Can you really lose weight by lifting weights?
That's an excellent question, my friend. The answer is
that if that is the intention of your weight lifting regimen, and you choose the
right exercises and do them in the proper manner - yes.
Of course, in the classic story of the "98 pound weakling" who got sand kicked in his face on the beach and later went on to become Charles Atlas
- weight lifting led to increased muscle mass and weight gain. Even today, most people lift weights to "bulk up"
and build strength and muscle mass.
Even so, a properly designed and executed weight lifting workout can be used to burn fat, increase metabolism and lose weight.
Doctors and fitness experts agree that the key to effective weight loss is to raise what is called Resting Metabolism.
Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the rate at which your body consumes fuel when
at rest. That fuel, by the way, is better known as calories.
Do you know where the bulk of calories are burned or used in the body?
Well, it happens in lean muscle tissue.
You see, muscle is active tissue, which, even at rest,
burns calories. Fat does not, at least to the same degree as muscle tissue. Overall, the more
lean muscle mass you have the more calories you burn.
Which leads to the next obvious question: What is the
best way to build lean muscle mass? Answer: By lifting weights of course!
This is one major reason why diet alone seldom leads to permanent weight loss.
Diet, without exercise, does nothing to increase RMR.
Even the exercises most usually associated with slimming down, such as aerobics
and other cardio workouts, also do little to raise RMR, despite the fact that
they DO burn more calories during the exercise period itself. This is why fitness
gurus all suggest adding weight lifting, or other strength building
workouts, to any exercise program intended for effective and permanent
This is true for men as well as women.
In fact, many women fear weight lifting because they are
afraid they will get "too bulky" or "too manly". This is simply not so,
has seen to that. Most women simply do not have enough testosterone
(which speeds and enhances muscle growth, actually making
it easier for men to raise their RMR, sorry gals) - to develop a "manly
physique". Remember, we are not talking about a heavy 2 hour a day
pumping iron session. As part of a regimen to raise RMR, moderate
weight lifting 2 - 3 times a week is all it should take.
Anyway, women will build some muscle mass if they add
weight lifting to their exercise regimen, but their musle will tend to
be longer and leaner...think Jillian Michaels, not Armold Schwarzenegger.
To lose weight weight lifting, start out with a weight
that is comfortable for you and that you can lift in any given exercise 8-12 times or repetitions. If
the muscles do not become noticeably fatigued by the 12th time, the
weight is too light, gradually increase until the first signs of
fatigue come in at around that 12th rep. To build the most lean mass,
gradually increase the weight by about 10% each time you can do the 12
reps. Remember weight lifting is designed to raise RMR and build lean
muscle mass as and adjunct to cardio, not as a replacement. They work
hand in hand, cardio to burn fat - weight lifting to build muscle mass and increase RMR.
The bottom line is dieting slows metabolism
while weight lifting increases it. Healthy eating plus weight lifting leads to a slimmer healthier you.
To really learn how to burn fat, read this review of "Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle".