Weightlifting can put you on the fast track to weight loss by building up muscle. Whether you're a woman or a man, your body uses more calories to sustain muscle tissue than fat. WebMD estimates that you torch 100 more calories a day for every 5 to 10 pounds of added muscle mass. Although weightlifting can accelerate fat loss, it is also important to cut calories. You must burn off 3,500 more calories than you eat in order to lose a pound, and weightlifting alone will not achieve this quickly.
Weightlifting for Women
Weightlifting is just as healthy for women as it is for men, and it can help you lose weight and gain strength while lowering your risk of osteoporosis. If you're worried about bulking up and losing your feminine shape, fear not: women don't build large muscles the way men do. That's because females lack male androgen hormones such as testosterone that contribute to hefty muscles. To ensure toning without bulk, WebMD recommends focusing on low-to-moderate weight loads with more repetitions.
Training with weight machines, dumbbells or barbells can make you stronger in two to three sessions per week. In addition, it can help combat muscle loss that naturally occurs with age. If you don't do any strength training, fat will replace the lost muscle. Lifting weights will also improve flexibility in your joints and increase bone density. Over time, you will be able to perform everyday tasks more easily and stay active longer without becoming exhausted.
To avoid imbalance that can lead to poor posture or injury, incorporate all main muscle groups into your routine: abdomen, hips, legs, arms, shoulders, back and chest. Always work opposing muscles, such as the front and rear thighs. Never take on more weight than you can lift at least 12 times without straining, and increase weight gradually as your strength improves. Exhale as you lift weights, and inhale while lowering them. Your muscles need recovery time, so never work the same muscle group two days in a row.
Diet and Cardio
While weightlifting can increase your fat burn, diet makes the most difference when it comes to weight loss. Remove 500 to 1,000 calories from your average daily intake to drop 1 to 2 pounds each week. Fill your plate with fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains such as buckwheat noodles and brown rice; fiber has indigestible bulk to quell your appetite. Avoid fatty meats and cheeses, opting for lean protein sources like veggie burgers and garbanzo beans. Avoid soda, and minimize alcohol consumption.
- WebMD: Weight Loss & Diet Plans: Increase Your Metabolism -- And Start Losing Fat
- Mayo Clinic: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- Mayo Clinic: Weight Training: Do's and Don'ts of Proper Technique
- Weight Training: Improve Your Muscular Fitness
- WebMD: Health Rules You Can Bend - Weights
- HelpGuide.org: Healthy Weight Loss & Dieting Tips: How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.