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Let's talk about fat-loss. More importantly, let's talk about why an effective fat-loss program utilizes strength training with weights. Over the last few years, more and more women have started buying into the benefits of strength training for physique and weight management. We are not restricting ourselves to just cardio machines, and now our workouts are more efficient (and hopefully a bit less boring) than ever. For many, the primary focus of hitting the gym is to burn fat, and we've outlined some (scientifically backed) reasons weight training is the best tool for just that.

1. More Muscle = Faster Metabolism

The first rule of fat loss: having muscle increases your resting metabolic rate (RMR)1,2. A crucial element of fat loss is simply having muscle mass; muscle mass burns fat for energy, and building muscle requires resistance training, not cardio. No matter what your trainer tells you, you won't build any lean muscle by performing 40 minutes on the elliptical. Lean muscle is built through a consistent resistance training program that utilizes large muscle groups and compound movements (like squats, rows, and push-ups).

2. Strength Training = Faster Metabolism

Read more: 5 Reasons Weightlifting is Critical for Fat Loss

Always perform exercises with perfect form. You've probably had this phrase beaten into your head from every trainer and strength coach you've ever worked with. We certainly say it over and over again on STACK.com. And with good reason: Using poor form—or "cheating"—to bang out a few extra reps with a higher weight, will give you sub-optimal results from your efforts while also putting you at a greater risk of injury. You get less from doing more, and you're more likely to get hurt.

To help you get the most out of your workouts and stay healthy, we polled 10 elite strength coaches to discover the most common exercise form fails they see athletes make. Here's what they said:

Mistake: You're not using your back

"One I see a lot as a coach is athletes failing to engage their lats during exercises like Deadlifts and Squats," says Tony Gentilcore, co-founder of Cressey Performance (Hudson, Mass.). "The lats are a big muscle, with insertion points in the upper back all the way down to the lower back. It's a huge muscle for providing stability to the spine."

Read more: 9 Ways Athletes Screw Up Common Exercises

Experts caution that controversial findings aren't a license to ramp up your consumption of saturated fat.

Somewhere, Julia Child is smiling. A new review published in Annals of Internal Medicine has given ammunition to those, like the famous French chef, fond of cooking with butter and other sources of saturated fat. The meta-analysis looked at 27 prior clinical trials and 49 observational studies, totaling more than 600,000 participants. It concluded that "current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats."

The report led even Mark Bittman, the ordinarily health-conscious food writer for the New York Times, to comment, "Butter is back, and when you're looking for a few chunks of pork for a stew, you can resume searching for the best pieces—the ones with the most fat."

READ MORE...

These days, it seems that everyone is stressed. We all have too much to do and too little time to do it. Times are tough, money is tight, and deadlines are imminent.

What happens when you're stressed? You tend to eat more, sleep less, skip the gym and feel rundown. Additionally, stress is linked to a number of illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and an increased risk for cancer.

Read more: Beat Stress and Weigh Less

Exercising for Chronic Health Issues

For many people these days, exercise is first and foremost a preventative habit: we don't want to develop heart disease or diabetes, we want to maintain mobility and joint health, so we dedicate ourselves to a fitness regimen and healthy diet.

Those people who are exercising in an effort to restore health, rather than maintain it, have often been diagnosed with one of the 'unholy trinity' of lifestyle diseases – that is, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure. However, there is a huge variety of chronic health conditions that can be alleviated or cured by regular physical activity, and some of them can be quite counter-intuitive.

Read more: Exercising for Chronic Health Issues

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