Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Strength Training While Losing Weight

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

There is a huge misconception that you shouldn’t lift weights when going through a weight loss phase.

Not only is it believed to stunt your results, but it’s actually thought to be counterproductive to losing weight.

This couldn’t be further from the truth especially for those over 50 who are dealing with the effects of sarcopenia (muscle loss due to aging)

Let’s talk about it a bit shall we?

Strength training/weight lifting can be greatly beneficial for fat loss. Why?

Because it builds up/maintains lean muscle which in turn increases your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is the amount of calories your burn at rest (aka while sitting on the couch).

This in turn increases the speed of your metabolism.

It is widely agreed that cardiovascular exercise is probably a better candidate for general caloric expenditure during the workout - the keyword here being ‘during’.

But when it comes to the overall total calorie burn.. well strength training is universally more effective at burning total calories and fat overall.

Let me explain… By increasing muscle mass, you increase the BMR. In its simplest terms, a higher BMR equates to more calories being burned in the space of 24-48 hours.

Why is this beneficial for weight loss?

Through building lean muscle and increasing your BMR, you inevitably burn more calories at rest throughout the day AND increase your overall caloric deficit - a necessity for weight loss. This is what is known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC).

Still not fully understanding?

During an aerobic, cardiovascular workout, it’s widely accepted that more calories are burned than during a typical strength training workout of the same duration. The distinction?

While you may certainly be losing weight, you’re also losing a proportionate amount of muscle at the same time.

Additionally, too much cardio can actually slow down your metabolism rather than speed it up. This is a detriment if you’re trying to lose weight.

So be sure to incorporate strength/resistance training in conjunction with your aerobic activity to maximize the benefits of working out.

Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity by doing more reps or utilizing higher weights. Progression is key to ensure your body gets the most out of each rep.

If you aren't sure how to do the exercises correctly or even don't know what exercises to do consider hiring a qualified trainer (like we here at FCF 😁) to show you what exercises to do, and how to do them correctly so that you don't get hurt and get maximum benefits. They can even put together a workout plan for you to follow.

Finally remember the most important thing is consistency. Ideally you should strive for 2-3 strength training sessions a week. This is the optimal when it comes to losing weight and getting stronger.

Oh and before you say it.. NO it won't make you bulky! 🙃

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