Too many of us have the wrong impression of weight lifting. If you’ve never tried it before, you might think lifting weights is just a way to build muscle and get buff.
The truth is, weight lifting for weight loss isn’t just possible — it’s the best way to do it! Strength training is the key to long term success.
This article will run you through some of the benefits of lifting weights, how it can help you lose weight, and how you can stick to a successful weight lifting routine to maintain a slim figure.
Weight Lifting For Weight Loss: Does It Really Work?
While aerobic exercise (biking, running, etc.) is important for your health, lifting weights is the best way to burn fat and lose weight over a long period of time. Combined with a healthy diet, a weight training program will help you constantly burn calories and keep the weight off.
Don’t believe me? Here are some of the key benefits of weight lifting for weight loss:
Building Muscle Mass
One of the most common myths surrounding weight lifting is that building muscle will make you “bigger” — but that’s not necessarily true. Building muscle increases your lean body mass and reduces fat.
To put it simply, the energy you put into your body is converted to either fat or muscle, depending on the foods you’re eating and the type of exercise you get. A basic weight lifting program will help you convert your calories into slim muscle instead of bulky fat.
Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the speed at which your body burns calories in a resting state. People with more muscle mass have a higher RMR.
In fact, according to some experts, a pound of muscle can burn an additional 6-7 calories per day compared to a pound of fat.
That means that you’ll burn more calories while you’re sitting on the couch, watching TV; even sleeping. This is one of the main reasons that cardio alone doesn’t sustain successful weight loss — cardio workouts don’t boost your RMR, and can actually have a negative impact on it.
It is totally possible to lose fat with cardio alone, but people who lose weight from cardio exercises are more likely to put the weight back on within a year.
Weight lifting, on the other hand, will give you long-term success. That’s because you’re building your lean body mass and increasing your RMR, instead of just burning fat.
Does that mean you should ignore cardio altogether? No. The best path to success is a combination of cardio and strength training, not to mention a wholesome, low-calorie diet.
Mayo Clinic even endorses weight training for weight loss.
Tips For Successful Weight Loss
Weight lifting for weight loss works — but it’s easier said than done if you don’t have a clear plan.
That’s why the best way to get started is with a custom weight lifting program. Find a routine that works for you and stick with it! You don’t need to pay for a personal trainer or expensive home equipment if you’re on a tight budget; there are plenty of resources online to show you what you need to do.
Here are a few tips to help you find success with your weight lifting program:
Don’t Be Afraid To Lift Heavy Weights
I can’t stress this enough: lifting heavy weights will not make you gain weight or get “bulky”. If you want to start weight training for weight loss, you have to push yourself.
Lifting 1 and 3-pound barbells alone won’t cut it. As you build more muscle, you will need to start lifting heavier weights. It should always feel like a challenge!
Keep It Short And Intense
Unlike a cardio workout, your weight lifting routine doesn’t need to be long to be effective. In fact, experts recommend spending 30-45 minutes on strength training.
In that short amount of time, you shouldn’t be taking any breaks to rest. Get through your whole routine, work hard, and keep your heart rate up.
Shake It Up
Supersets and hybrid lifts will make your weight lifting routine more intense, and more effective.
A superset involves two back-to-back workouts that train the same muscle group. For example, a set of lunges followed by a set of squats, with no break in between. A hybrid lift works two muscle sets in one movement, like combining a squat with a shoulder press.
In other words, your weight lifting routine shouldn’t look exactly the same every time. You should never get bored. Shake it up and incorporate different movements to keep it intense!
If You’re Failing, It’s Working
If you struggle to finish your final set or feel like you need to rest before the end of your workout, don’t get discouraged. That means it’s working!
Weight lifting for weight loss is a challenge, and it should feel like one. Don’t be afraid to continue pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, even if you have to fail a few times.
Final Thoughts: Is Weight Lifting All You Need To Lose Weight?
Strength training and building muscle is crucial if you want to lose weight. That said, you shouldn’t ignore the benefits of cardio workouts.
Cardio will improve your heart health and help you shed more fat in the short-term. You should run, walk, or bike at least 2-3 times a week, on top of your weight lifting routine.
Does that mean you need to be constantly exercising if you want to lose weight? No — those workouts can easily be worked into your weekly schedule. Remember, you don’t need to spend more than 30-45 minutes lifting weights. It can be done while you’re at the gym between cardio sets, or early in the morning with a set of home weights.
Here’s the bottom line: consistent weight lifting, combined with a healthy diet and some regular cardio, will help you lose weight and keep it off. You’ll gain lean muscle mass and burn more calories while you’re resting.
With that in mind, it’s never too early to get started!
Read More: Best Kettlebells on the Market.