I’m 130kg with a sedentary job. I’ve lost weight multiple times in the past through cardio and dieting. But I gain it back every time. Now I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. I also suffer from back and knee pain.

Losing weight by cutting calories and stepping up cardio to burn even more calories is a common practice for people. The combination works for a short time but eventually plateaus. This is when frustration creeps in and they eventually give up, which leads to an even faster weight gain (and often more than what they started at). This is because the crash diet and endless cardio can result in a slowing down of metabolism even more due to loss of precious muscle tissue, resulting in faster regain of fat.

[This hormone could be key to weight-related depression]

Instead, engage in weight training and focus on optimal protein intake to lose fat and keep it off for good. When it comes to fat loss, lifting weights beats cardio any day because not only does it help burn calories during the exercise session, it also increases the post-workout caloric burn, speeding up metabolism for the next 48-96 hours or even more (depending upon the intensity of training). This is because the body’s energy demands go high post workout to rebuild the muscle tissue that was damaged during weight training.

Weight training also builds the all-important muscle tissue (if proper sports nutrition is followed), which increases the Basal Metabolic Rate (the rate at which the body burns calories throughout the day, at rest).

Muscle cells are living cells that need energy to live. More muscle equates to more energy demands. Building muscles also improves insulin sensitivity so the body can tolerate the yummy carbs better.

Muscle cells have insulin receptors that help in shuttling blood glucose inside them as ‘muscle glycogen’ through the action of insulin (a hormone secreted by pancreas in response to eating carbohydrates).

More muscle means efficient carbohydrate storage and less of them getting converted to fats.

To top it all, weight training will improve joint health and functional strength to have a better quality of life. And it just makes you look great as muscles give shape and tautness to the body.

Men and women, at any age, should train with weights for a lean, functional and healthy body. Don’t worry about looking bulky. You won’t look bulky unless you are fat or take steroids.

Abhinav Malhotra is a sports nutritionist, exercise referral and lower back specialist, and master trainer at Fitness First. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.