By Nicole Zaybak Drepaniotis, MS, RD, CDN

People who exercise on a regular basis not only lose weight more effectively, but are more successful at keeping it off. The combination of both aerobic (cardiovascular) and anaerobic training (resistance) goes beyond the physical benefits. The combination of both of these exercises can provide the following health benefits: improved muscle strength and tone, weight management, improved flexibility, heart and lung health, increased self-esteem, improved balance and posture, and enhanced physical performance.  

Resistance training helps to increase the proportion of muscle on your body.  Because muscle is a metabolically active tissue, the more muscular you are the higher your metabolism will be.  This means that you will burn calories even at rest.

And a little “fun” fact: Adults lose 4-6 pounds of muscle tissue every decade, which will decrease your strength and metabolism.  So let’s get those muscles pumping!

What is resistance training?

Strength or weight training that uses your own body weight or opposing forces (dumbbells, resistance bands) to build strength, improve endurance and increase muscles. If you vary your resistance training program through the number of repetitions and sets performed, type of exercise and amount of weight, you will get stronger and maintain muscle mass.

Examples of resistance training

  • Free Weights – dumbbells or barbells.
  • Weight Machines – devices with adjustable seats and handles attached to weights.
  • Medicine Balls – weighted balls.
  • Resistance Bands – portable bands that can be adapted to most workouts and provide continuous resistance throughout the movement.
  • Body Weight – squats, push-ups and chin-ups.
  • Kettle Bells – a cast iron weight with a single handle to help with weighted balance and stability of muscles.

Components of a strength training program:

  • Set – a group of repetitions performed without rest (two sets of squats by 15 reps would mean you do 15 squats then rest muscles before doing another 15).
  • Repetitions – the number of times you continuously repeat each exercise in a set.
  • Weight – the different weights or resistance used (varying dumbbells and weights, machines and weight, resistance band strength).
  • Rest – you need to rest between sets. Rest periods vary depending on the intensity of exercise
  • Variety – changing your routine, introducing new exercises, and challenging your muscles

Nicole Zaybak Drepaniotis is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who has been practicing in the clinical and outpatient settings for the past 15 years, specializing in Bariatrics and Weight Management.