Did you know that stretching and flexibility can help you gain strength and lose weight? It’s true. Stretching is just as important to your workout program as cardio and strength training. You need flexibility to grow stronger. Building muscle mass helps your body burn fat and calories, leading to more weight loss–at a quicker pace. Studies show that becoming more flexible can boost strength gains by as much as 50%!

You need to lift weights three times a week in order to see these results and you should stretch after every workout in order to see those amazing gains.

How Does Flexibility Help You Lose Weight?

Flexibility goes hand in hand with calorie burning. It helps to create muscle, resulting in a lean body. When you lift weights, you increase muscle mass and this raises your metabolism, which burns fat even when you are at rest. This is where flexibility comes into play. Flexibility increases your body’s ability to build muscle. When your body has more flexible muscles, it can lift more, and your muscles recover faster. This makes your muscles work more effectively.

When you stretch a muscle, it grows and becomes longer. When you lift weights, the muscles get bigger. When you add flexibility training into your workout, you are giving your muscles room to lengthen—and grow larger. This allows them to increase in size when you lift weights. And bigger, longer muscles equal a greater fat burn.

Muscle growth and the subsequent fat and weight loss happen only when you stretch the muscles. Remember to stretch only warm muscles, not cold ones. This means your muscles should be pumped up with blood before you begin to stretch, which will allow them to stretch longer. This will also keep you from injuring yourself during your workout. Think of the muscle as a rubber band. If you freeze a rubber band and then try to stretch it, it will pop. Stretching a cold muscle might not actually pop it, but it can lead to injury. Make sure to warm up a bit and then begin stretching.

Classes like Les Mills Body Flow are also excellent for flexibility. Les Mills Body Flow combines yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates. You’ll use your body weight to strengthen and lengthen your muscles. This gives you a total body workout. Include stretching along with cardio and strength training and you will see results!