Have you noticed, after the age of 40, that things shifted in the body? It is now easier to gain inches around the middle (and elsewhere!) than it is to lose them?
Why is that?
Well, if you are a woman you can thank the decline of the hormone estrogen (read study here).
This is a natural fat-burner for us and it also dictates where our fat is distributed, and now with middle-age upon us the distribution is happening around our mid-section.
And, if you are a man you can thank lower testosterone levels as you get older.
But, there are other factors involved as well and include:
- Poor sleep
- Eating crap (scientific term)
- Eating too much crap or the good stuff
- Stress (Our stress hormone cortisol loves to pack on the pounds around the mid-section. Now, it’s not being an a-hole, the body is simply doing what it is meant to do – protect us. And in this case protect our internal organs.)
- Not exercising enough AND not exercising the right way (hence today’s blog)
- Listening to Donald Trump’s over bloated ego while also watching his equally pretentious hair piece
What Does Science Say
In a study released by Harvard researchers (Obesity, 2014) they found that men who did 20 minutes of strength training a day had a far less of an increase in abdominal fat than those who spent an equal amount of time doing aerobic activities.
Now, this study wasn’t all bad news for the aerobic group.
The men who performed the daily aerobic activity actually lost more total body weight than the weight training men did, BUT they were unable to stop their waistlines from growing. Their middle-age paunch kept on growing while they keep on running.
That is pretty darn interesting, wouldn’t you say?
Moral of the research: twenty minutes of pumping weights works far better on reducing the ol’ belly fat than twenty minutes of running does.
What About Us Ladies?
If you are a woman, you are probably thinking the same thing I did when I read the study “What about us?”. What about women?
Kathryn Schmitz, a professor at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, performed a similar study with premenopausal women and found the results to be similar in women.
More Research To Get You Lifting
Looking beyond losing belly fat the Journal of Diabetes Metabolic Disorder (April 2015) reported that a combination of diet and strength training was far more superior at losing body fat , than aerobic alone, or aerobic with diet.
This study included both men and women, ages 18 years to 69.
Strength training for weight loss just isn’t for us middle-aged folk either.
In a study published in PubMed (JAMA Nov 2014) it was found that a combination of aerobic and strength training was the best tool to fight adolescent obesity.
Why Is Pumping Weights So Good For Weight Loss?
One of the explanations as to why strength training is the best weapon against fat (when we get older), is because we have lost some of our muscle mass.
Losing muscle mass is a natural occurrence with age (as is losing our minds, our ability to read the small print and our inability to tolerate loud music in a restaurant).
Most of us will lose between 5-7 pounds of muscle each and every decade and ladies after the age of 30 we will also see an increase in our intramuscular fat (that nasty and dangerous fat that is located throughout the skeletal muscles and has been associated with conditions such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes).
Now, because of this loss of muscle mass our metabolisms decrease (significantly), and with that comes a body not able to burn calories and fat like it used to and followed after that is the middle-aged spread.
But, there is a very easy way to offset this.
How Do I Increase My Muscle Mass & Lose The Belly Fat
Perform a regular strength training program and I’m not talking about a workout par sae.
You want a full strength training program that addresses stability, core, balance and mobility, while also progressed each week so that you continue to see changes in your fitness and your body composition.
Need ideas? Check out my YouTube channel, www.yourtube.com/fitnesswithpj.
Experts recommend 2-3 times a week strength training (I recommend 3 times, especially if you are a woman over the age of 40 who wants to lose weight), accompanied with 2-3 times a week aerobic activity, and HUGE daily doses of daily walking, stretching and basically moving the body as much as you can, as often as you can.
However, if fat loss is your goal (especially belly fat) you want weight training as your main activity.
Click here if you are a woman over the age of 40 and are new to exercise and want to start building a body you love.