3. Progressive Resistance Training
Your bodymass directly influences your resting metabolic rate. The more mass you have, the more calories your body needs to function. When you lose weight, your requirement for calories decreases in tandem. The other side of this coin is that the higher the proportion of muscle mass to fat mass you have, the more calories your body needs: the higher your metabolism.
Any weight-loss program that fails to include progressive weight-training is destined to fail long-term by not attempting to combat the reduction in metabolism due to reduction in body-mass. Weight-training places necessary demand on the muscles to grow, or at least maintain mass.
So you need to weight-train, OK. But is all weight-training hypertrophic (muscle-building)? Yes and no.
- 50lb Goblet Squats x 50 reps will build muscle
- 100lb Barbell Squats x 40 reps will build more muscle
- 150lb Barbell Squats x 30 reps will build even more muscle
- 2500lbs total vol.
- 4000lbs total vol.
- 4500lbs total vol.
So squatting 150lbs x 30 reps is obviously the most effective choice here. But if I just squat 150lbs x 30 reps two times per week for the next year, will I see steady improvement in my muscle-building? Probably not. Why?
Adaptation. (click link for Basic Principles of Exercise Training)
Your body adapts to the work you do. After 6 weeks of squatting the same weight for the same reps, your progress will have slowed or have begun to slow. How do you combat this phenomenon on exercise physiology?
Adapt your training. Example...
Week 1(A): 150lbs x 6 reps x 5 sets = 4500lbs
Week 2(A): 150lbs x 6 reps x 6 sets = 5400lbs
Week 3(A): 150lbs x 8 reps x 4 sets = 4800lbs
Week 4(A): 150lbs x 8 reps x 5 sets = 6000lbs
Week 1(B): 160lbs x 6 reps x 5 sets = 4800lbs
Week 2(B): 160lbs x 6 reps x 6 sets = 5760lbs
In this example, the total weight lifted progressively increases in a wavelike fashion, undulating upwards then downwards, then back up again a little higher. This is (one form of) progressive resistance that takes advantage of the hypertrophic effects off increasing intensity/load, as well as the gradual increase in volume. The wavelike periodization is ideal for preventing chronic maximum stress. If going "all out" each workout you inevitably create a deficit in recovery, which impedes progress.
Just like how you track your food, you should be tracking your training volume. If you have someone special to create a program that is progressive by design, much of that work is done for you. However, you should still keep a journal to make notes as to what weights are appropriate, energy level, instances of pain, any exercise modifications, or modifications based on how quickly or slowly you're progressing.