Can I Lose Weight By Lifting Weights?
What would you choose to lose weight ‒ cardio or weight lifting?
If you are a cardio lover who is also striving to lose weight, this might be the time to learn some new facts. Cardio does seem like a comparatively easier task than lifting kilos of weights.
But does it actually benefit you in terms of losing weight?
You might find some pretty mixed up thoughts about this question, but to your surprise, weight lifting has long-lasting effects for weight loss than cardio.
Surprised? Well – don’t be. We will decipher this claim with sufficient scientific and evidence-based data that you will be renewing your gym membership soon.
The Science of Weight Loss
Before drawing a connection between weight loss and lifting weights, it is essential to understand how our body sheds it.
You must have heard about metabolism and the role it plays in raking up or exhausting calories. To simplify, the metabolic rate is the scale at which our body expends energy.
In article, The Diet shows that our body burns approximately 70% of the calories on routine activities, such as breathing, blood circulation, producing new cells, and regulating other bodily functions.
While on the other hand, if your metabolism is slow, your body burns fewer calories, and you may have to eat less to avoid becoming overweight.
In short, the body’s metabolic rate is one of the many factors that contribute to the weight loss process.
Moreover, weight loss is not just about reducing calorie intake. Instead, it has more to do with fat loss. When we reduce calorie intake, our body doesn’t necessarily burn fats as consequence.
The optimal approach to remove body fats is to make significant lifestyle changes.
Weight Lifting for Weight Loss
So, how does lifting weights helps the process of losing weight?
In an article at JAMA Network, Eve Guth, M.D., explaining about weight loss, says:
A total of 3500 calories equals 1 pound of body weight. This means if you decrease (or increase) your intake by 500 calories daily, you will lose (or gain) 1 pound per week. (500 calories per day × 7 days = 3500 calories.)
In short terms it means: the more calories you burn, the more weight you lose.
Once you start pumping the iron, your body builds muscles, and muscle tissues burn more calories at rest. It implies that you can burn more calories and lose more weight throughout the day.
Moreover, such training sessions keep the body in an active state, requiring more energy to survive and banishing more weight loss in the process.
How Weight Lifting Burns More Fat?
We know that losing weight is not just about exhausting more calories, but instead getting rid of the extra fat. Your muscles need more fuel to move, and most of your energy is spent on powering them.
During the weight lifting sessions, your body gets the energy mainly from carbohydrates as they are quicker to break into energy.
However, once you increase the intensity of the training, your body requires the fuel quicker, and it switches to fat as the source of energy.
So by increasing the intensity, you allow your body to banish more calories and burn fat to help the muscles recover.
Strategy to Build Muscles and Purge Fat
Here are some of the strategies to turn your body into a fat-burning machine:
Have a Good Night of Sleep
Sleeping may seem like one of the easiest tasks to do so, but unfortunately, not everyone can sleep peacefully.
One of the most common-heard excuses for not getting enough sleep is being in the constant rut of excessive workload.
A sleep-deprived body can have short and long term consequences that may lead to serious health problems.
Some of the short-term problems can include, increased stress levels, irritability, mood and emotional distress, impaired cognitive ability and memory and performance deficits.
Some long term consequences may include weight gain due to increased cortisol levels, other weight-related problems, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and type II diabetes.
It is vital to always get at least 7-8 hours of sleep to keep your stress levels under check.
A sleep-deprived body can overreact in several ways that could hinder your workout capacity.
The Early Morning Effect
It may sound a bit absurd, but the best way of purging fat is to get moving early. You can focus thoroughly as your body is fresh and possess more energy.
“your body has less glycogen (a.k.a. energy) from carbs if you don’t eat, so it will have no choice but to turn to fat.”
Continue to Push Yourself
Putting on weight is way easier than getting rid of it. So, the perseverance is the key. Challenge yourself everyday by adding more weight or by increasing the number of reps until you are tapped out.
In the realm of fitness world, failure is the key to success.
Plan Your Meals
The recommended approach to building lean muscles is to plan your pre & post-workout snacks wisely.
The combination of carbs and protein helps your body to restore glycogen and energy levels to make your muscles stronger.
The Final Word
It is indeed possible to lose weight by lifting weights. The process not only helps you get rid of fat but also tones your body.
It aids the body burn extra calories as well as purges the excessive fat in the body.
- iDiet (2021) The science of weight loss. https://www.theidiet.com/science-weight-loss/
- Sabounchi, N. S., Rahmandad, H. and Ammerman, A. (2013) Best fitting prediction equations for basal metabolic rate: Informing obesity interventions in diverse populations. International Journal of Obesity, vol.37(10) pp. 1364–1370.
- Javed, F., He, Q., Davidson, L. E., Thornton, J. C., Albu, J., Boxt, L., Krasnow, N., Elia, M., Kang, P., Heshka, S. and Gallagher, D. (2010) Brain and high metabolic rate organ mass: Contributions to resting energy expenditure beyond fat-free mass. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol.91(4) pp. 907–912.
- Piaggi, P. (2019) Metabolic determinants of weight gain in humans. Obesity (Silver Spring), vol.27(5) pp. 691–699.
- Benton, D. and Young, H. A. (2017) Reducing calorie intake may not help you lose body weight. Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol.12(5) pp. 703–714.
- Guth, E. (2014) Healthy weight loss. JAMA, vol.312(9) Article 974.
- Medic, G., Wille, M. and Hemels, M. E. H. (2017) Short- and long-term health consequences of sleep disruption. Nature and Science of Sleep, vol.9 pp. 151 – 161.
- Hospital for Special Surgery (2021) Everything You Need to Know About Burning Fat and Building Muscle. https://www.hss.edu/newsroom_shape-burning-fat-building-muscle-polly-de-mille.asp
- Mickle, K. (2017) Everything You Need to Know About Burning Fat and Building Muscle. http://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/how-burn-fat-build-muscle-lean-toned-body