How to lose fat with weight-lifting

7 December 2015 by
First published: 16 December 2015

If you went back in time 20 years ago and asked a fitness professional how to lose fat and get lean they would tell you do step aerobics and lots of cardio. Thankfully over the past five years or so, we’re finally starting to see more women lifting weights for weight loss. This is due to better information being available online from qualified strength coaches and PTs, and through the rise in popularity of activities like CrossFit, which encourages people to hit the weights room rather than to go on the treadmill. If you’re still not convinced that lifting weights is better for burning fat than cardio, here are three reasons why you should give it a go.

Lifting weights builds a strong foundation

Getting stronger by lifting weights makes everything else in life easier. Let me share a great quote I once read from the strength coach Brett Jones. ‘Absolute strength is the glass. Everything else is the liquid inside the glass. The bigger the glass, the more of everything else you can do’. So, the stronger you are, the harder you can train, the longer you can train at higher intensities, which means you’ll burn more calories and fat when you work out. Being stronger also means you’re less likely to get injured.

Lifting weights increases your metabolism

After a weights session or high intensity workout you can potentially create an environment in the body where you’re burning calories for up 24-48hours. However when you do cardio, as soon as you stop the cardio session you stop burning calories. You may burn fewer calories in a 1 hour strength training session compared to 1 hour run, but after strength training the muscles that have been built will continue to burn calories even if you’re sat at home. Excessive Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) is what increases total energy expenditure (number calories burnt) after exercise. EPOC increases after exercise, and increase more after anaerobic exercise (high intensity training or weight training) compared to aerobic exercise (long duration cardio).

Muscle burns fat

Muscle tissue burns fat and glucose (blood sugar), regulates hormones and is a vital part of a healthy functioning body. Therefore, if you have less or barely no muscle you’ll find it hard to burn off extra fat.

Lifting weights increases the amount of muscle tissue in the body. While cardio breaks down muscle tissue, which will reduce your metabolic rate. This means you’ll have to eat less calories in order to not put on weight. When you have more lean muscle, you can eat more food and don’t have worry about dieting, as your body and muscles will need those extra calories. This doesn’t mean you have to be a muscle-bound freak to burn off all the extra fat. By weight training two or three times a week you can build a little extra muscle mass, which will reduce you body fat and make you leaner.

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