A common misconception among people who want to burn fat and lose weight as quickly as possible is that cardio-based workouts will be a more effective means to achieving the goal than strength training.
This, however, isn’t the case, with many experts now recommending strength workouts as the best approach. So, just how effective is weightlifting for burning fat?
To give a brief answer to the question, weightlifting provides a number of important benefits - one of which is the effective burning of fat and subsequent fat loss.
This guide will take a closer look at how lifting weights can burn fat, as well as some of the other key benefits of weightlifting that are worth keeping in mind. What’s more, we’ll also look to answer some of the frequently asked questions related to the area.
As mentioned above, weightlifting is a great workout if you’re looking to burn fat. This is because through lifting weights and building muscle, you raise your metabolism, which can then help you to change your body composition and burn a greater amount of fat.
A pound of muscle burns between 10 and 30 calories a day, while a pound of fat burns only 5-10. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how muscular and fit bodies are better designed to burn more fat and calories, even during periods of rest.
So, if your key goal of working out is to burn fat, weightlifting is definitely an excellent way of achieving it.
Just be mindful that effective fat loss through weightlifting can be limited if you’re not using enough weight to stimulate muscle growth. For example, comfortably performing 18-20 reps of a relatively low weight isn’t going to be the most effective when it comes to burning fat.
In order to maximize your body’s ability to burn significant amounts of fat, the weights need to be heavy and performed in low reps. Anything more than 12 reps and you risk going into muscular endurance territory.
High Calorie Burn
If you’re exercising with the primary goal of burning as many calories as possible, you may think that a one-hour cardio workout is more beneficial than lifting weights for an hour.
While the amount of calories you burn during the workout is likely to be higher for a cardio session, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the same after the workout.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research discovered that women who lift weights burn around 100 calories more on average in the 24 hours following a training session.
This is because the more muscle you have, the greater amount of energy your body expends. So, if you regularly lift weights, you’ll burn more calories sitting around on your phone or resting than you would if you only did cardio-based exercises.
Weightlifting doesn’t just strengthen your muscles, it strengthens your bones too. For example, when you perform a simple curl, your arm muscles tug on your arm’s bones.
As a result, the cells within these bones react by forming new bone cells, which in turn, make your bones considerably stronger and denser.
The key to achieving this is all down to consistency, with research proving that lifting heavy weights on a regular basis not only maintains bone mass, but also builds new, stronger bones. This is particularly apparent in the high-risk group of post-menopausal women.
Sore knees, hips, and ankles are often accepted as part and parcel of a morning run or cardio workout. Fortunately, lifting heavy weights and strengthening the muscles that support your joints can make a huge difference.
Weightlifting can help to prevent injuries by strengthening the surrounding muscles, as well as helping you to maintain correct form.
These stronger muscles will subsequently hold your joints in a secure position, meaning you won’t have to worry about your ankle or knee flaring up during a long run.
Interestingly, research has shown that strength workouts such as a full-range resistance training session is just as effective at improving flexibility as a typical static stretching workout.
If flexibility is something you want to improve through your love of lifting heavy weights, just make sure you keep the “full-range” aspect in mind. To put it simply, weightlifting won’t be beneficial for your flexibility if you can’t perform the full motion.
Therefore, if you’re struggling to go all the way up and all the way down with an exercise such as a bicep curl or a squat, it’s a good idea to use a lighter weight to make sure you’re able to execute the entire movement.
Improved Heart Health
Cardiovascular exercise such as running and swimming aren’t the only workouts that can help improve cardiovascular health.
One of the biggest benefits of strength-based workouts is that they can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. This is because lifting weights increases lean muscle mass, giving your cardiovascular system more places to send the blood that’s being pumped around your body.
What this means is that the pressure placed on your arteries is significantly less, leading to a reduced risk of suffering a heart-related health problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Weightlifting Help To Improve Sleep?
As you improve your cardiovascular system through weightlifting, you’ll also enjoy better sleep. This is backed up by numerous weightlifting studies which prove that sleep can be significantly improved with a wide variety of strength workouts.
With a better sleeping pattern, you’ll be well rested and better equipped to take on your weightlifting sessions. Furthermore, you’ll also have a lower chance of illness and reduced stress levels.
Why Does My Stomach Sometimes Look Fatter After Working Out?
Breathing too hard during a workout can lead to you sucking in a large amount of air. Often, some of this air will make its way into your digestive system rather than your lungs, causing you to feel bloated and a little puffy.
How Long Till I See Results From Working Out?
On average, an individual can expect to see significant improvements in their muscular fitness after 8-12 weeks of following a consistent workout routine. The vast majority of the early gains in strength are due to the neuromuscular connections learning how to perform different movements.
Can I Lift Weights Every Day?
Yes, you can lift weights every day so long as you’re giving each muscle group sufficient time to recover. Split routines are an effective way to achieve this, where you train different muscle groups on different days.
For example, training arms and chest on Monday, legs on Tuesday, back and shoulders on Wednesday, and so on.
If you don’t split your workouts up, and decide to train the same muscle group on consecutive days, there’s a high chance that you’ll suffer an injury or plateau with your strength gains.
Should I Do Weightlifting If I’m Overweight?
For overweight people that want to lose as much weight as possible quickly, weightlifting is one of the best things you can do in the gym. It’s great for burning fat and calories, and the beauty of lifting weights is that many workout routines can be done while standing in one spot.