The number one reason why people join a health club is weight loss.  And while an aggressive cardio routine coupled with dietary discipline may still be the fastest path to immediate results, it may not be the most sustainable approach in the long-run.  Many of today’s adult exercisers, especially females over age 30, are discovering longer lasting weight loss benefits by stepping off the treadmill and stepping up their strength training routine.

“Strength training prepares your body to sustain weight loss over the long term,” explains Club Julian personal trainer Alex K.  “You will probably get more immediate results from cardio, but if you can increase your lean muscle mass, you will burn calories more efficiently even when you are not here.  You don’t want to lose 20 lbs. just to gain it back.”

Trainer Alex is a strong advocate of the benefits of EPOC, or Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption.  Basically, EPOC refers to how your body burns calories when you are NOT working out.  He adds that any time you have more lean muscle, you are burning more calories at rest.  “EPOC is a huge part of strength training,” says Trainer Alex.  “Cardio will burn more calories in session, but it stops when the session ends.  EPOC from strength training can help your body continue to burn calories 24 to 48 hours after your workout.”

A person’s metabolism tends to slow down with age, and engaging in strength training is a great way to “kick start” your metabolism, especially when you are starting from a more sedentary lifestyle.  Trainer Alex says that the Club Julian members he works with usually see noticeable weight loss results in a few months rather than a few weeks, but for many first time participants, the ancillary benefits of strength training greatly outweigh the ever fluctuating numbers on the scale.

Members report positives effects like increased energy, their clothes fitting better, improved overall mood, more confidence in their outward appearance, and other welcome changes.  “What typically happens with people who stick with strength training is that they will see friends or family they haven’t seen for a while who will comment on how healthy they look,” says Trainer Alex.  “Strength training for most people isn’t about body building, it is more about body shaping.  It’s a change in where and how you carry your weight.”

Trainer Alex says people who don’t come from a workout background can be intimidated by all the “metal and machines” of the modern gym, even in a supportive, comfortable environment like Club Julian.  He recommends consulting with a trainer to get started.  For those with no strength training background at all, or who have been inactive for an extended time period, his approach is to start slow and simple with a full body routine and expand from there as a person’s capabilities and confidence grows.

Another common concern among females is becoming overly “muscle bound” through weight lifting.  Trainer Alex says this is an unfounded fear because to do so requires a drastic change in diet or the use of supplements.  Furthermore, strength training targeting “spot reduction” in a certain area of the body – like “Bingo Arms” with women or love handles with guys is also a fallacy.  “Your body will burn fat evenly head to toe.  You cannot really achieve spot reduction unless you engage in intense, specialized interval training,” explains Alex.

Making a change in your life can be as easy as making an appointment with Trainer Alex or one of Club Julian’s other certified personal trainers.  It’s FREE with your Club Julian membership!