Does Weightlifting Burn Belly Fat?

Raising your metabolism torches unwanted belly fat.

Raising your metabolism torches unwanted belly fat.

Weightlifting is understood to be the path to building muscle. Weightlifting also provides other benefits that are sometimes missed. Besides improving mood and enhancing sleep, weight training is able to manipulate your body's metabolism to remove belly fat. Rebekah Baumgardner, author and fitness counselor, defines metabolism as how much energy your body uses during the course of a day. Although the idea of spot reducing fat from your belly is a myth, burning more calories will remove fat from your entire body, including your belly. And, because weightlifting is able to manipulate metabolism to use more calories, it's an excellent way to remove stubborn belly fat.

During the Workout

Don't forget that lifting weights is exercise. And just like any other exercise, weightlifting burns calories during the activity. Dr. Len Kravitz, an exercise science researcher and writer, cites a study that tested fat utilization during a weightlifting workout. The researchers found that fat was used at higher levels during the weightlifting session than it was while resting. So, on top of the benefits that come afterward, the fat-burning furnace is actually started during the workout.

After Working Out

Right after finishing a workout, your metabolism is elevated to start the recovery process. Dr. Kravitz suggests that excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is responsible for most of the metabolism benefits of resistance training. According to Kravitz, during EPOC the body is restoring itself to its pre-exercise state. This process requires more oxygen and also consumes more calories. The calories consumed after a workout are another way weightlifting leads to a reduction in belly fat.

Long Term

Resistance training builds muscle, and these muscles burn more calories. The American Council on Exercise says adding muscle increases your metabolism, which makes it easier to get to and maintain a body weight. Baumgardner writes that the most important distinction between muscle and fat is that muscle is more metabolically active. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat. By weightlifting, you build muscles that burn more calories. This helps to remove belly fat.

Precautions

Before beginning any exercise program check with your doctor. Once you are cleared to begin exercising, do a thorough warm-up before starting. To warm up before lifting weights, do five to 10 minutes of light jogging or walking. Then do a few light sets of each exercise to rehearse the right form, and to get the muscles ready to work. Drink water before and during the workout to prevent dehydration. Work out with a personal trainer or other strength and conditioning professional to make the gains you want, without the danger of getting hurt.

 

About the Author

Carl Galloway is a strength-and-conditioning coach at a high school in Southern California. He is certified as an Olympic lifting coach through USA Weightlifting and as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Galloway holds a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and a master's degree in coaching and athletic administration.

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