the bulk of your marketplace. This being the case you, as a knowledgeable personal fitness trainer, knowing the regular performance of resistance exercise is what they need, must know how to convince them of its true value. In part, this 'convincing' needs to include an element of education and assurance that while you will likely be prescribing resistance exercise, that not all resistance exercise results in size and strength increase. Unfortunately, most uninformed individuals directly associate the performance of resistance exercise with size and strength increase, making your attempt at justification an uphill battle. This brief article provides you with ammunition to fight and win this battle, and at the same time to earn greater trust and respect from these individuals.

Knowledge, and the ability to successfully convey this knowledge, is exactly the sort of attribute that will elevate you to the level of a true fitness professional in the eyes of your clients. Educating is the true key to a client's life-long understanding of his/her own personal health and fitness needs, and as we all know, resistance exercise is an integral part of any productive fitness program. In continuing, we will discuss various applications of resistance training that bring about benefits other than size and strength increase.

Aging & Resistance Exercise...

First of all, it is the steady degeneration (atrophy) of muscles common in aging that result in the slowed metabolism and gradual fat accumulation that is scientifically and medically acceptable. This 'acceptance' is clearly reflected in various published charts and tables that offer greater latitude concerning 'normal' body composition ratings to those of advanced years. As fitness administrators, we should take opposition to this 'acceptable' aging occurrence as it can be prevented through sensible eating and the performance of moderate resistance exercise. Sustaining muscle tissue volume will allow for the maintenance of a relatively steady metabolic rate during aging and consequently "0" related fat accumulation. As we age, in the absence of resistance exercise, the muscles slowly forget how to take up insulin-carried glucose and amino acids from the bloodstream via insulin receptor sites. As the performance of strenuous activity becomes less and less popular with aging, muscles slowly adapt by reducing in volume (muscle atrophy). Also, due to receptor site shut down, malnourishment (insufficient provision of oxygen & nutrients) occurs, resulting in slowed metabolism. During the subtle progression of tissue atrophy and slowed metabolism, it is the continued eating habits that result in relative fat accumulation. What can be done to avoid these problems? The prescription of a light to moderate frequency (2-4 sessions per week, dependent upon exercise intensity), circuit routine consisting of the three basic compound movements, i.e. bench press, leg press, deadlights, at 70-80% intensity in the 20-25 rep range (refer to the NFPT Rep Range Chart), accompanied by a reasonable diet program consisting of @ 60% carbohydrate, 30% protein, 10% fat should be sufficient to both maintain healthy receptor site function and tissue volume. Hormonal changes that take place with aging can also be positively affected by the performance of regular resistance exercise (the greater the intensity of resistance exercise, the greater the affect).

Fat Loss & Resistance Exercise...

This application of resistance exercise is one that will take some convincing when dealing with the ill-informed client. Not only in its initiation, but also for several weeks thereafter. The reason for this, is that fat loss progress through the exclusive application of resistance exercise, while arguably among the healthiest of approaches, will not produce results as readily visible to the client as those results experienced using other more conventional methods, i.e. extreme dieting and aerobic activity performance. Unfortunately, since instant gratification is among our society's most popular character flaws and one that is likely shared by most of your clients', your initial fat loss prescription will need to include the performance of aerobics and dieting, as these methods foster quicker and more visible results. Let's discuss now the reasoning for, and the explanation of, the role resistance exercise plays in fat loss. An explanation that will be convincing enough to win the confidence necessary for your fat loss client's adherence to your resistance training recommendations. Emphasizing early on to the client that losing body fat and not bodyweight is of the utmost importance.

Resistance Exercise & Increased Metabolism Energy Replacement

Frequent light weight, high rep resistance exercise increases fat release and use by the muscles between workouts for the intercellular ATP "fuel" necessary to replace the muscle glycogen stores that were exhausted during the performance of the exercise. This required energy recovery function results in greater cellular activity, which in turn equates to a faster metabolism.The reason this concept of fat loss is so hard to "sell" to a client up front is not because it does not make sense, because it does make sense. Where the true difficulty lies is in the absence of instant gratification. The clients' bathroom scales, for example, will in most cases reflect an increase in total bodyweight, sometimes for several weeks before weight loss begins to occur even while on the strictest of diets. The reason for this seeming phenomenon is that as muscles are taking up recovery energy, a great deal of water moves into the cell. This water contributes significantly, and misleadingly, to lean weight. The most objective way to combat this problem and to maintain client confidence and compliance to recommendations, is through regularly performed skin fold (bodyfat) testing. In the absence of prior conditioning, metabolic peculiarities, aerobic and/or low level activity performance, and starvation dieting, the trainer should be able to safely and accurately make the following initial predictions (short-term) when exclusively applying the above guidelines in the initial overall fat loss resistance exercise prescription. #1-body weight increase; #2-lean weight increase; #3-fat weight decrease; #4-fat percentage decrease. However, when adopting a multi-phase fitness prescription, it is difficult if not impossible to make any overall predictions. Why? There are simply too many variables involved and client metabolisms are generally different. In other words, it would be impossible to separate and measure the effectiveness of the starvation diet, as compared to the performance of low-level activity. Or to compare the value of the resistance phase to the aerobic phase when both are implemented together and intended for the same purpose. Make no mistake, the immediate overall resulting fluctuation of lean and fat weight will be much more significant when opting to prescribe a more "holistic" fat loss regimen of dieting along with aerobic and resistance exercise performance. Fat loss should never be approached with an "at-any-cost" attitude, i.e. prescribing extreme aerobic activity performance, starvation dieting (caloric intake below BMR needs), etc. In the interest of long-term general health and weight management, lean tissue maintenance and/or increase is as important as the fat loss itself. With this said, and as difficult to accept as this may seem, it is the resistance phase of any fat loss fitness prescription that most effectively addresses the underlying goal of all fitness prescriptions. That goal being long-term general health and weight management.

Energy Demand

Increasing lean muscle size through infrequent heavy, low rep resistance exercise results in a greater caloric demand. This condition equates to a faster metabolism, and a greater "around-the-clock" fat release in order to maintain the newly acquired mass of tissue.

NFPT Personal Trainer Magazine...Big Muscles?

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