Does Lifting Weights Help You Lose Weight?

Heavy weights burn more calories and build lean muscle.

Heavy weights burn more calories and build lean muscle.

Unequivocally, yes -- weight loss occurs when you burn more energy than you consume. Cardiovascular exercise that challenges the heart is considered the most effective method for burning fat. Weight loss can also be boosted through weight training. Lifting weights -- especially heavy weights -- burns calories during and after a workout and builds lean muscle mass to burn fat even while you’re sleeping.

Circuit Train

Circuit training involves moving from one resistance exercise to another with little rest between exercises. A study published in the “European Journal of Applied Physiology” found that, when compared to treadmill training, circuit training burns more energy following a workout due to elevated post-exercise oxygen consumption.

Lift Heavy Weights

Women continue to mistakenly believe the myth that lifting heavy weights will result in bulky, thick muscles. If hypertrophy has ever been your ambition, you know how difficult it is to build size. It doesn’t happen by accident. So fear not and lift heavy. Aim for eight repetitions per set. Your muscles should be at or near failure at the last repetition. If not, increase the weight. Increasing lean muscle mass boosts your basal metabolic rate to burn fat around the clock.

Stand Up

Lifting weights while standing burns more calories than doing so while seated. Instead of sitting while doing biceps curls, perform the movement standing. For even greater calorie burn, incorporate four-limb movements by squatting or lunging simultaneously. Working more muscle groups at the same time burns more calories for greater weight loss.

Add Cardio

The combination of resistance and cardiovascular exercise decreases appetite. The “Journal of Sports Science and Medicine” compared resistance training alone, endurance exercise alone and concurrent resistance and endurance exercise. Neither exercise alone produced reductions in appetite, but combining cardio and weight training produced a 500-calorie reduction in appetite. Decreased appetite alone could yield 1 pound of weight loss each week.

Weight Loss Vs. Fat Loss

When you begin lifting weights, your bathroom scale may contradict your improved body composition with slightly higher numbers. Don’t listen to it. Lifting weights burns fat and builds muscle, so the net result may be a misleading increase in weight on the scale. Instead measure weight loss -- fat loss specifically -- with more reliable tools such as bioelectrical impedance and a measuring tape. An article published in the “American Journal of Public Health” compared the classic body mass index, BMI, with bioelectrical impedance and found the latter far more effective at predicting body fatness.

 

About the Author

Pamela Ellgen began writing in 2000 for "The Asian Reporter" newspaper. She is an award-winning journalist and writes on religion, culture, health and fitness. Ellgen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in writing from Washington State University and is a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

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