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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 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

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

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

Apparently people like Erin Simmons, who hate CrossFit didn't read my article on how CrossFit saved my health, nor have they considered the broader implications of how this fitness program may be helping tens of thousands (and maybe more) of people get healthy and happy.

Erin is just one among many who have made headway bashing CrossFit as being a sport that causes too many injuries, is overwhelmed by poor coaching or thoughtless programming, and, oh yes, for being a cult. And though there is some validity to some of what I have read, and I am happy to stand corrected on any point, it seems to me that these opinions are personal, ego-based vendettas written by people who feel the need to shout out warnings on subjects that are not completely substantiated by research or fact.

Read more: CrossFit Bashers, Can You Be More Constructive?

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